Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Swamp Witch” — Jim Stafford (1973)

The swamp is alive with a thousand eyes,
And all of them watchin’ you,
So stay off the track to Hattie’s shack
In the back of the Black Bayou…

What the hell is it about the darkness of the swamp that brings out the worst of our heebie-jeebies? Is it the fog, the mists, the gators, snakes, frogs, huts, balls of glowing vapor, the only light breaking through the enveloping canopy of trees being the ominous rays of a dying moon, and basically everything that goes to make up your typical witch story?

I think I just answered my own question here…

As a companion piece to The Charlie Daniels Band’s epic The Legend of Wooley Swamp, I bring you a twist of a tale, courtesy of Jim Stafford’s Swamp Witch. This Top 40 hit from 1973 has all the elements of a spooky swamp tale: an oppressive setting in a dreadful Florida swamp (with the corresponding small town nearby), a “terrifying” witch by the name of Black Water Hattie, a flood, a plague, and epic despair woven throughout the proceedings.

You see, Black Water Hattie lives in the swamp where no one ever goes, and with good reason… I mean, a witch surrounded by snakes and gators and what-not? Forget it.

Until one day incessant rains cause the swamp to flood, bringing insects and fever and plague and death to the town. Oh, they’re convinced Hattie is responsible for everything. But is she really? Are those howls and cackles coming out of the swamp Hattie’s self-satisfied vengeance… or something wholly other entirely?

Check out Swamp Witch anytime you’re ready to whip out the torches and pitchforks, convinced you’ve found the “true enemy”…

Some said the plague was brought by Hattie,
there was talk of a hangin’, too
but the talk got shackled by the howls and the cackles
from the bowels of the Black Bayou…

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