Album: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1967)
Play Video


  • "Dismal Swamp" is a bluegrass instrumental that is anything but "dismal." The song is fast-paced and fun and shows off the banjo skills of Dirt Band co-founder John McEuen.
  • In his interview with Songfacts, McEuen explained that this song was instrumental to the formation of the Dirt Band. He wrote the song and told friend Les Thompson that he'd join his budding band if they agreed to learn and play it with him at a Topanga Canyon banjo contest. They agreed, McEuen won, and the Dirt Band was born.
  • John McEuen wrote this with his brother, William, who managed the Dirt Band.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou HarrisSongwriter Interviews

She thinks of herself as a "song interpreter," but back in the '80s another country star convinced Emmylou to take a crack at songwriting.

80s Video Director Jay Dubin

80s Video Director Jay DubinSong Writing

Billy Joel and Hall & Oates hated making videos, so they chose a director with similar contempt for the medium. That was Jay Dubin, and he has a lot to say on the subject.

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"They're Playing My Song

The first of Billy's five #1 hits was the song that propelled Madonna to stardom. You'd think that would get you a backstage pass, wouldn't you?

How The Beatles Crafted Killer Choruses

How The Beatles Crafted Killer ChorusesSong Writing

The author of Help! 100 Songwriting, Recording And Career Tips Used By The Beatles, explains how the group crafted their choruses so effectively.

American Hits With Foreign Titles

American Hits With Foreign TitlesSong Writing

What are the biggest US hits with French, Spanish (not "Rico Suave"), Italian, Scottish, Greek, and Japanese titles?

Paul Williams

Paul WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

He's a singer and an actor, but as a songwriter Paul helped make Kermit a cultured frog, turned a bank commercial into a huge hit and made love both "exciting and new" and "soft as an easy chair."