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Raw Spitt: Raw Spitt

Album Notes

Though Charlie Whitehead is actually the singer on Raw Spitt, it's hard to shake the feeling that he's pretty much acting as a mouthpiece for Jerry Williams, Jr. aka Swamp Dogg. Williams, after all, not only produced and arranged the album, but wrote or co-wrote all of the songs but two. Whitehead, in contrast, didn't write any of the material. It's an interesting, mildly offbeat early-'70s soul record, with the kind of slightly off-kilter songs that were Swamp Dogg's stock-in-trade. There were songs about race, like "Call Me Nigger," which is, contrary to what you might expect from the title, a statement of pride rather than anger. There's lust that factors in a little black pride as well with "I Dig Black Girls." And there are generally thoughtful speculations on injustice and self-respect/determination, such as "Who Do They Think They Are" and "Excuses," sometimes (as in "Sweet Bird of Success") leavened with witty wordplay. The arrangements cook along in an earthy if somewhat easygoing manner, bringing in touches of hard rock guitar and oddness (such as the jew's-harp on "The Freedom Under Certain Konditions Marching Band"), though the funk only really heats up with "This Old Town." Whitehead/Raw Spitt's vocal style is more genial and less penetrating than Swamp Dogg's, however, leaving one to wonder whether this might have been a better record had Swamp Dogg himself done the singing. As it is, it's a little like listening to a Swamp Dogg record that's less penetrating and idiosyncratic than his more hard-hitting stuff of the era. ~ Richie Unterberger


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