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Charlie Whitehead & the Swamp Dogg Band: Charlie Whitehead and the Swamp Dogg Band

Album Notes

Charlie Whitehead and Swamp Dogg had collaborated on several releases before this 1973 album, most prominently on the 1970 LP Raw Spitt (which, though it featured Whitehead on vocals, was billed as a Raw Spitt record). Charlie Whitehead and the Swamp Dogg Band has the some of the odd juxtapositions of friendly soul-funk and quirky lyrics so characteristic of Swamp Dogg compositions, but it's far more stretched-out than Raw Spitt, with four of its six songs lasting between five and ten minutes. It's competent but somewhat unstructured, occasionally listless period soul. Some of the songs go on too long, for one thing, but also the material often isn't anything special, though "Shaft's Mama" has some of Swamp Dogg's strange humor in its goofy drama. "Help (God Help America)" is certainly the standout, with Swamp Dogg's characteristic dignified critique of the waste that was the Vietnam War (and various other American social ills). Elsewhere, however, there's a dull blues takeoff ("The B.B. King"), generic proto-disco ("Gazelle" and "She's All I Got"), and the suggestive nine-minute grinder "Let's Do It Again, Pts. 3 & 4." The entire album's been reissued as part of the Whitehead compilation CD Songs to Sing: The Charlie Whitehead Anthology 1969-1973. ~ Richie Unterberger


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