Even though Charlie Whitehead was a journeyman soul singer, his work will appeal to soul collectors if only because Swamp Dogg, one of the more interesting soul eccentrics of any era, was so closely involved with Whitehead's recordings as a producer, arranger, and songwriter. None of Whitehead's releases were particularly exciting, but Songs to Sing: The Charlie Whitehead Anthology 1969-1973 is an exemplary compilation of not just his best work, but most of his work. In addition to the entirety of the 1970 album he did under the pseudonym Raw Spitt (itself titled Raw Spitt), it also has his 1973 album Charlie Whitehead & the Swamp Dogg Band, as well as a few non-LP sides he did under either the Raw Spitt or Charlie Whitehead monikers. The Raw Spitt material is the best stuff here, featuring as it does characteristic Swamp Dogg songs putting quixotic observations about African-American identity, social injustice, and sex to an almost-but-not-quite-normal period-soul-funk backdrop. Charlie Whitehead & the Swamp Dogg Band is more disappointing, as it's given over to too-long tossed-off-sounding dance-funk tunes, though it does contain flashes of his wit and social conscience in "Shaft's Mama" and "Let's Do It Again Parts 3 & 4" respectively. The early-'70s, non-LP sides are okay, adding up to a compilation of respectable, non-formulaic period soul. But it doesn't match the heights of the best material Swamp Dogg issued under his own name, which had more vocal personality and was often more adventurous.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger