Duke of Earl - Single
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This is an odd album, mostly owing to the widely differing sounds represented on it. Though often credited exclusively to Gene Chandler, about half of it is comprised of Chandler's work with the Dukays, the group of which he was a part until the release of "Duke of Earl" (which was a Dukays recording released as a Chandler solo single). The Dukays material is fine if relatively undistinguished late-'50s R&B harmony vocal material, mostly consisting of pleasant romantic ballads. Chandler's work, by contrast, casts him in a mode very similar to Ben E. King's immediate post-Drifters recordings (he even does "Stand by Me" here). There's a considerable chasm between the doo wop and the solo sides, and some listeners might even get dizzy after a few switches back and forth. And what dominates the album are the later tracks, circa 1965, most notably "Turn on Your Love Light," where Chandler moves into the upbeat soul sound that would carry him from the mid-'60s all the way through into the '70s (and a professional rendezvous with Curtis Mayfield). A Japanese reissue (remastered in 24-bit digital audio) extends the original album with five bonus tracks representing Chandler's mid-'60s solo material — this includes his covers of a pair of Curtis Mayfield songs, "Rainbow" and "Man's Temptation," and generally some superb soul music that's considerably more advanced than most of the content of the original 1962 LP. The sound is killer and the mini-LP jacket looks really cool.
Born: 06 July 1937 in Chicago, IL
Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s
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