Gene Chandler

The Duke of Earl [Vee Jay]

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The Duke of Earl [Vee Jay] Review

by Bruce Eder

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 the album is dominated by 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 1970s (and a professional rendezvous with Curtis Mayfield). The sound is excellent, and if you can take the switches in style and mood, this is a fun album. [The original 12-song album has been reissued on CD in Japan under the same title and with the same cover art, with audiophile sound and five bonus cuts drawn from deeper in the Vee-Jay library.]

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Gene Chandler 02:28 Amazon
2 Gene Chandler 02:25 Amazon
3 Gene Chandler 02:28 Amazon
4 Gene Chandler 02:34 Amazon
5 Gene Chandler 02:36 Amazon
6 Gene Chandler 02:19 Amazon
7 Gene Chandler 02:26 Amazon
8 Gene Chandler 02:25 Amazon
9 Gene Chandler 02:33 Amazon
10 Gene Chandler 02:26 Amazon
11 Gene Chandler 02:41 Amazon
12 Gene Chandler 01:46 Amazon
13 Gene Chandler 02:05 Amazon
14 Gene Chandler 02:30 Amazon
15 Gene Chandler 02:18 Amazon
16 Gene Chandler 02:22 Amazon
17 Gene Chandler 02:25 Amazon
18 Gene Chandler 02:30 Amazon
19 Gene Chandler 02:36 Amazon
20 Gene Chandler 02:36 Amazon
21 Gene Chandler 02:53 Amazon
22 Gene Chandler 02:52 Amazon
23 Gene Chandler 02:44 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick