Why Doris Duke never reached greater heights of stardom after hitting the R&B top 10 with To The Other Woman in 1969 and following it up with the outstanding Swamp Dogg-produced I’m A Loser album (Dave Godin’s all-time fave!) is another one of soul music’s confounding mysteries.
After Duke’s A Legend In Her Own Time follow-up tanked in 71, she was rescued from singing backing vocals for Dean Martin by Blues & Soul Magazine editor John Abbey, who brought Duke to the UK to record for his Contempo label.
The resulting Woman album – just reissued by Cherry Red’s Shout! subsidiary – contains a number of superb tunes selected by Abbey, including Marlena Shaw’s Woman Of The Ghetto and the lesser-known Irma Thomas killer Full Time Woman, the Carla Thomas single Pick Up The Pieces and the Supremes’ Love Is Here And Now You’ve Gone. This last is a track Duke deftly overhauls, but even the steady-bumpin’ grooves of Ultrafunk wasn’t enough to break her into the diva league.
Still, like Duke’s previous albums compiled on I’m A Loser: The Swamp Dogg Sessions And More (Ace), this is classic deep soul that sounds as fresh and vital today as ever. www.shoutrecords.co.uk.
Some of the very best recordings by prolific UK jazz bandleader/producer Ben Lamdin, aka Nostalgia 77, have appeared as limited-run vinyl-only releases, and even dedicated collectors without jobs would have a difficult time keeping up with all the various remix jobs, studio collabos and single tracks that Lamdin knocks out with alarming frequency.
Thankfully, the Tru Thoughts label has kindly compiled some of our boy Benedic’s finest overlooked moments on the aptly named One Offs, Remixes And B Sides set, which packs 24 boss tunes onto two discs. Particularly worthy of note are the N77 remixes of Corinne Bailey-Rae’s Your Love Is Mine backed by the New Mastersounds as well as Elizabeth Shepherd’s Reversed, Alice Russell’s soulful revision of Seven Nation Army, and all the deep Nostalgia 77 Octet jams on the second disc, culminating with their awesome epic Impossible Equation. www.tru-thoughts.co.uk.
Most of David Axelrod’s most sought-after studio work from the 60s and 70s has been repackaged and reissued for the beat-conscious generation, but there’s one peak-period production from 1975 called Seriously Deep that was passed over because Universal had the rights to the original Polydor recording and was too clueless to put out a remastered version.
The folks at Dusty Groove, recognizing the sales potential of an out-of-print Axelrod jazz/funk session produced by Cannonball Adderley and featuring Arp ace Joe Sample, Jerome Richardson, Ernie Watts and Ndugu Chancler, licensed Seriously Deep from Universal and added the disc to its excellent in-house Essential Reissue series.
When you hear the beats on 1000 Rads, you’ll know why beat junkies are celebrating. www.dustygroove.com.