347) Gene Chandler & Jerry Butler — “You Just Can’t Win (By Making that Same Mistake Again)”
Two soul greats combine forces to make a wonderful album — ‘70’s Gene & Jerry One & One — and no one buys it. Well, the album did produce two minor R&B hits, including “You Just Can’t Win,” which reached #32 on the R&B chart (#94 on Billboard’s Hot 100) in January of ‘71. Andrew Hamilton writes in All Music Guide that:
Gene Chandler achieved a million in sales with Mel & Tim (“Backfield In Motion”) . . . and some minor R&B hits with Simtec & Wylie . . . . Both acts were unknown until Chandler’s discovery, yet they made the charts. What would two name artists do? That prospect energized this project . . . . [T]hey all pooled their talent to come up with material and production ideas to make Gene & Jerry: One and One a success. . . . Despite its dismal sales, this is a good album of uptown male duets by two of soul’s greatest.
Jerry Butler needs no introduction, but Craig Lyle notes, also in AMG, that:
[His] career spans four decades; he recorded more than 50 albums, and his voice is one of the most distinguished in all of music. As soulful as ever, yet smooth as ice, his nickname “The Ice Man” epitomizes his demeanor — and sound.
Gene Chandler is a bit less well known — outside of “Duke of Earl” — but Richie Unterberger provides a good overview in AMG:
Gene Chandler is remembered by the rock & roll audience almost solely for the classic novelty and doo wop-tinged soul ballad “Duke of Earl” . . . a number one hit in 1962. He’s esteemed by soul fans as one of the leading exponents of the ’60s Chicago soul scene, along with Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler. Chandler never approached the massive pop success of that chart-topper (although he occasionally entered the Top 20), but he was a big star with the R&B audience with straightforward mid-tempo and ballad soul numbers in the mid-’60s . . . .
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