Gene Chandler & Jerry Butler: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — February 7, 2022

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 . . . .

[intro: Jerry & Gene] “Over and over again.

[verse 1: Jerry & Gene] Oh, when am I gonna realize can’t bet my heart every time it cries. The things you never expect that cause so much regret. I could have been much further today if I had learned from my mistake. Like a stubborn child I wouldn’t use my head. Remember what the old folks said.

[chorus: both, (Jerry)] Oh, you just can’t win by making that same mistake. Oh, Lord, you just can’t win by making that same mistake. (I need to tell you) over and over again. (Hallelujah) Over and over again.

[verse 2: Jerry & Gene] When I think I’m over the hill, something happens to kill the will. The things that I enjoy seems always be destroyed. Jerry, I bit off more than I can chew. Depending on someone to see me through. Mama said the blind can’t lead the blind. Son, always keep this in mind.

[chorus: both, (Jerry)] Oh, you just can’t win by making that same mistake. Oh, Lord, you just can’t win by making that same mistake. (Oh, no) Over and over again. (Hallelujah) Over and over again. (Well, well, well)

[verse 3: Jerry & Gene] If a boxer telegraphs his punch or a fly when he catches lunch. The element of surprise make a whole lot of people realize. Sometimes you find that you’re in a pinch. And some games are won by the inch. The motto of the living man is don’t make that same mistake.

[chorus: both, (Jerry)] Oh, you just can’t win by making that same mistake. Say it again, you just can’t win by making that same mistake. (Hey, Lord) Over and over again. (Hallelujah) Over and over again. (Take it home)

[outro: both] You just can’t win by making that same mistake. . . .”

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