Gene Chandler ‘Get Down’ (BBR) 4/5

gene-chandlerChicago Soul singer Gene Chandler has enjoyed a lengthy career that dates all the way back to 1962 when he enjoyed a hit R & B song with ‘Duke of Earl and by the early 1970s he had already recorded on a variety of Chicago’s finest labels including Checker/Chess, Brunswick and Curtom as well as producing ‘Groovier Situation’ for soul duo Mel and Tim. Fast forward to the late 1970s when disco was king. Chandler was actually a somewhat surprising candidate for the dancefloors, though it should be said that gritty soulster Edwin Starr did enjoy major disco hits with ‘Eye to Contact’ and ‘Happy Radio’ thus disprovin g any argument soulful vocals and dancefloor grooves could not be happily married. This well balanced album dates from 1978 and is really a classy modern soul album with one stunning dance-oriented song, namely the title track. The understated vocals of Chandler provide the ideal counterfoil to the distinctively catchy keyboard riffs that could only be from the 1970s with a heavy bass line underpinning it all, and it is included here in its full-length version. However, Gene Chandler was always a well rounded singer and this is exemplified by the dramatic brass and strings intro to a mid-tempo modern soul gem, ‘Tomorrow I may not feel the same’, which oozes class and features some lovely female background harmonies. An uplifting swinger of a soul tune emerges in ‘Greatest love ever known’ with Tom Tom 84 taking care of the arrangement duties and his masterly arranging is in evidence throughout this album with Carl Davis producing. A brace of quality ballads includes the Earth, Wind and Fire influenced harmonies on ‘Please Sunrise’. Only the final upbeat song, ‘Lovequake’, disappoints and pales in comparison with the title track.

Tim Stenhouse