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Doris Duke - I'm a Loser

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 16 / 12 / 2013

Doris Duke - I'm a Loser
Label: Alive Naturalsound
Format: CD


Superb reissue of 1969 album from Georgia-born soul singer Doris Duke, which while considered by many to be the greatest Deep Soul album of all time, has remained little heard after its original label Canyon went bust

This album has been considered by many to be the greatest Deep Soul album of all time. That’s a massive statement considering the amount of soul that has been released over the years. But when it is endorsed by Dave Godin, the master of Deep Soul and creator of the term Northern Soul, you have to give it its credit. This is a masterpiece of singing, song writing and production with none other than Jerry ‘Swamp Dogg’ Williams Jr. at the helm, writing ten of the twelve songs, in collaboration with Gary Bonds and the great George Jackson. Lyrically most of the songs on here provide a dark glimpse into a turbulent life of a troubled mind, but this is southern soul as it was meant to be. If you listen to Godin’s array of compilations of Deep Soul records and read the sleeve notes in between, you instantly get an idea of what this genre is all about and where Doris Duke fits in to it all. You feel every word she sings, and this to me makes for the epitome of Deep Soul. In a lot of ways, this album feels like the format that all the modern soul singers used for inspiration. But it should also be used as an indication of what the lady has done before. Duke’s vocals here have matured slightly from her early ’60’s more rougher-edged recordings. They have taken a more modern stance or so it seems. But if you listen closely, you can still hear the gritty and soulful gospel element of her past creeping through. ‘I’m a Loser’ was originally released in 1969, which was a changing time for soul music. On one hand there was the solid 60’s sound of Stax, Tamla and Okeh that had been the staple for a decade, and on the other newer, smooth modern vibes took over. Both can be felt and heard on this album. This is probably why it has been given the accolades it has. It spans all sides of the soul genre. This album is an honest and up front depiction of that transitional time, but with Doris at the mic the original reason for the term ‘Deep Soul’ has been maintained. In a time of depression and hardship "I'm a Loser" was rejected by dozens of labels before it finally surfaced on Wally Roker's Canyon label. Although the first single ‘To the Other Woman,’ soared into Billboard's R&B Top Ten, Canyon spiralled into financial disaster soon afterwards, destroying the album's commercial momentum. This CD features a booklet with new liner notes by producer Swamp Dogg as well as recently unearthed photos from that session. If you’ve never heard of Doris Duke, it will be a learning time for you, as this will be an introduction for you to one of the best and emotive soul singers that has passed you by. If you know and have listened to this album before, it will be a welcome addition to the CD rack so as not to wear out your original vinyl copy. It will also jolt a few memories of what has come before and since.

Track Listing:-
1 He's Gone
2 I Can Do Without You
3 Feet Start Walking
4 Ghost of Myself
5 Your Best Friend
6 The Feeling Is Right
7 I Don't Care Anymore
8 Congratulations Baby
9 We're More Than Strangers
10 Divorce Decree
11 How Was I To Know You Cared
12 To the Other Woman (I'm the Other

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