Gene Chandler

Band members                              Related acts

- Gene Chandler (aka Eugene Dixon, Gene Dixon) -- vocals




- The Du-Kays





Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars **

Title:  The Gene Chandler Situation

Company: Mercury 

Catalog: SR 61304

Year: 1970

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/ VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2227

Price: $15.00



1970 found Gene Chandler signed to Mercury Records.  Judging by the cover and billing, 1970's self-produced "The Gene Chandler Situation" seemed like an effort to update Chandler's classic soul sound for younger audience.  I guess this will sound kind of dumb, but for me the album's biggest surprise came in the form of Chandler's voice.  If you only knew him for his early-'60s successes ('Duke of Earl'), this set was liable to come as a major surprise.  No matter what you thought of some of the material, there was no denying the man had a great set of pipes.  Check out the way he slid into his falsetto on 'Give Me a Chance' ....   And that leads to my major complaint about the album and the one thing that stopped it from being a four star classic ...   Chandler certainly wasn't alone in trying to appeal to a broad audience (listen to virtually any Motown album).  Unfortunately, spreading himself across a mixture of pop, show, and soul tunes meant he repeatedly walked away from the stuff he was good at  (the soul material), in favor of throwaway, MOR pop tunes like 'Am I Blue' and 'Bright Lights and You, Girl'.   Exemplified by the slinky title track, 'Give Me a Chance', and 'It's Your Love I'm After' about a third of the album featured four star soul material, with several other tracks almost as good.   But then you had to slog through the pop and show tunes like the dreadful 'Bright Lights and You, Girl' ...  It was still an album worth exploring, but it could have been so much better with a couple of edits.


"The Gene Chandler Situation" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Groovy Situation   (Herman Davis - Russell Lewis) - 3:12

I'll readily admit that I prefer the Mel & Tim version (found on their "Good Guys Only Win In the Movies" album).  That said, Chandler's slinky cover was nice, giving the tune a shag, beach music feel.   Moreover, this version was probably worth the price of admission just to hear Richard Evans' classic bass lines.   Mercury released it as a single, providing Chandler with one of his biggest hits:














- 'Groovy Situation' b/w 'Not the Marrying Kind' (Mercury catalog number 73083)  #12 pop; # 8 R&B   rating" **** stars

2.) Simply Call It Love  (Eugene Dixon - James Thompson) - 2:35

Featuring a fantastic bass line, 'Simply Call It Love' was a pretty, slightly Latin-tinged  mid-tempo tune.  Probably more pop than soul, it was one of those songs that didn't initially fell below your radar, but grew on you after awhile.  Mercury tapped it as the leadoff single:





- 1970's 'Simply Call It Love' b/w 'Give Me A Chance' (Mercury catalog number 73131)   rating: *** stars






3.) Hallelujah, I Love Her So   (Ray Charles) - 2:20

This one wasn't going to make you forget the Ray Charles original and while it may have been a bit too smooth it was still a decent cover.  Off their "Black Sunday" album, Cypress Hill sampled the song for 'Legalize It'.  rating: *** stars

4.) Not the Marrying Kind  (Eugene Dixon - James Thompson) - 3:08

I hate spoken word segments and since this one started out with a brief spoken word introduction my expectations were pretty low.   I certainly won't try to convince anyone this was a great tune; I'm not even sure it qualified as a good song ... Still, there was something very appealing in Chandler's lilting delivery.   The song would have been way better without the heavy orchestration and backing singers.  Docked a star for the spoken word segments ...    rating: *** stars

5.) Give Me a Chance  (Eugene Dixon - James Thompson) - 3:38

The first couple of times I heard 'Give Me a Chance' I wrote it off as little more than wasted cocktail jazz-styled soul.  Admittedly the song had some MOR edges (even a little bossa nova rhythm), , but having paid attention to the tune I discovered its multiple charms - a breezy melody, nice instrumentation, and Chandler's sweet voice.  Hearing him shift into his upper ranges was a treat.    rating: **** stars

(side 2)
1.) Am I Blue   (G Cark - H. Aksta) - 4:10

The first outright failure, the heavily orchestrated  'Am I Blue' sounded like a third rate Nat King Cole slice of MOR pap.  Four minutes of boredom.   rating: * star

2.) Bright Lights and You, Girl   (S. Shepard) - 2:15

'Bright Lights and You, Girl ' sounded like the kind of tune a soul artist would perform on a television variety show - very middle America.  Shame since Chandler had a great voice, though it was totally wasted here.  rating: * star

3.) Hey Little Angel  (Eugene Dixon - James Thompson) - 3:00

'Hey Little Angel' was a smooth, slice of radio friendly pop rather than soul.   The problem with this one was it was too soul for pop audiences, but too pop for soul artists.   It lost another star for the whistling solo.   Mercury released it as a single:

- 1970's 'Hey Little Angel' b/w 'It's Your Love I'm After' (Mercury catalog number 73176)    rating: *** stars   

4.) Unforgettable   (P Arthur) - 3:10

5.) It's Your Love I'm After  (Eugene Dixon - James Thompson) -  2:25

The best tune on side two (maybe the best song on the album), 'It's Your Love I'm After' had the album's breeziest melody; the best hook, and one of Chandler's loveliest vocals.   Charming through and through and again you were left to wonder why this one wasn't the single.   rating; **** stars



Genre: soul

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Get Down

Company: Chi Sound/20th Century Fox

Catalog: T-578

Year: 1978

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5206

Price: $8.00


I'm assuming that the fact the mid-1970s found Gene Chandler without a recording contract, without a production deal, and having recently been convicted of selling heroin may have had something to do with Gene Chandler allowing himself to be dragged into recording and releasing disco.  


Given his personal surroundings, 1978 saw Chandler reunited with longtime mentor Carl Davis and his Chi-Sound label, returning to the studio to cut his first new material in five years.  Chandler's comeback single 'Tomorrow I May Not Feel The Same' b/w '' (Chi-Sound catalog number ) was a beautiful slice of old school soul and met with some success in the local Chicago market, but did little elsewhere.  The comeback was then briefly sidetracked while Chandler served a 180 day prison sentence for the earlier drug conviction.  Out of jail, Davis and Chandler found their target audience with their next single - 'Get Down' b/w 'I'm The Traveling Kind' (Chi-Sound catalog number 2386).  A top-5 R&B, top100 pop hit, it stood as one of the era's better disco numbers.  The single's success also convinced 20th Century Fox to purchase Chi-Sound. 


Moving to capitalize on the Chandler's comeback, 20th Century promptly released 1978's cleverly-titled "Get Down".  In addition to the earlier singles the set offered up a mixture of competent 'love man' ballads and less invigorating disco moves ('What Now' and 'Lovequake').  Chandler's voice remained in excellent form; far more versatile than you would have thought if you only knew him from 'Duke of Earl'.  The big problem stemmed from producer Davis song selection.  With the exception of the title track (which was stretched out over eight minutes) and the upbeat Chandler original 'Just Give Me the Cue', the album sagged under the weight of too many mid-tempo ballads. After awhile, material like 'I'm The Traveling Kind', 'Greatest Love Ever Known' and 'What Now' just started to blur together. Under the 20th Century umbrella Chi-Sound also tapped the LP for another single 'Please Sunrise' b/w 'Greatest Love Ever Known' (Chi-Sound catalog number 2404).


"Get Down" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Get Down   (James Thompson) - 8:14
2.) Please Sunrise   (Eugene Record - Barbara Acklin) - 5:57
3.) Tomorrow I May Not Feel The Same   (L. Thomson - Eugene Dixon) - 3:52 

(side 2)
1.) I'm The Traveling Kind   (L. Thomson - Eugene Dixon) - 4:06
2.) Greatest Love Ever Known   (James Thompson) - 3:32
3.) Give Me The Cue   (A. Thomson - Eugene Dixon) - 3:46
4.) What Now   (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:15
5.) Lovequake   (D. McGilberry) - 4:50


Chandler has a small web presence at: