Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Gene Chandler: Stroll on With the Duke [Solid Smoke, 1984]
How bitterly you bewail Chandler's relative obscurity depends on how unconditionally you credit Curtis Mayfield's genius. Me, I consider the Chicago sound second-city and don't find Chandler especially adept at negotiating the turns of the seven Mayfield songs on this admirably consistent early-'60s collection. Only the live "Rainbow '65" stands out like Jerry Butler's "Bless Our Love" or Bernice Williams's "Festival of Love" and "The Big Lie." And lest you suspect otherwise, Chandler never came close to topping "Duke of Earl." B+