Saturday, 15 May 2021

Ghost Of Myself

As promised, I've replaced all previously REDUX'd collections (accessible via sidebar). I've also included the latest and possibly the most ambitious one yet, Johnnie Taylor! Additionally, I re-upped all collections 500mb or less, that were still on my machine. Between 40-50 re-ups but I can't be bothered to list them, so happy hunting. Now, back to our regularly scheduled whatnot ...


Been a spell since we've featured any deep soul dames so let's do something about that. Let's dig right in with the delightful Doris Duke. Her debut album is widely hailed as a deep soul masterpiece by many collectors and aficionados though I prefer her follow-up effort personally -- both of which were largely written, arranged and completely produced by Jerry Williams Jr. [a.k.a. the mighty Swamp Dogg]. Duke was also sister to Jeraldine and Joyce Curry, who recorded as The Heartstoppers for Sylvia Robinson's All Platinum label in the early 70s.


Born Doris Curry in Sandersville, Georgia, and reportedly started singing with gospel groups including the Queen of Gospel Albertina Walker and The Caravans. By 1963 she was working in New York City on sessions and as a backing singer at the Apollo Theatre. She also recorded some demos for Motown Records, but none were ever released. She married Johnathan Augustus "Gus" Willingham, an original member of The Cadillacs, and under her married name of Doris Willingham recorded her first single, "Running Away From Loneliness" in 1966. Produced by Donald Height for Dyno Productions and the only release issued on Hi-Monty, the single flopped. As did her second single, "You Can't Do That". This release on Jay Boy Records (one of only two released on the stateside version of the label) was not a success, so she continued working as a session singer, mainly in Philadelphia. She also sang back-up on Nina Simone's live album, A Very Rare Evening, recorded in Germany in 1969. Also in 1969, former Atlantic Records producer Jerry 'Swamp Dogg' Williams Jr. signed her as a solo artist, renaming her Doris Duke and recording the album I'm A Loser at the Capricorn studio in Macon, Georgia. The album was eventually issued on Canyon Records, and over the years became regarded, by Dave Godin and others, as one of the finest deep soul records of all time. The first single, "To The Other Woman (I'm The Other Woman)", reached no. 7 in the Billboard R&B chart and no. 50 on the pop chart in early 1970, and the follow-up "Feet Start Walking" also made the R&B chart, but success was cut short when the record company collapsed. Duke recorded a second album, A Legend In Her Own Time, with Swamp Dogg, issued on the Mankind label in 1971. However, it was not commercially successful, and her career at one point became confused with that of "the real" Doris Duke, a white heiress, who began performing with a gospel choir in New Jersey. Having remarried, and using the name Doris Logan, she temporarily retired to bring up her young children, before undergoing another divorce. In 1973, Duke recorded unsuccessfully for Bob Shad's Mainstream label, before being signed to the British Contempo label in 1974. Her subsequent album Woman, recorded in London and arranged by Gerry Shury, received good reviews but few sales, and thereafter she retired from the music business. An album called Funky Fox, issued on the Manhattan label in 1981, was credited to "Sister Doris Duke", although the tracks are in fact by other artists. However, Duke did make one further single, "I'll Make A Sweet Man (Out Of You)", on the Beantown label in Boston, in 1981. Doris Curry Willingham, known as Doris Duke, died aged 77 in 2019.

Ghost Of Myself gathers the near complete recordings of Doris Duke/Willingham. Missing the ultra-rare debut but we've got the Jay Boy recordings, the Swamp Dogg recordings, the Contempo recordings as well as one-off singles for Mainstream and Beantown Records. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

*missing:
Doris Willingham - 1966 - Running Away (From Loneliness) (Hi-Monty 3241)
Doris Willingham - 1966 - I'll Never Hurt You (Hi-Monty 3241)

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