Gene & Eddie
Every town in the US had its own cut-price Sam & Dave in the 60s - and Baltimore's were Messrs Dorsett and Best who called themselves Gene & Eddie. They cut a very strong series of 45s for local label Ru-Jac, ranging in styles from neo doo-wop to funk, almost every one of which featured a deep side as well. Their first single I Would Cry is a fine example of their church based approach. The guys sing some great harmonies over a big, well arranged horn section and a plodding rhythm, with some nice guitar and organ lines. Passion, power and commitment are all here - with some super ad-libbing at the run out groove. Let Me Go Easy is from the same stylebook, more impassioned vocals over a well-arranged horn rich backing. Anoraks should note that the song of the same title coupled with “She’s True Enough” is a completely different number – but is another superb deep ballad! It’s So Hard is a real throwback sound, with some neo doo wop touches to the vocals. A real charmer this, featuring a melodic hook and very attractive chord changes. Their fourth 45 was also issued on Mon’Ca, curiously with the same number as the Rujac release, and this is the one that the modern soul crowd go for. That’s fortunate as the slower flip “You’ve Got To Love Me Sometimes”, while pleasant, is easily the weakest ballad they cut. Their final 45, however, was a real beauty. “Darling I Love You” is a well constructed number, with some discrete strings adding to the atmosphere rather than taking away from it.
Rujac issued some very good 45s through the 60s and into the 70s, from artists like Winfield Parker and Fred Martin particularly, but you have to take care as there are some real turkeys as well. A first class attempt at unravelling the chaotic numbering and scheduling of the label is here, but there are still gaps left to be filled.
UPDATE ~ I have now found their first 45 on the Tonjo label and it is a fine doo-wop flavoured version of one of their best Ru-jac cuts It's So Hard.
It's so hard / Check you later ~ TONJO 556 (mid 60s)
I would cry / I tell you ~ RU-JAC 0023 (1968)
You don't fool me / Let me go easy ~ RU-JAC 0025 (1968)
It's so hard / Sweet little girl ~ RU-JAC 201 (1969)
Let me go easy / She's true enough ~ RU-JAC 202 (1969)
It's no sin / You've got to love me sometimes ~ RU-JAC/MON'CA 52670 (1970)
Darling I love you / Why do you hurt me ~ RU-JAC 1671 (1971)