Doris Duke had the good fortune to meet Swamp Dogg at a time when he had a bunch of incredible, mostly self-penned songs at his disposal and needed to place them with a female singer who could impart the right degree of gravitas to their subject matter. The recordings Doris and Swamp made together inMacon,Georgiain 1969 were released as the landmark album “I’m A Loser”. The record seems to have touched the lives of all who heard it and would have probably propelled Doris into the winners circle had her record label Canyon not imploded, just as the album was on the verge of international appreciation. “I’m A Loser” is available onKentin CD and vinyl formats, but it’s not the only fine album in Doris’ all-too-small discography. This month we’re delighted to bring you the other half of her Swamp Dogg sessions, restored to UK vinyl for the first time in 42 years.
“A Legend In Her Own Time” was a hotly anticipated follow-up to “I’m A Loser”. A few collectors were disappointed that it didn’t include wall-to-wall songs about infidelity, prostitution, ruptured romance, shotgun weddings and all the other things that had made its predecessor a must-have for deep soul fans. It’s fair to say, though, that any last lingering strands of disappointment have long since vanished.
Dorisis on record as preferring the album to “I’m A Loser”. Whether you agree or not, it’s a mighty fine piece of work that more than holds its own. Songs such as Swamp Dogg’s ‘If She’s Your Wife (Who Am I)’ and her versions of the Manhattans’ ‘I Wish I Could Sleep’ and the Persians’ ‘I Don’t Know How (To Fall Out Of Love With You)’ are seminal works in the career of Doris and Swamp, as is her version of the R&B standard ‘Since I Fell For You’ – a highlight of the second side. These are by no means the only pick tracks from “A Legend In Her Own Time”. The wistful ‘It Sure Was Fun’, the bluesy ‘He’s Everything I Need’ andDoris’ tough take on the Raeletts’ ‘Bad Water’ are equally noteworthy and will greatly enrich anyone’s listening experience.
Recorded in Muscle Shoals (in neighbouring Sheffield, to be accurate) at the Quinvy Studios, “A Legend In Her Own Time” may not have quite the reputation of “I’m A Loser”, but it’s a wonderful record that more than merits a place in every southern soul fan’s collection, and it sounds better than ever in this new high-grade vinyl edition.
By Tony Rounce
Pressed on 180g yellow vinyl in heavy-duty sleeve with printed inner bag.