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"GENE CHANDLER'S SIX DECADE, DUKEDOM REIGN"- RICH BUCKLAND'S EPIPHANY NOTEBOOK-

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GOING DEEPER WITH THE DUKE

As my partner Bill Mesnik has been known to say, certain music is “ageless and timeless”. My selection for the King of an immortal Rhythm and Blues anthem and character goes to a Duke. Mr. Eugene Dixon became known internationally as Gene Chandler. In 1962 his hymn to Royal Hi Fidelity, “The Duke Of Earl”, conquered our imagination and romantic reverie as he conceived an eternal figure sporting a signature cape, top hot and cane. His Dukedom was a “Paradise We Could Share”. In his song “Keeping The Faith”, Billy Joel delivered a tribute to the persona Mr. Chandler invoked upon writing the line “I thought I was the Duke of Earl When I made it with a red-haired girl In the Chevrolet.” I never imagined Chevy’s or Drive In Theaters in the Dukedom, but I get where the Piano Man was coming from. Gene’s other achievements in the key of soulful blue are also melodic autographs of greatness. “Rainbow” (released as three separate incarnations in ‘62, ‘65 and ‘80 suggest it’s potent importance), “Just Be True” and the enduring catchy hook of 1970’s “Groovy Situation” display a vocal aptitude comfortable within Doo Wop, Blues, Gospel, Soul or just good ole’ Pop Music. Up until last year, The Duke continued to walk on, appearing at multiple venues at the age of 83. As one of my Top 20 singers and performers ,Gene Chandler will always remain a testament to the everlasting truth of a music that has embraced my life with a spiritual honor and an impassioned faithfulness to which I owe a great debt. Now Let’s Walk On With The Duke! -Rich Buckland


By Rich Buckland 02/17/2021 04:15 PM

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