PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Gene & Eddie: True Enough: Gene & Eddie With Sir Joe at Ru-Jac

Omnivore Recordings continues gets it right with latest reissue of the Maryland-based Ru-Jac label.


Gene & Eddie

True Enough: Gene & Eddie With Sir Joe at Ru-Jac

Label: Omnivore Recordings
US Release Date: 2016-09-02
UK Release Date: 2016-09-02
Amazon
iTunes

There’s an entire market that exists specifically to fulfill the needs of music fans with a thirst for the deepest cuts from the body of soul music that exists. Northern Soul is one such example, a musical phenomena in England that eschewed more commercially successful soul music for artists and songs off the beaten path. Numero Group, Light in the Attic, and Rhino are labels that feed the need for the obsessive to delve beyond the top acts of a given genre, label, or era and Omnivore’s True Enough: Gene & Eddie With Sir Joe at Ru-Jac is another welcome entry into this field. Omnivore Recordings acquired the recordings of the Maryland-based soul label Ru-Jac and has been in the process of restoring and reissuing the music. The label’s Ru-Jac reissue initiative began in March of 2016 with the release of Mr. Clean: Winfield Parker at Ru-Jac.

This compilation focuses on Eugene “Gene” Dorsett and Eddie Best, Jr. and their work with producer Sir Joe Quarterman, a singer and songwriter in his own right. Quarterman gets to shine on several tracks featured here. Quarterman earned the nickname "Sir" in high school as a member of a group called the Knights. Quarterman, Dorsett, and Best Jr. all hailed from the Washington D.C. area and Gene & Eddie never had much success beyond their regional hit, “It’s So Hard”; that's a shame as the work contained is on par with much of the more highly esteemed soul music.

The compilation charts the shift from doo-wop to soul to a hint of early funk. Quarterman in particular had a strong interest in funk music and took some cues from James Brown in his later work. Chuck Brown, the Godfather of Go-Go, was active in the same area around the same time, so while not a direct predecessor to Go-Go music, this compilation serves as a missing link, filling in the gaps of the Washington D.C./Baltimore musical history.



And this is not merely some curio meant to serve the same function as a plate of steamed vegetables, and to continue with the food metaphor, it’s not to be consumed merely because it’s good for you. It is enriching and interesting and manages to be touched with familiarity without being docked for derivativeness. Vocally, Gene & Eddie recall Sam & Dave; that’s the obvious point of comparison yet also a little unfair to them. Their voices blend together well and they cover a good range of styles and genres, shifting from frenetic R&B workouts to tender ballads.

Omnivore is doing vital work with these reissues as the chronicling of an area’s musical history can fall by the wayside unless it strikes a chord with critics or strikes it big commercially. There will always be someone to write about the music coming out of Memphis and Detroit in the '60s, but the music of places like Baltimore might simply be relegated to the past. In a way, the smoothing out of regional differences mirrors the movement of American culture as a whole: a shift towards monoculture and a return to more regional culture.

It’s a shift one can observe in the food and drink industry in the growth of local food movements and craft brewing as well as in the entertainment world where a plethora of streaming titles, platform, and hardware allows the discerning culture to dictate precisely the terms of consumption. What better time to revisit regional music labels and artists? There are certainly pluses and minuses to the growth and decay of monoculture, but if it gives deserving artists another chance at the spotlight and more importantly proper financial compensation, it’s hard to get up in arms over that.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.