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Dee Dee Warwick: Foolish Fool

Dee Dee Warwick
Foolish Fool
(Mercury)

The context: In the shadow of Dionne Warwick's success, her sister Dee Dee cut a 1969 album, Foolish Fool, whose liner notes mention Dionne as often as they do Dee Dee herself. And that's a shame: Dee Dee's stark-yet-sophisticated soul was trampled in the mad rush to consume Dionne's saccharine, Burt Bacharach-penned tunes.

The greatness: Produced by Ed Townsend—except for the sublime "It's Not Fair," a forgotten Gamble & Huff standout bearing a sturdier backbone than the team was known for—Foolish Fool is a dark, nuanced record that doesn't sacrifice an ounce of earthy rawness. With harps and harpsichords stretched over sinewy backing, songs like the stomping "Don't You Ever Give Up On Me" and the hymnal "Thank God" let Dee Dee purr, roar, and wring every grain of grit out of her voice. The only misstep is a numb rendition of "Alfie," a song that Dionne rode up the charts two years earlier.

Defining song: Foolish Fool's title track opens the album, and it fleshes out the single version with an extended intro of Keith Richards-esque licks, followed by a loping, syncopated funk that feels like a stuttering heart, the perfect pulse to carry Dee Dee's wracked ode to inadequacy and infidelity.