Carol Douglas – 1975 – The Carol Douglas Album
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Best known for a pair of chart-topping singles that helped to define the disco era; singer Carol Douglas broke out of the starting gate in 1974 with the stunning “Doctor’s Orders”, reaching the #2 position on Billboard’s disco chart. Douglas made her album debut in 1975 with The Carol Douglas Album followed in 1976 by Midnight Love Affair and in 1977 by Full Bloom. To prove she was no one-hit wonder, Douglas reached the coveted #1 slot on the Billboard Disco chart with the single, “Midnight Love Affair” in 1976. Douglas soon became a favorite on the club scene and released two more solid albums (1978’s “Burnin’” and 1979’s “Come Into My Life”) to end the decade.
A1 Doctor’s Orders 4:30
A2 A Friend in Need 4:08
A3 Baby, Don’t Let This Good Love Die 3:24
A4 Take Me (Make Me Lose Control) 3:42
B1 A Hurricane Is Coming Tonite 4:01
B2 I Fell in Love With Love 2:53
B3 All Night Long 3:34
B4 Will We Make It Tonight 3:35
B5 Boy, You Know Just What I’m After 2:38
Carol Douglas is the first cousin of the late R&B legend Sam Cooke. Her first single was “I Don’t Mind” as Carolyn Cooke. The Carol Douglas Album was her 1975 debut LP on Midland International Records (later renamed Midsong International). The album showcases a rising genre of dance music that was blossoming in the mid-1970’s called Disco. Her hit single, “Doctor’s Orders” was a remake of a British hit recorded by an artist named Sunny. “Doctor’s Orders” was a very fresh, exciting sounding song when it popped up on radios upon it’s release. The song has aged nicely & still holds up quite well. Subsequent remakes by artists like Meagan, Andree Maranda, & Sandee could not hold a candle to Carol’s version. The majority of the album maintains a disco groove & the subsequent single “A Hurricane Is Coming Tonite” did not fare as well as “Doctor’s Orders”. “A Friend In Need” is a great uptempo song & “Take Me (Make Me Lose Control)” is an enjoyable slow jam. There were three main “Divas Of Disco”: Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, & Carol Douglas. Carol wasn’t exactly the most “soulful” of the three but her voice was extremely pleasing & very pop music friendly. (She looks pretty on the album cover, but I never understood why they photographed her with such a dark background).
By Justin Kantor
Although the material on Douglas’ initial outing may seem somewhat routine these days, it’s actually quite notable considering it preceded the actual fruition of disco. The perennial “Doctor’s Orders” alone would make this a classic, but the quality is far from limited to that track. Earthy dance gems like “A Friend in Need” and “Baby Don’t Let This Good Love Die” are a nice cross between the late-’60s sound of Detroit soul and late-’70s dancefloor soul. Meanwhile, the mellow “Take Me (Make Me Lose Control)” and “I Fell in Love With Love” show a calmer side, while still keeping the groove alive. Douglas has a sophisticated, understated approach that is fully soulful without any dramatic gestures, and she brings a rich vibe to each tune. The only drawback is the presence of somewhat formulaic melodies and lyrics at some points — an aspect usually overcome by the classy arrangements. On a few tunes, the singer lacks a certain warmth, perhaps because she’s trying to play it a little too cool. Overall, The Carol Douglas Album is an impressive pre-disco effort which helped pave the way for many subsequent albums by dance-driven R&B acts. Unidisc’s CD release of the album also includes an extended version of “Doctor’s Orders,” as well as the singer’s ’80s cover of The Three Degrees’ “My Simple Heart.”