Nope, not Dee Dee Ramone, a man we all know passed away back in 2002. I'm talking about Dee Dee Warwick, dead at 63, an incredible soul singer who was always overshadowed by the success of her older sister, Dionne (and later by her cousin, Whitney Houston).
As with so many of the less popular R&B; artists of her time, we don't know a whole lot of intimate details about Dee Dee's life–but I stumbled across a 45 of hers, an incredible Mercury single titled "Foolish Fool," years ago, and it became a staple of my DJ sets for a long time. The funny thing is, "Foolish Fool" isn't a particularly danceable song, although its loping, teardrop-paced backbeat had a languid funkiness to it that was a perfect palate-cleanser between the more stomping cuts I used to spin.
A couple years back I finally tracked down her 1969 full-length, also titled Foolish Fool, on eBay–it's a hard-to-come-by LP, but not particularly expensive if and when you find it–and the whole thing is just jaw-droppingly gorgeous. In fact, it was the first album I chose to write about for The A.V. Club's now defunct Permanent Records series (that's a photo of my cherished copy below).
I'm as sad as the next soul fan about the passing of The Four Tops' Levi Stubbs last week (thanks for that great blog, Mr. Hyden). But for some reason, I always felt like Dee Dee was my own special soul sweetheart. I wish I'd had the chance to see her perform "Foolish Fool" live; it remains, at least to me, one of R&B;'s most heartbreaking, love's-gone-wrong narratives next to Maxine Brown's "We'll Cry Together" and Freda Payne's "Band Of Gold." Rest in peace, Dee Dee.