The Amboy Dukes were formed in Chicago in 1965 and featured a young, teenage guitarist name Ted Nugent. The next year Ted moved back to his native Detroit, MI and assembled a new Dukes line-up including vocalist John Drake, his former bandmate from The Lourds. The Amboys Dukes first album was released in November 1967 (Mainstream Records/56104 mono and S/6104 stereo) and featured the single "Baby Please Don't Go". The album crept into the top 200 and its highest was #183. The band is best remembered for the top-20 hit, drug anthem "Journey to the Center of the Mind" and for launching the career of Ted Nugent. Nugent's enormous stage persona always put him out in front and the band eventually became known as The Amboy Dukes featuring Ted Nugent and then Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes until Ted parted ways in early 1975. Their music is more a kin to early Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Cream or Iron Butterfly than to the Gonzo rock of Ted.
See the VINYL section for more Amboy Dukes albums.
Korean import of the original Amboy Dukes breakthrough album. The title track for this disc was the band's first hit single, a song about tripping on drugs. Ted Nugent holds to the claim to this very day that he didn't know that is what the song was about when the band recorded it and released it some three decades earlier. Ted, having always been very outspoken about the evils of drug use. In anycase, this album is one of the most underrated albums ever. In 1968 few had the guitar antics of this band. Even Deep Purple weren't this over the top yet as they were still stuck in their 60's pop rock mode. OK, in retrospect, perhaps "Journey to the Center of the Mind" isn't one of the greatest metal platters to be released, nor is it even very heavy compared to what was to come. Not even I would rate it up with the Gonzo antics of Ted's solo material, but for what it was and the time period it was released, it certainly was a groundbreaker and definitely gave an idication of what was to come. Just check out the guitar solo in "Flight of the Bird" or the heavy guitar riff in the center of the title cut. This disc also contains a song that I have always held to as one of my favorite song titles "Why Is a Carrot More Orange Than a Orange".
Amboy Dukes - Marriage On The Rocks-Rock Bottom (Polydor) 1969
Marriage on the Rocks is a transition record for the Amboy Dukes. The initial pressing of this record simply had the band name at the top, whereas subsequent pressings would have 'featuring Ted Nugent' added in small type to the left. It was clear that Ted was becoming the alpha male in this band and the style was turning from the experimental 60's rock to a harder rock formula. However, "Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom" isn't nearly as hard rockin' as follow-up's like "Survival of the Fittest" or "Tooth Fang & Claw". The first song is composed by Nugent, Marriage/Part 1: Man/Part 2: Woman/Part 3: Music. This sounds more like Jethro Tull than anything you would expect from Ted. The song is an over nine minute long epic number that combines equal parts progressive rock and blues. The remainder of the material up to the bizzarly titled "The Inexhaustible Quest For The Cosmic Cabbage" was also written by Ted. "Cosmic Cabbage" is the sole song written by Andrew Solomon and certainly fits into the whole 1960's vibe. Can't say this is a favorite song of mine, but the song does contain and interesting hodge-podge of ideas. The music on this album was recorded by legendary producer Edwin H. Kramer (Eddie Kramer) at Mira Sound in December of 1969. Own this one on vinyl and CD.
1. "Survival of the
Fittest" [instumental] (6:16)
Recorded live at The Eastowne Theater in Detroit, MI, July 31 and August 1, 1970. This is prime slab of Nugent. It is quite clear what was happening with the Amboy Dukes at this point. If the new name "Ted Nugent AND the Amboy Dukes" doesn't give you a clue, the outrageous guitar antics on the live platter will. Steve Farmer is long gone from here, and only Andy Solomon and Ted Nugent remain from the "original" band who had a big hit with "Journey to the Center of the Mind" a couple of years before this concert was recorded. It was obviously the Ted Nugent show gearing up to become one of the biggest heavy metal concert draws of the '70s and early '80s. The 21-minute-and-20-second epic "Prodigal Man," written by Nugent and sung by keyboardist Andy Solomon features a solo by each of the musicians in the band, with 'ol Uncle Ted finishing things up with some of the aforementioned outrageous guitar antics. Papa's Will" is a stinkin' heavy song and riff.
Ted Nugent starting to shine on this one. I'm sure it was painfully obvious to everyone that Ted WAS the band at this point. If I am not mistaken, this was the first album Ted and the boyz recorded for Frank Zappa's record label Discreet and was also the first album to change the band's name from the Amboy Dukes to Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes. Several killer tracks on this one, including the title track, "Sweet Revenge", the blues instrumetal "Rot Gut" and the psychedelic instrumental "Below the Belt". The screams in this song remind me of early Pink Floyd, a band I usually would not associate with Nugent. I found this disc in a discount bin for $2.50. Quite the deal. Had my CD cover autographed by Ted when I met him at a book signing in 2003. Also own a mint vinyl copy.
Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes - Tooth Fang & Claw (Discreet) 1974
This was the last Amboy Dukes album before Nugent split to start his solo carreer. However, despite the Amboy Dukes name on the cover, many consider this to be the beginning of Nugent's solo career. Ted was the sole writter, composer and even took over the lead vocals. Even the title of the band was changed to Ted Nugent's Amboy Dukes. Regardless of the name, this album has some great Nugent jams on it, ("Lady Luck", "Hibernation," "Living in the Woods," "Great White Buffalo", "No Holds Barred") although there are a few moments that remind me of the more typical Amboy Dukes psychadelic 1960's sound as well (ie. "Sasha"). "Maybelline" is a scorching number as well. Chuck Berry was a big influence on Ted early on, and this cover pays tribute to him. Ted did well going on his own as his solo material is superior to any of the earlier Amboy Dukes albums, and this album is proof of that. I held onto a CDR copy of this forever, refusing to pay the premium price that the original was going for on eBay. I finally secured a real Descreet copy thanks to a generous on-line trader. (Thanks Mark) Own this one on vinyl and CD.
Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes - Yeeoww! Live at Richards
1. "Hibernation" (10:25)
Outstanding live recording of Ted Nugent's Amboy Dukes from Atlanta, GA. This one was recorded on one of the last tours for the Amboy Dukes, before the name was dropped in favor of just "Ted Nugent". Bassist Rob Grange, who is on this recording, stayed with Ted for many years. The sound quality is surprisingly good for a live recording from 1974, although it does sound a bit compressed. Track 7 is titled "unknown title" but is just a "Survival of the Fittest" jam that features a bass solo and as well as an outrageous guitar solo from resident madman, Ted Nugent. Decent packaging as well with a full color insert and CD. While the cover design isn't great, the inside cover features the tiger from the "Call of the Wild" album. (Thanks Morgan)
Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes - The Ultimate Collection (Dunhill) 1987
to the Center of the Mind" (3:33)
Hmmm, an ultimate Amboy Dukes collection that doesn't include "Great White Buffalo" or "Hibernation". Not one song off "Tooth Fang and Claw" or "Call of the Wild". What this should have been called was the "Best of the Early Years" or something more appropriate like that. The front cover photo is a bit misleading as well as it pictures Ted in his Gonzo mid-70's years. But alas it's not the pictures on the cover we care about, but the music contained therein. "The Ultimate Collection" is a good compilation of the band's 60's material. My favorite tracks are "Baby Please Don't Go", "Loaded for Bear" and "Dr Slingshot."
Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes - Loaded for Bear (Epic/Legacy) 1999
to the Center of the Mind" (3:35)
Now this should have been the first cd of a THREE cd set in the Ted Nugent "Out of Control" box set. Anyhow,"Loaded for Bear" is an excellent compilation of the formative years of the Amboy Dukes circa 1967-1968. Of course the two most well known songs are tracks one and two. "Journey to the Center of the Mind" is a drug anthem. The outspoken, anti-substance abuse Ted Nugent, however, still swears to this day he didn't know that this was a pro-drug song at the time. He even reiterates this thought in the liner notes of this disc. (I believe him. Why would he lie?) Anyhow, the entire disc is a trip. Imagine the guitar slinging maniac, Ted Nugent playing lead through an Iron Butterfly album and you get a picture of what most of this material is like. It's almost like Ted was trapped in a 60's band and was trying to break free. "Psalms of Aftermath" seriously sounds like a Yardbirds song. My favorite tracks are the aformentioned anthem "Journey to the Center of the Mind, "Baby Please Don't Go," "Dr. Slingshot," "You Talk Sunshine, I Breathe Fire," and the epic length songs "Prodigal Man" and "Migration." "Why Is a Carrot More Orange Than a Orange" is without a doubt one of my favorite song titles of all time right up there with Pink Floyd's "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict." Groovy man!!! This compilation also includes an excellent booklet with an insightful essay on this era of Ted's career by journalist Gary Graff and includes many quotes by Ted himself.
Ted Nugent - Night Time (K Point Records)
Not a bad collection of early Amboy Dukes classics. I only wish that they would have included a few more gems from "Tooth Fang & Claw." The packaging for this compilation is quite unique. The front and back inserts are printed on clear plastic that slide into the jewel case so that you can see the cd inside. The cd itself is pressed on a gold disc. Very cool indeed.