The Amboy Dukes were Ted Nugent’s first band (or one of). They came from the same Detroit scene as SRC, The Stooges, Mitch Ryder, Bob Seger, The Frost, The Rationals, MC5 and so forth. They began playing the clubs and ballrooms of Detroit in the mid 1960′s. In 1967 they released their self-titled debut. It was a legendary mix of psychedelia, blues, garage rock, and folk.
The album/music above is also a far cry from Ted Nugent’s mid to late 70′s prime cock rock anthems. At the time, Nugent was content playing his guitar in a rock n roll band. The reality shows, money, politics, redneck concerns and overproduced rock to come had not yet inflated his ego.
The five and a half minute version of Baby Please Don’t Go is an absolute acid garage classic with some fantastic feedback and great guitar sustain. Nugent creates some serious guitar noise on this number and shows off his brilliant chops.
The album closes with another garage classic, Gimme Love. This song has some laser fuzz guitar riffs and angry Mike Drake vocals. In between these two garage monsters are many other great compositions. There are a few covers, two work really well (the splendidly bluesy Let’s Go Get Stoned and the gritty Who cover It’s Not True) while the Cream song I Feel Free is ill-advised (it’s the album’s only weak spot). The Amboy Dukes hit real hard with Colors, a furious acid rock song with some sinister soloing.
Other psych songs like The Lovely Lady are excellent, recalling the Velvet Underground at their trippiest with spiraling guitar pyrotechnics. Phillip’s Escalator is very Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd with brit vocals, clanging chords and first class guitar scrape. It’s a true classic on this exceptional outing. Night Time and Young Love show the band effectively sticking to their garage band roots.
The Amboy Dukes would go on to release two or three other great albums throughout the late 60′s and early 70′s. None of them have that vintage, exciting 66/67 sound like this debut. The guitar freakouts, Who-like energy and great songs make this debut a prime slice of early Detroit rock.
1. Baby, Please Don't Go (Big Joe Williams) - 5:29
2. I Feel Free (Jack Bruce, Pete Brown) - 3:45
3. Young Love (Ted Nugent, Steve Farmer) - 2:49
4. Psalms Of Aftermath (Nugent, Farmer) - 3:24
5. Colors (Nugent, Farmer, Rick Lober, Bill White) - 3:27
6. Let's Go Get Stoned (Valerie Simpson, Nick Ashford, Jo Armstead) - 4:29
7. Down On Philips Escalator (Nugent, Farmer) - 3:05
8. The Lovely Lady (Farmer) - 3:03
9. Night Time (Nugent, Farmer) - 3:16
10.It's Not True (Pete Townshend) - 2:44
11.Gimme Love (Nugent, Farmer) - 2:51
12.J.B. Special (Nugent, Farmer) - 2:23
The Amboy Dukes
*John Drake – Vocals
*Ted Nugent – Guitar
*Steve Farmer – Guitar
*Rick Lober – Piano, Organ
*Dave Palmer – Drums
*Bill White – Bass