Monday, May 25, 2009

The Amboy Dukes - Journey to the Center of the Mind - `69 - Mainstream records - Mono

Ted Nugent named his band after an R & B outfit that had recently disbanded, saying "I thought it was a cool name". He was unaware that 'The Amboy Dukes' was also the title of a book about a 1950's street gang from Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Ted has also claimed to be unaware that the lyrics to 'Journey...' had stong allusions to psychedelic drug use, as does the collection of vintage pipes on the album's cover. I regard Nugent as being especially astute, and as a young man probably realized that using acid-tinged imagery would further the chances of success for a psychedelic rock band. For most of his associates however, being in a psychedelic rock band must have implied psychedelic drug use, and this resulted in significant conflicts between the anti-drug Nugent and the remaining Dukes.

If you're still reading, you're probably wondering about the album itself. There aren't a whole lot of highlights, save the title track, which features one of the finest electric guitar performances of the psychedelic era, matched by some of the finest psychedelic lyrics ever penned, matched by one of the heaviest bridge segments ever committed to vinyl, tape, or digital stock. Only three other songs really deserve mention, track number 5 (which closed out side one of the original vinyl release), 'Dr. Slingshot', which features overlapping vocal lines from lead singer John Drake and rhythm guitarist Steve Farmer (who, together with Nugent, penned all the songs on the disc), and a great lead guitar riff from Nugent. Unfortunately, Nugent's talent on the six-string are only occasionally put on display, such as on track 12, 'I'll Prove I'm Right', where his fine picking underlies another strong vocal performance from Drake. The band relies much more on the psychedelic imagery of its lyrics rather than Nugent's axe, a highly questionable choice given the quality of the lyrics (on 'Why Is a Carrot More Orange Than an Orange', for instance, we are offered other deep questions such as, "Why are you greener than green?"; go figure). If it's of interest, the tracks on the second side of the disc segue into one another, and while the liner notes claim they collectively tell "a story", the plot is hard to discern. The final track, 'Conclusion', does reintroduce the 'Journey...' melody, and for a few moments brings back Nugent's sterling guitar lines, but it's a case of too little too late. There is a bonus track offered on the Repertoire versions of the disc, the 7" follow up to 'Journey...', a shameless ripoff of its predecessor titled 'You Talk Sunshine, I Breathe Fire'. Despite its obvious origins, it stands as perhaps the fourth best track offered here.

The liner notes are rather sparse, although the reproduction of the original 1968 back album cover is interesting as it gives nods to "Felix and Eddie of the Young Rascals" and "The Mothers of Invention" for their influence over the Dukes. No lyrics and no running times for the songs are offered, though the track listings appear three times. The disc is in short supply, so you won't be finding it in bargain bins. It commands a rather steep price, especially considering that it really contains only one standout song. Too bad it's one of the finest from 1968.

The Amboy Dukes - Journey to the Center of the Mind - `69 - Mainstream records - Mono - MP3 @ 320 kbps - w/ high rez cover scans

1 Mississippi Murderer
2 Surrender to Your Kinks
3 Flight of the Byrd
4 Scottish Tea
5 Dr. Slingshot

one track :

6 Journey to the Center of the Mind
7 Ivory Castles
8 Why Is a Carrot More Orange Than an Orange
9 Missionary Mary
10 Death Is Life
11 Saint Philip's Friend
12 I'll Prove I'm Right
13 Conclusion



Anonymous said...

thanx, this sounds interesting (i havent't heard the title track for a long time but remember i liked it a lot). best wishes, ubique

Anonymous said...

Thankx for this in "glorious" mono version.


Joan said...

A classic!!! Keep on rockin'. Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...



Psych-Out said...

Nice! Already have this one, but any more rare Monos in the pipeline?

signals3_t5 said...

this nice idea of "The Amboy Dukes" so thanks for this...

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Tony said...

thanks aka...been looking for a digital copy of this!

Anonymous said...

Who wrote this review? It's so wrong, among other things the year. It does say 68 in the review, but why is 69 at the top? Ted Nugent, astute? The Amboy Dukes were a great band and this is a prime album from them, but I'm sorry Ted Nugent is an idiot. Mississippi Murderer, Scottish Tea, Missionary Mary are all great tracks for different reasons. Oh and I can't forget Surrender To Your Kings, Drake never got more in your face vocalwise than he did here, and that walking guitar and bassline is sheer brilliance.

DJInnaSoul said...

thanks man

Anonymous said...

Hi from Cy
It's been a while but thanks for this. I am in process of filling in gaps from 'The Acid Trip' listings and this has placed another little piece in the puzzle.
Hope you are well and posting some more soon.
Cy from Pck.

sean said...

One of the first and only times I ever experienced "psychedelic rock" as it was intended was after taking a tab and sitting in a room with some people while a "classic rock" station played in the background. Nothing "special" about the music (Bob Seger, Skynyrd, whatever it was) until Ted Nugent's riff from the title track of this album melted my mind. You may not like it Ted, but you were a "drug" guitarist.

And yes, your political opinions suck. You should take Zappa's advice and "shut up and play yer guitar">

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with this review. No, this album isn't on the level of Sgt. Pepper's or The Who Sell Out, and there's really only one track that's a classic. But it somehow works as a whole and I really enjoy listening to it, and I'm not even a Nugent or Amboy Dukes fan in particular. "Journey" is one of those albums that has "flow", to borrow a hip-hop term. One track moves to the other perfectly, for the duration of the whole album. So I think that with "Journey", the Dukes succeeded 100% at what they were striving for.

akashaman said...

turn it up !



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