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The Amboy Dukes were an American rock band from Detroit that was formed in 1964 by guitarist Ted Nugent. The band had one hit song, “Journey to the Center of the Mind”, in 1968 and released four albums under The Amboy Dukes name. As line-up changes frequently occurred and Nugent held on to the reins, the band name changed to Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes, and then to Ted Nugent’s Amboy Dukes before finally becoming simply Ted Nugent as he officially began his solo career.

Ted Nugent grew up in Detroit and began performing at the age of 10. His family moved to Chicago where he formed The Amboy Dukes in 1964. The name came from the title of a novel about gang members and had been the name of a Detroit band that had recently broken up. Nugent liked the name for a band but had never heard of
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Journey to the Center Of The MindJourney to the Center Of The Mind
Extra tracks
Repertoire 2011
$14.98 (used)
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THE AMBOY DUKES albums / top albums

THE AMBOY DUKES The Amboy Dukes album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Amboy Dukes
Proto-Metal 1967
THE AMBOY DUKES Journey to the Center of the Mind album cover 2.92 | 2 ratings
Journey to the Center of the Mind
Proto-Metal 1968
THE AMBOY DUKES Migration album cover 2.42 | 2 ratings
Proto-Metal 1969
THE AMBOY DUKES Marriage on the Rocks - Rock Bottom album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Marriage on the Rocks - Rock Bottom
Proto-Metal 1970
THE AMBOY DUKES Call of the Wild album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Call of the Wild
Hard Rock 1974
THE AMBOY DUKES Tooth Fang & Claw album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Tooth Fang & Claw
Hard Rock 1974


THE AMBOY DUKES live albums

THE AMBOY DUKES Survival of the Fittest album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Survival of the Fittest
Proto-Metal 1971

THE AMBOY DUKES demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

THE AMBOY DUKES re-issues & compilations

THE AMBOY DUKES The Best of the Original Amboy Dukes album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of the Original Amboy Dukes
Proto-Metal 1969
THE AMBOY DUKES Journeys and Migrations album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Journeys and Migrations
Proto-Metal 1973
THE AMBOY DUKES Dr. Slingshot album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dr. Slingshot
Proto-Metal 1974
THE AMBOY DUKES Journeys album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Proto-Metal 1983
THE AMBOY DUKES The Ultimate Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
Proto-Metal 1987
THE AMBOY DUKES Loaded for Bear: The Best of Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Loaded for Bear: The Best of Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes
Proto-Metal 1999

THE AMBOY DUKES singles (0)

THE AMBOY DUKES movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)



Album · 1969 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Amboy Dukes' catalogue is an exploratory route that eventually brought them to the stadium hard rock sound of Ted Nugent's solo career. They formed as a garage rock band with British beat and American blues strongly in the mix. They hit success with the title track of their second album "Journey to the Center of the Mind", scoring a top twenty hit. Shortly after, vocalist John Drake was out of the band and Rusty Day (later vocals for Cactus) took the lead mic.

While the second album had been mostly a heavy psych / pop psych blend, "Migration" sees the band extending their creative psychedelic approach into an almost heavy prog territory at times but still following a psychedelic route. The title track starts the album, an almost space rock, psychedelic instrumental with Nugent's lead guitar at the forefront. "Prodigal Man" is quite a track with a heavy prog approach - rhythm changes, odd time signatures, Nugent blazing around the fretboard, and Day's powerful, gravely vocals. There's an unexpected drum solo thrown in which is thankfully short - appreciable for both skill and length.

"For His Namesake" is more of a psychedelic rock number. A quick pace with harmony vocals, the song is about a boy being moulded to represent the family name at its reputable best. Organ and piano feature strongly but there goes another Nugent solo.

If there's an experimental branch to this album (there most certainly is), "I'm not a Junenile Delinquent" is the farthest reaching twig. A short number, it's done in 50's doo-wop style with the sound even like an old album recording. I'm not sure who does the lead vocals here but it's in falsetto; hard to imagine Rusty Day singing. Maybe it's Steve Farmer (rhythm guitar).

"Good Natured Emma" - one of the songs often to appear on Dukes' compilations, features heavy psych guitar, organ, and a soulful vocal approach. The bridge is a like a segment of a musical with Farmer and Nugent singing "Livin' in the woods", before another early Nugent solo sears through the middle of the song. This song makes me think of "Jesus Christ Superstar" or "Hair".

"Inside the Outside" keeps that musical feel but with an Iron Butterfly sound somewhere close to "Metamorphosis" but with a bit of "Ball" tagged on. The guitar is heavy in certain passages but the song also has soul and funk to it too.

I'm going to guess that Andy Solomon wrote and sang "Shades of Green and Grey" as it is basically a piano number with vocals with bass and percussion accompaniment. Some really scratchy fuzz tone guitar appears partway through for a few bars before the close of the song. Typical song of the times. More interesting is the funky "Curb Your Elephant" with horns. Rusty Day is almost unrecognizable until his trademark howl comes in. Not a track to impress fans of proto-metal but a well-executed piece in the style of post-Purple Glenn Hughes.

The final track of the original album is "Loaded for Bear" which amusingly begins with guitar effects emulating an elephant and features an almost Uriah Heep-styled falsetto vocal intro before abruptly transforming into a jaunty and groovy rocker. Solomon and Nugent trade licks in the instrumental part and the album concludes with guitar effects and party dialogue.

Two bonus tracks, "J.B. Special" and "Sobbin' in My Mug of Beer" are actually from two years prior and feature Drake on vocals. Guitar driven rockers, they bear the classic garage rock sound and certainly stand apart from the rest of the album.

"Migration" is an interesting musical adventure and there's no denying the interest of Ted Nugent's lead guitar work. However, I found some of the songs from the previous album better represented the proto-metal sound. From what I've heard, the next album is even weirder. Perhaps it's also important to mention that the Repertoire reissue calls the band The American Amboy Dukes. As it turned out, there was a British soul group also called The Amboy Dukes. Not exactly a proto-metal main feature but a good album for fans of late-sixties rock and Ted Nugent.

THE AMBOY DUKES Journey to the Center of the Mind

Album · 1968 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
"Journey to the Center of the Mind" was the second album by Detroit garage band The Amboy Dukes. The song writing team of Ted Nugent and Steve Farmer continued to gel, and vocalist John Drake provided his powerful, white soul vocals for the second and last time on a Dukes album. Andy Solomon makes his debut here and would go on to become an important song-writer and even vocalist in the band later on.

The album can be divided into two parts: the heavier and more aggressive guitar-based music of Ted Nugent and the lighter psychedelic pop of Steve Farmer. There's also a single blues number, "Mississippi Murderer", which sounds more like the debut album.

For a proto-metal album, tracks 2 to 6 are solid examples of heavy guitar-based rock with "Surrender to Your Kings" and "Flight of the Byrd" especially delivering urgent and heavy guitar work with good fuzz tone. Vocalist Drake suits the style perfectly, nearly shouting at times and getting in a good scream or two. "Scottish Tea" reminds me of an early ancestor of a Steve Morse instrumental or two, and "Dr. Slingshot", though more cool and groovy, still packs a punch with some solid hitting music.

Side two opens with the title track with music by Nugent and lyrics by Farmer. The only Amboy Dukes single to climb way up the charts, the harmonized vocals are very poppy, but the music has that Nugent stamp of speed and urgency, plus it drops into a cool fuzz tone riff partway through. Up to here, any fan of proto-metal is likely to be well pleased with the sounds of The Amboy Dukes. But now the Journey begins and its more like the good ship LSD Lollipop.

Three-part harmony vocals and strong psychedelic themes (the journey is an acid trip) dominate the rest of side two. If you like The Strawberry Alarm Clock, then this might be a good listen. In one way, it's nice that this part of the album is kept separate from the heavier harder half rather than having the album jump between cotton cloud fluff and heavy driving rock. I wouldn't say it's bad music. It's just that this is meant to be a psychedelic journey and it can't compete with side one or the title track for early metal thrills.

The Amboy Dukes would go on to explore different sounds and styles as Nugent kept the band moving while members came and went. Later the Dukes would become more progressive and experimental and then finally evolve into a hard rock act before Nugent went solo. Side one of this album definitely show early on that Ted Nugent was a force to be reckoned with on the guitar. Five stars for tracks 2 to 6, four stars for track 1, and two or three stars for the remainder.

THE AMBOY DUKES Movies Reviews

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