Amboy Dukes
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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(Translated by Ornella C. Grannis)

The Amboy Dukes were formed in Chicago by guitar prodigy Ted Nugent, a native of Detroit and already the former leader of two bands, the first begun when he was only twelve. The band rode the psychedelic wave, but it stood out for the maniacal riffs of the leader's guitar. Their historic anthem, a version of Baby Please Don' t Go, from The Amboy Dukes (1967), is a passionate blues screamed against a wall of unrelenting rhythm and guitar dissonance, played at supersonic speed. Feedback, distortion and electronic sound effects are also the main ingredients of Journey To The Center Of The Mind and Dr. Slingshot, on the second album, Journey To The Center Of The Mind (1968). In the earlier albums, including Migration (1970), Nugent's destructive emphasis is restrained by Steve Farmer's composing talent, managing to release its full fury on very few occasions, namely in the instrumental Migration and in Prodigal Man.

With Marriage Of The Rocks (1970) Nugent prevails as the absolute boss of the group, directing the production towards the eclectic suite, such as The Inexhaustible Quest For The Cosmic Cabbage, a surf parody + Bartok's second quartet + atonal jazz + heavy strumming by Nugent, in accordance with a progressive rock that is is rowdy, long winded, exhibitionist and violently stirred. In 1971 they recorded a twenty minute pyrotechnical live version of Prodigal Man on Survival Of The Fittest, perhaps their masterpiece.

A new lineup produced the album Call Of The Wild (1974), featuring wild hard rock instrumentals, notably Renegade.

In the 1975 Nugent began a prolific solo career. The monster guitarist archetype, the champion of Hendrix's orphaned style, situated at the crossroad between psychedelic rock and heavy metal, Nugent continued the excesses of the Amboy Dukes' last albums, in the same epic but much too rambling style. Stranglehold (1975), remains perhaps his best effort, followed by Turn It Up (1976) and Cat Scratch Fever (1977). Fame reached him through his excessive histrionics, that led him to boast about his wild hunger for sex and violence, and compelled him to engage in stage duels with colleagues of the caliber of Wayne Kramer and Frank Marino, as documented in Double Live Gonzo (1978).

Gli Amboy Dukes vennero formati nel 1965 a Chicago dal chitarrista prodigio Ted Nugent, originario di Detroit e gia` titolare di due complessi (il primo formato a soli dodici anni). Il complesso si affermo` nel mezzo dell'ondata psichedelica, ma si differenziava per gli sproloqui maniacali alla chitarra del leader. Il loro anthem storico, una versione di Baby Please Don't Go (1967), e` un blues passionale strillato su un muro di ritmo implacabile e di dissonanze chitarristiche a velocita` supersoniche. Feedback, distorsioni ed effetti elettronici sono anche gli ingredienti di Journey To The Center Of The Mind e Dr. Slingshot, sul secondo omonimo album, Journey To The Center Of The Mind (1968). Ma nei primi album l' enfasi distruttiva di Nugent e` frenata dal talento compositivo di Steve Farmer, e riesce a sfogarsi soltanto in poche occasioni (nell' eponimo strumentale e in "Prodigal man" su Migration, 1970).

Con Marriage Of The Rocks (1970) Nugent resta padrone assoluto del gruppo e orienta la produzione verso suite eclettiche come The Inexaustible Quest For The Cosmic Cabbage (parodia surf + secondo quartetto di Bartok + jazz atonale + le sciabolate heavy di Nugent), all'insegna di un progressive-rock esibizionista, esagitato, chiassoso e logorroide. Dal vivo nel 1971 (su Survival Of The Fittest) registrano una versione pirotecnica di venti minuti di Prodigal Man che e` forse il loro capolavoro.

La nuova formazione del 1974 (Call Of The Wild) sortira` un albo di selvaggi strumentali hard-rock ("Renegade").

Nel 1975 Nugent avvio` una prolifica carriera solista. Archetipo del chitarrista-monstre, un fuoriclasse di quello stile orfano di Hendrix che si situa all'incrocio fra rock psichedelico e heavy-metal, Nugent continuo` praticamente con gli eccessi degli ultimi album degli Amboy Dukes, uno stile epico ma troppo sconclusionato. Stranglehold (1975), su Ted Nugent (Epic, 1975), rimane forse il suo capolavoro, seguito da Turn It Up (1976), su Free For All (1976), e dalla title-track di Cat Scratch Fever (1977). La fama gli giunse per merito del suo smodato istrionismo, che lo porto` a vantarsi della propria selvaggia fame di sesso e violenza e ad ingaggiare duelli sul palco con colleghi rivali del calibro di Wayne Kramer e Frank Marino (come documentato sul Double Live Gonzo del 1978).


Weekend Warriors (1978), State of Shock (1979), Scream Dream (1980) and Nugent (1982) kept the Nugent legend alive. A ribirth of sorts took place with Penetrator (1984), when Nugent started playing MOR. Little Miss Dangerous (1986), If you Can't Lick 'Em...Lick 'Em (1988), Damn Yankees (1990), Don't Tread (1992), Out of Control (1993), Spirit Of The Wild (Atlantic, 1995), Moter City Madness (1996) were pure routine. Nugent kept playing but, more importantly, he became the icon of a sinister, vulgar, pseudo-fascist pro-gun pro-death-penalty anti-civil-rights anti-liberty ideology that made the "rednecks" of the 1970s look progressive.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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