When people think of Ted Nugent, they usually think of the forceful, relentlessly energetic heavy metal singer/guitarist who gave us headbanger classics like Cat Scratch Fever and Free for All. But before Nugent was a headbanger, he was a psychedelic/acid rock explorer -- and before he was known for his singing, he was strictly a guitarist. This 1976 LP looks back on material that Nugent embraced in the late 1960s, when he was the lead guitarist for the Amboy Dukes and was focusing on psychedelic rock and acid rock instead of heavy metal. The Motor City Madman doesn't do any lead singing on these recordings; he sticks to lead guitar, and the lead vocals are handled by either John Drake or Rusty Day (who replaced Drake in 1969). Day sings lead on "Good Natured Emma," "Inside the Outside," and "For His Namesake," while Drake's vocals are heard on the rest of the material except Nugent's Celtic-minded instrumental "Scottish Tea." These Amboy Dukes sides are a long way from the manic, in-your-face metal that Nugent favored after going solo in 1974; however, this LP also points to the fact that the Amboy Dukes were among the tougher, grittier psychedelic bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s. While some psychedelic outfits of that time were consistently spacey, the Dukes are rockin' and hard edged on tunes like "Colors" and "Gimme Love." Missing from Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes is "Journey to the Center of the Mind," their best-known single; even so, this LP paints an attractive picture of the band's psychedelic/acid rock explorations of the late 1960s.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson