Journey to the Center of the Mind

Journey to the Center of the Mind

Led by a 20-year-old Ted Nugent, Detroit’s Amboy Dukes reached the peak of their fame with this album. Combining the rock-‘em-sock-‘em energy of fellow Motor City madmen the MC5 with the acid-damaged digressions of the hippie era, the album contains its share of highlights and lowlights. Led by the belligerent bellows of lead singer John Drake and the preternaturally obnoxious guitar of Nugent, “Surrender to Your Kinks” and “Dr. Slingshot” pack enough attitude to transcend the hokey themes. Corny pieces like “Inside the Outside” and “Death Is Life” fall utterly flat, but songs like “Scottish Tea” and “You Talk Sunshine, I Breathe Fire” are so unabashedly ridiculous that one can help but laugh along with these Michigan dunderheads as they do their best to approximate the styles of Swingin’ London. How else could one respond to an album whose cover displays 50 different devices for smoking marijuana? The Amboy Dukes did leave behind one certifiable masterpiece. Featured prominently on Lenny Kaye’s defining Nuggets compilation, the title song remains an exhilarating flight of garage-born psychedelia.

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