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Steve Farmer Journey To The Dark Side Of The Mind

By David Lee Wilson, Contributor
Tuesday, March 12, 2002 @ 6:44 PM


(Saint Thomas Records)

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Certified Detroit legend Steve Farmer revisits his Amboy Dukes days with some new compositions that each hint at that tripidelic-era when he along with Ted Nugent and the rest of the Dukes would hold audiences spellbound with their early impressions of psychedelia.

We all know what Nugent went on to but I would have been hard pressed to even guess as to what Farmer was doing these days and it wasn’t until this dropped through the slot that I got a hint. Seems as though for all the journeying the man has done he has kept the sound of his music close to home. Three or four chords spinning around trance inducing blasts of lead guitar and organ with lyrics that get you to head scratching until you realize that the meaning doesn’t matter as much as the feel. And what about that “feel?” Well, there is lots of it and it is all good.

The first track, “Journey to the Dark side of the Mind,” is obviously an updating of the Amboy Dukes classic, “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” and just for fun I put the two back to back on a tape and let them loop for a while and I swear I had an acid flashback! Farmer not only still has it, but can also work it in new and interesting ways, must be the three decades of woodsheding he has done. Great track to maintain a buzz – sorry, Ted.

“Detroit after Dark” probably won’t mean much to out-of-towners but with all the name checks given a few thousand memories will still come flowing back to anyone who could tell you who the SRC were or what “The Grande” was. The guitar solo in the middle could melt your tweeter so be careful!

My favorite track is not credited, (track 13), and has no vocal so I don’t know if this is even Farmer at all but it is incredible. The basic duet of piano and drums could be the opening for a thousand prog-rock records and doesn’t really fit with all the rest but I do like it a lot!

Though this is a Farmer solo recording its brilliance has more than just Farmer to credit for its existence. Also appearing are fellow Motor City biggies Johnny “Bee” (The Detroit Wheels, Alice Cooper, The Rockets etc.) and Rick Lorber, another original Amboy Duke.

The innards of the packaging has a mass of photos from the ‘60s, including some of Ted in his pre-Motor City Madman phase and a neat one of The Who. There is also original art from Gary Grimshaw, which kind of pulls the whole thing together for time trippers such as myself. As a bonus there is an insert with still more photos and a full interview with Farmer and Rick Lorbe, which makes for interesting reading. In all this Journey… is well worth taking even for those who may have missed out on the earlier wanderings of Farmer and co.

****


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