NUTRITIOUS PRESENTS DUKE WILLIAMS AND THE EXTREMES.
NUTRITIOUS PRESENTS DUKE WILLIAMS AND THE EXTREMES.
All too often, good music for whatever reason, passes unnoticed. It can be for any number of reasons, from a record company not promoting an album properly, that particular genre of music becoming unpopular, the band splitting up or even the record company becoming insolvent. I’ve come across each of reasons several times. Then years later, someone somewhere in a record company rediscovers that music and falls in love with the music, decides to share it with the world. That’s what happened with a new record company SpinSpinNYC and seventies soul band Duke Williams and The Extremes. Back in the seventies, Duke Williams and The Extremes released two albums, 1973s brilliantly titled Monkey In A Silk Suit Is Still A Monkey and 1974s Fantastic Fedora. Sadly, neither album was the commercial success its music deserved. Then fast forward thirty-eight years to August 2012, when SpinspinNYC rereleased a six track compilation entitled Nutritious Presents Duke Williams and The Extremes. This allows everyone another opportunity to hear this fusion of Philly Soul, Southern Soul and funk. Before I tell you about the music on Nutritious Presents Duke Williams and The Extremes, I’ll tell you about Duke Williams and The Extremes.
Back in the early seventies, Duke Williams and The Extremes signed to Capricorn Records, which was also home to a number of Southern rock bands, including the Allman Brothers Band, Elvin Bishop and The Marshall Tucker Band. Duke Williams and The Extremes, included legendary Philadelphia guitarist T.J. Tindall, who later, played on many of Gamble and Huff’s Philadelphia International Records’ productions as part of M.F.S.B. Then in 1975, after many of M.F.S.B. were involved in a dispute with Gamble and Huff over money, T.J. and many members of M.F.S.B.would head to New York, where he became part off The Salsoul Orchestra. During his spell with The Salsoul Orchestra, T.J. played his part in helping Salsoul become disco’s greatest label. That was still to come, with Duke Williams and The Extremes releasing their debut album in 1973.
In 1973, Duke Williams and The Extremes released their debut album, the brilliantly titled Monkey In A Silk Suit Is Still A Monkey. Although it received favorable reviews, it wasn’t a commercial success. A year later, in 1974, Duke Williams and The Extremes released their sophomore album Brilliant Fedora. Like its predecessor, Fantastic Fedora was released to favorable reviews, but little commercial success. After the failure of their first two albums, Duke Williams and The Extremes continued making music, but didn’t release any further albums for Capricorn Records.
Without a label, Duke Williams and The Extremes continued to tour and then in 1980, lost guitarist Paul Plumeri. Taking over guitar duties was a familiar name..Richie Sambora. Three years down the line, Richie would go on to cofound another group many people might just have heard of…Bon Jovi. Still, Duke Williams and The Extremes continued making music and into the digital age, followed the example of many other groups by releasing their music on Bandcamp. Then a new, ambitious and innovative label decided it was time to reintroduce the world to Duke Williams and The Extremes’ early work. This was SpinSpinNYC.
SpinSpin NYC decided that the perfect artist to launch their new label was Duke Williams and The Extremes. So New York DJ Nutritious decided to give Duke Williams and The Extremes a 21st Century makeover. Three tracks were chosen, Theme From the Bermuda Triangle, I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow and God Bless All The Girls In The World and they were given the “Nutritious Treatment,” that is remixed and given a “contemporary spin.” This was done in a way that Nutritious hoped that the original tracks wouldn’t lose their “raw energy.” The other three tracks on Nutritious Presents Duke Williams and The Extremes are the original tracks. Their inclusion allows you to compare and contrast, by hearing what Nutritious started from, and what he ended up with. These six tracks were then released on August 14th 2012 as SpinSpinNYC first release Nutritious Presents Duke Williams and The Extremes. However, has Nutritious managed to do so? That’s what I’ll tell you, once I’ve told you about the six tracks on Nutritious Presents Duke Williams and The Extremes.
Opening Nutritious Presents Duke Williams and The Extremes is the Theme From the Bermuda Triangle. From the get-go the track is funky with a capital F, as The Extremes rhythm section create a pounding, funky beat. Meanwhile searing lead guitar licks and chiming rhythm guitar combine. Soon, Duke Williams and The Extremes kick loose, with a quite mellow arrangement, where jazz and funk unite. Briefly the drama grows, before the jazz-tinged sound returning. Then from nowhere, synths are unleashed, adding an almost sci-fi sound, before It’s all change again. Keyboards, stabs of horns and lush strings added as Nutritious gives Duke Williams and The Extremes a makeover; one that combines a 21st Century dance-floor friendly sound with Duke Williams and The Extremes’ fusion of funk, jazz and soul. The result is a glorious track, where Duke Williams and The Extremes “raw energy” certainly isn’t sacrificed. Instead, it’s brought up to date, and given a further injection of energy and ideas.
I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow is another of the tracks given a makeover by Nutritious. The sound is brought right up to date, with the marauding drums, loping bass and percussion creating a much more moderne, innovative and dance-floor oriented sound. This is a track guaranteed to fill any dance-floor from New York to New Orleans. When the vocal enters, it’s a throaty, almost sinister drawl. Bursts of rasping horns, keyboards, percussion and those marauding drums all play their part in this atmospheric soundscape. It only takes one play to reveal its brilliance. After that you’re won over by this majestic Magnus Opus that reveals not just the many talents of Duke Williams and The Extremes, but Nutritious, who is responsible for the cutting-edge, innovative sound that quite simply rocks.
God Bless All The Girls In The World sees Duke Williams and The Extremes’ rhythm section drive the arrangement along at breakneck speed. It’s like a journey on a Japanese bullet train, you sit back, hold on and enjoy the ride. Bursts of dramatic guitar riffs sound as if they belong in the next James Bond soundtrack. Then soon, Nutritious gets to work adding delay as harmonies reverberate. You wonder what the next surprise Nutritious has in store. The unmistakable sound of a Hammond organ joins the fray, as the joyous vocal enters. It adds to the track hooky sound, while thunderous drums are perfect for any dance-floor. Seventies soul meets New York house with plenty of pop hooks during this seven minute joyous journey. Does dance music get any better?
The original version of Theme From the Bermuda Triangle opens with that familiar fusion of funk and jazz, before the lushest of strings and piano enter. It’s The Extremes rhythm section that create the pulsating, funky beat while chiming guitars add the jazzy sound. This is a glorious and irresistible combination, that’s full of hooks and surprises. With strings sweeping and swirling, the piano confidently takes charge before a burst of drama from the rhythm section signals all change. They signal the arrival of searing, riffing guitars and just as you’re enjoying their delights they disappear. Later, synths surround you, sounding as if you’ve wandered onto a lost sci-fi soundtrack. Things change again, as this genre-hopping journey continues down a road marked funky. After six majestic minutes the journey is over, having visited the three corners of a triangle where funk, jazz and soul meet.
I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow sees the tempo drop with Duke Williams and The Extremes changing things around. The rhythm section, stabs of keyboards and bursts of horns combine with a throaty, otherworldly vocal. This results in a real fusion of styles. Think Southern Soul combined with funk, a sprinkling of blues and even some Southern rock and you’re getting there. It’s a a really evocative, atmospheric soundscape, one that’s moody and thoughtful. Soon, bursts of growling horns, keyboards, percussion and The Extremes thunderous rhythm section all play their part in creating what is an atmospheric, moody soundscape, that every time you listen to it, reveals further subtleties and nuances.
God Bless All The Girls In The World has a real Southern Soul sound when the unmistakable wailing sound of a Hammond organ combines is augmented by a thoughtful rhythm section. Then when Duke Williams and The Extremes kick loose, it’s like listening to the Rolling Stones if they’d been born in the Southern states rather than London. Indeed, Duke’s vocal is reminiscent of Mick Jagger, albeit Duke’s southern drawl is natural. As they kick loose, Duke Williams and The Extremes prove to be a hugely talented and tight band. Quite simply, they should’ve been a huge success. They combine a delicious fusion of Southern Soul, blues and rock. Duke struts his way through the track, unleashing a gravelly vocal, as searing, riffing guitars, piano, the tightest of rhythm sections and backing vocalists accompany him. Of the three original tracks from Duke Williams and The Extremes, God Bless All The Girls In The World is the best and is a glittering hidden gem of a track.
Nutritious Presents Duke Williams and The Extremes is a fascinating and compelling concept, and as a result, is the perfect album to launch a new label SpinSpinNYC. It allows you to compare the three tracks recorded by Duke Williams and The Extremes four decades ago, with the new tracks created from these tracks by Nutritious. As you compare and contrast each of the three tracks, you realize that Nutritious is a hugely innovative, imaginative remixer who creates something new and cutting-edge from something old. Unlike other remixers, Nutritious brings something new to the track. By remixing the tracks, he gives them a contemporary sound, but not at the expense of the energy. Whereas all too often reedits and increasingly remixers are sterile affairs that offer nothing new, this isn’t the case here. Indeed quite the opposite. Three words describe the track. Innovative, imaginative, energetic. These three tracks are dance-floor friendly, capable of lighting up any dance-floor. Whether it’s New York, New Orleans or Nebraska, Nutritious Presents Duke Williams and The Extremes will light up the dance-floor. Of course these remixes wouldn’t be possible without Duke Williams and The Extremes’ original versions. Listening to the three tracks, I found myself wondering just why Duke Williams and The Extremes were a hugely successful group? They’re a tight, talented and versatile group, capable of fusing musical genres and switching seamlessly between genres, often in the one song. Hopefully, after people have discovered SpinSpinNYC’s recent release of Nutritious Presents and The Extremes people will then rediscover Duke Williams and The Extremes music and journey through their back-catalogue. The best way to start that journey, is by buying Nutritious Presents Duke Williams and The Extremes.
NUTRITIOUS PRESENTS DUKE WILLIAMS AND THE EXTREMES.