The Duke and the King: Long Live the Duke and the King | CD review

(Silva Oak)

Only a year after their acclaimed debut, Simone Felice's post-Felice Brothers band's follow-up is undeniably lovely. Songs about drummer boys and girls with daisies in their hair are lavished with old folk and soul, although sometimes the gooeyness needs more bite, Shaky's pops at US foreign policy: "Baghdad she's a mean old town/ I get the feeling she don't want me around." No Easy Way Out varies the mood with a terrific female-sung country rocker, but elsewhere the succession of vocalists repeating each other's lines with added wailing becomes grating.

Recorded in the band's Bearsville woodland shack with a band featuring ex-George Clinton musicians and an ex-Zeppelin/Dylan mastering man, the pedigree is certainly authentic but some of the songs seem to reshuffle familiar old cliches. Shine on You crosses Dylan's Knockin' on Heaven's Door with Lionel Richie's Say, You, Say Me while Children of the Sun all but copies Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man, suggesting that TDATK's second effort has come too soon.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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