THE KING DUKES’ Marc Griffiths talks 5 influential sounds
The King Dukes – “Numb Tongues”, out 26.July.2019 is available for pre-order via Paratone Records.
When The King Dukes started it wasn’t really a band. I had no real intention of forming a band, I had some songs I had written through the years that never made it into bands I had been in because they had a Soul flavour that didn’t fit, and I wanted to record them. Scot (Mckenzie, New Cut Studios) had swapped a guitar with me for some Studio time, and originally the project was just going to be myself and an acoustic guitar. But it morphed into a 7 piece band as we began to work on the songs, bringing more players in to work on tracks. We worked to strict guidelines, using only vintage equipment and techniques for as authentic sound as possible. Eventually, we had a whole album recorded before we had a name!
Dexys Midnight Runners – Searching for the Young Soul Rebels. (LP)
Consistently my favourite album of all time. My first copy of this was a pirated cassette that lasted from about when I was 11 years old through my first two cars before it snapped. I have never been without a copy of this record my entire music listening life. It opened every door into soul music for me, made me look backward to the Northern Soul scene in the UK, made me travel across the Atlantic and find Otis, Aretha, Jackie, James Brown and even today is a benchmark I hold other albums up to. Kevin Rowlands unique voice, uncompromising attitude to the music he wants to make have always shown me that talent and a strong-willed vision are vital to creating good music. I love every track on it equally. It’s a shame that they are really remembered for a novelty party track (Come on Eileen) off the second album rather than the beauty of this debut.
The Mighty Hannibal – Jerkin The Dog/The Right to Love You (7”)
It’s hard to be forgotten when you have never been known! Sometimes when you come across an artist like this you wonder what set of circumstances conspired to keep them from being universally known and admired. When I DJ the 7” of ‘Jerkin the Dog’ is never out of my box. The combination of the groove of the band along with the power of Hannibal’s voice makes people move. They can’t help themselves, its electric! ‘The Right to Love You’ is a stone-cold classic, we do it as a live cover in The King Dukes, but no one will ever come close to the heartache Hannibal puts in this track. I suggest anyone who hasn’t heard him tracks him down immediately.
James Hunter Six – Hold On! (LP)
April, my partner (who incidentally sang backing on the album) saw James Hunter supporting Mavis Staples in Bristol and turned me on to him. James Hunter had been in and around the music industry for way over 20 years (Howlin’ Wilf, Van Morrison) when he signed for Daptone and began to produce the best music of his career. The songwriting is mature and shows that you don’t need to be in your mid-twenties to be a tremendous recording artist. I haven’t heard a bad tune from him.
Terry Callier – Ordinary Joe (7”)
A voice as smooth as golden syrup and an infectious groove are enough to keep this song close to my lips at all times. I even wake up singing it! It takes a band to be super tight and huge amounts of discipline to get into a groove like this and sit there, the track wouldn’t work any other way. Terry Callier had an interesting back story too, he was signed in the sixties to Chess Records but bar a few regional hits didn’t find (limited) success until the 1970s with his own brand of Soul Jazz. He then gave music up to raise his daughter and didn’t return until she had left school. He taught at the University of Chicago, keeping his musical career a secret from his colleagues until he was awarded a United Nations award for music and art contributing to World Peace. He subsequently went on to work with Paul Weller and Beth Orton before he, unfortunately, died in 2012. There will always be a Terry Callier shaped hole in my heart.
Cliff Nobles and Co. – The Horse (7”)
A short-lived dance craze in the 1970s gave birth to one of Northern Souls most enduring instrumentals. A three-piece horn section blasting out a riff as catchy as any you will hear. It won’t ever leave your head once it’s there! It’s the best theme tune that isn’t a theme tune ever written. There is an instructional video in the darkest corner of the internet of an American lady dressed in a leotard complete with Horses tail teaching you how to dance to this tune. I was shown it by my good friend Rob Heron (and the Tea Pad Orchestra) and it’s scarred me for life!
“Comin’ Down” – Jackie Shane
“I Can’t Wait (until I see my baby’s face)” – Baby Washington
“I Can’t Please You” – Jimmy Robins
“Burnt Toast and Black Coffee” – Mike Pedicin
“The First Cut Is The Deepest” – PP Arnold
THE KING DUKES “Numb Tongues” (LP) Preview
The King Dukes release their first Single ‘I Gotta Go’ on all Platforms 26th July. The LP ‘Numb Tongues’ is released on QSounds/Paratone Records this autumn.
Marc Griffiths – Mandrake Fantastico – Dan Clibery – Henry Slim
April Jackson – Sarah Jade – Guy Fowler – Andy Lowe – Joss Murray – Rebecca Sneddon – Sarah Loveday-Drury