I featured Wilmer & The Dukes on an earlier post on NY Soul.
I have now picked up a CD from Forevermore Records which collects together all the sides Wilmer & The Dukes released on Aphrodisiac Records including their album.
Apprently, Wilmer & The Dukes achieved legendary status back in the day in NY State. Wilmer Alexander Jr. & the Dukes were the premier R&B/Soul party band of the Upstate NY region during the late 1960s to early 70s. They only released one album and a couple of singles on the Buffalo NY-based Aphrodisiac label.
The Cd has 12 cuts and the best is Give Me One More Chance which is a powerhouse song from the opening organ chord courtesy of Gap Mangione with the Dukes' pulsating rhythm to follow. Wilmer has a very strong voice and comes on like Otis Redding with his opening line, "FA-FA-FA-FA...AH!" The song bursts out with a horn section led by music legend Chuck Mangione. The single peaked at #80 on Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Chart and helped the band land a TV appearance on "Upbeat!"
Sadly, the group faced an early demise due to Wilmer becoming ill, which forced him to leave New York State for recovery in Florida. The Dukes reunited a few years ago and still perform to this day.
There are two clips on You Tube spotlighting the song. One clip has photos of Wilmer & company from 60's/70'sback in the day and was compiled in part by Forevermore Records, who own the band's masters:
The CD consists of a mixture of original and covers and has some hard hitting instumentals including "Get It!" which would have given the Mar-Keys a run for the money. Their album was cut at Olmstead Studios in NYC ("Give Me One More Chance", "Gettin'" and "Get It" were recorded in Upstate NY).
The album is good although the feel was subdued in comparison to the three tunes mentioned. They also cut a version of J.J. Jackson's "But It's Alright" which is pretty good. Wilmer's second single was their version of the Stones' "I'm Free", which was released with a picture sleeve featured on my previous post. My favouriteoff the album is another cover version but Wilmer does Billy Stewart's I Do Love You proud.
All in all - a good CD from a group I knew littel about until I picked up theri 45s off Ebay.