Duke Special would have made much more sense in 1974. Like some sort of bizarre offspring from an illicit union of Gilbert O'Sullivan and the Temperance Seven, or perhaps Lieutenant Pigeon and Leo Sayer (and just to be on the safe side, I'd be doing paternity checks on Neil Diamond and Alan Price) he mixes quirky vaudeville with love songs so sugary sweet you ask yourself whether it's altogether healthy to like them, and yet you do.
And just when you think you've pinned the blighter down into a sort of neo-Cabaret Bonzo Dog irony, he hits you with the guilty pleasure of the sweepingly middle of the road and stupidly radio friendly "Freewheeling".
But yet somehow it works perfectly. These are not songs that will change your life, but they are warming and affirming and likeable. Every song has some sort of hook that pulls you in, and you emerge wistful or joyous, often with your feet tapping uncontrollably.
I love this album. I will listen to it for weeks, and then leave it for months, returning when I need cheering up. It's that sort of record, a good friend rather than a lifelong partner, but none the worse for that.