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  • Duke
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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 March 2009
What amazing music these guys produced.Can't get enough of it.My CD player only thinks Genesis exists.It may be an old CD but I play it endlessly as it is so good.They may not have released much lately,apart from remixes, but who cares with stuff this fine?
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Like And Then There Were Three, this is one of the Genesis albums that takes me back to my teenage years. I remember when Genesis came to my town to perform when it was promoting the album and to my immense regret, I did not go to see them. I was not a particular fan at the time.

When I read about Genesis, most fans seem to discount anything after Wind and Wuthering feeling that the group somehow sold out its original prog rock audience, especially after it lost Steve Hackett. I have been listening to each Genesis album in turn trying to track how the group's sound changed and it has been interesting to see what sounds and styles were jettisoned and which ones were incorporated with each successive album. The thing I have found so far is that some f the work prior to this album is better than others and I have not found the later albums any worse or better than the predecessors.

Which brings me back to Duke. I had not realised that this album had a story to it, concerning a character called Albert. It is not particularly explicit. The things I note listening to it are that the band's sound is so tight and professional, Michael Rutherford's lead guitar playing is far more assured and created than it was on And Then There Were Three and that the group was making use of contemporary 80s styles:in particular, the 'New Romantic' sounds in Man of our Times and the Punk/New Wave guitar opening of Turn it on Again.

I really enjoyed Misunderstanding and Please Don't Ask, two songs in which Phil Collins' songwriting came to the fore. I update my review slightly here and say that Please Don't Ask is a pretty heartrending song which expresses so much hurt and at the same time love and dignity in the face of what was a painful marriage break up for Phil Collins. I have listened to that one song numerous times and have been touched by the sentiments of the song but also wowed by the gorgeous sounds created by the band - especially the vocal harmonies. The instrumental tracks Duke's Travels and Duke's End which conclude the album are also pretty fine.

For me that has been a really enjoyable listen and one of my favourite albums by Genesis.
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on 24 April 2014
Lots of heavy 'brickwall' compression and huge amounts of treble were added to these remastered/remixed versions. OK if you like that but its a lot harsher than the original version and at times VERY harsh and difficult to listen to. the album is still enjoyable though.
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on 28 July 2004
Recorded in Sweden in the wake of the collapse of lead singer and drummer Phil Collins' first marriage, "Duke" was more of a transitional album than the first 3-man outlet, "...And Then There Were Three".
Loud drums from Collins and strong keyboards from Tony Banks and the fine guitars of Mike Rutherford give this album a strong edge over its predecessor, it also showcased the first songs written by Collins alone, along with more collaborations between the group that led to a strong recording.
Starting off with the ever intriguing trio of intertwined group-written pieces "Behind The Lines", "Duchess" and Banks' "Guide Vocal", the middle track having a drum machine playing for the first ever time on an album used to great effect. "Man Of Our Times" follows this; a Rutherford-composed track that I feel is one that grows on you over time. "Misunderstanding" is the first of the two Collins-composed tracks, and (like the other) was of course influenced by the break-up of his marriage. Surprisingly this is a decent enough track. "Heathaze" follows, a melodic Banks-written piano-based piece about a person who finds change difficult.
"Turn It On Again" is a band-written piece in the strange time signature of 13/8, and spawned a great UK chart hit. Rutherford's "Alone Tonight" is possibly the album's weakest link, because despite the great use of 12-string guitars, it fails to captivate the listener. "Cul-de-Sac", another Banks-composed tune, making minimal use of Rutherford's guitar as per usual, but where it is used, it is used to great effect. Collins' other song, "Please Don't Ask" is a downbeat, but effective, affair. Finally, we come to the epic instrumental "Duke's Travels", a band-written affair that sounds very much like you're travelling through different parts of the world, with a great use of the lyrics from "Guide Vocal" towards the end, before the album comes full circle with "Duke's End", reprising the main themes from a couple of tracks from the album to a fantastic climax.
In all, if you only buy one album from Genesis' three-man era, buy "Duke". You really won't regret it.
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on 16 November 2015
Of the entire Genesis catalogue with either Gabriel or Collins this for me is their absolute peak. With the band's members and sound pared back to a three piece the quality of material, style and playing is streamlined, simple and tight in a way that they never were before yet it is not as slick and radio oriented as later albums became allowing for an almost perfect balance of catchy accessibility and progressive playing that unlike the rest of their catalogue has largely not dated. For casual listeners this is the place to start.
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on 18 December 2008
This is a brilliant album by Genesis, easily equalling anything they have created.I have been a fan since their beginning buying everything 'tru the Gabriel and Hackett era's and up to the present.
This album has everything, the superb instrumentals, brilliant vocals by Phil and top class songwriting throughout.
Real highlights for me are the beautiful 'Duchess', the classic 'Turn It On Again' and the superb(if short) 'Guide Vocal'.Sandwiched in the middle of the album is one of Tony Banks best compositions, the gorgeous 'Heathaze'.But be assured there is really not a weak track here.The album ends with the dramatic and musically varied instrumentals 'Dukes Travels' and 'Dukes End'....simply brilliant.These tracks for me hark back to the 'old' days when Genesis were noted for their superb instrumental pieces.Originally released in 1980 this is really one to savour.Yes I know the 'diehard' fans will sing the praises of 'Trick Of The Tail' and 'Wind And Wuthering'.These are albums which I also love but 'Duke' also has it all and is easily comparable to their best work.For me it represents a point in their journey where they were continueing to evolve and they were starting to create a somewhat different sound.Some people would say they were becoming more commercial(in itself perhaps not a hugely bad thing),but I think they were just changing.Lets face it....who wants to listen to albums that always sound very similar.Highly recommended!!!
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on 8 July 2016
This album musically straddles the early progressive style to some extent with a more accessible style of music that the now three man Genesis were moving towards. There is a mixture of longish instrumental sections and self contained pop songs. despite being a firm fan of the early Genesis Gabriel era I found myself enjoying this album. It sounds bright, fresh and and a loosening up of the intensity of the earlier stuff.. It also finally put Genesis on the map. This is the beginning of them becoming a super-group. If you're up for Genesis moving on give it a try you may well be pleasantly supplied. On the other hand if you're one of the band of later Genesis fans in their pop era this is where the pop started to show itself.
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on 18 February 2015
Have to say for me this is one of the best genesis albums of all.Loved the intro of Behind the lines-Duchess-guide vocal.Those 3 tracks are what I consider the best opening tracks I ever heard on any album.Man of our times is my favourite track on the album.Yes it does have a couple of album fillers but realisticly there isn't a bad track on the album.And it still holds up well today.This CD gets a right pasting when I,m travelling into town from the country.Full volume and off I go.
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on 21 May 2013
This was the album that first got me into genesis, and came to me in a slightly strange way. Back then in 1980 the sony walkman had just launched and was as revolutionary then as ... well, with so many new gadgets coming out every 5 minutes now, it's hard to compare - but say the mobile phone 20 years later. MY sisters boyfriend had one and told me to listen, just hear how amazing it was (and it was!), and Duke was the cassette playing. I had never heard anything so powerful or compelling before, and within a year or two I had gradually bought every single genesis album and seen them perform Duke/Abacab several times, then later do the one time reunion with Peter Gabriel.

But back to the point - Duke. I still think this is an amazing 'concept' album. For sure there are one or two tracks that don't entirely fit into the 'play' but there is an overall sense of journey, a coherence, to the album that stands the test of time. But more than that, it's an example of three musicians in particular at their very prime, which was even more evident live. Fantastic writing, fantastic musicianship, a standard they never quite equalled again in my opinion.
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on 5 June 2015
I had the LP of this which, over the years, has become slightly scratched with constant use. I bought the CD and it is just as brilliant as the LP ever was, only more so, as the sound is crystal clear. Highly recommended.
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