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Duke, The: My Kung Fu Is Good

Sometimes, you just gotta wonder what goes through an artist's head when he or she adopts a stage name, titles an album and approves cover art. We may never know what possessed Stuck Mojo and Fozzy guitarist Rich Ward (who also goes by the name "The Duke," after a critic gave him that title) to slap the dirty-sounding phrase "My Kung Fu Is Good" across the front of his debut solo album, right below a less-than-flattering black-and-white photograph of him with braided ponytails and wearing a cowboy hat and shades.

But if you don't judge this CD by its cover, you'll discover an album of 10 tracks that bear practically no resemblance to Ward's other bands - especially the reggae, rap and rock fusion of Stuck Mojo. Although Ward's jagged guitar sound is evident throughout My Kung Fu Is Good, his dusty voice is equally as potent. The female vocal that dances in and out of some songs, though, distracts more than it enhances.

Ward has taken accessible, soulful and radio-ready melodies and twisted them around a few raps, a few brutal riffs and a few tolerable modern-rock clichés - emerging with a celebration of sound that (with just a few exceptions) is kung-fu good. The best songs? The startling opener "I Give To You," a piano and riff rocker called "Show You the Way" and closing track "This Moment," which erupts into a retro-rock spectacle by the time of its na-na-na-laced conclusion. This is an admirable effort that goes (way) against type and could actually gain Ward some new fans who might find Fozzy and Stuck Mojo too heavy and/or obnoxious. Nice work, dude … I mean, Duke.


Track Listing:
1) I Give To You
2) Immune
3) Used to Be
4) Summer
5) Suicide Machine
6) Running
7) Show You the Way
8) Breathe
9) Back to You
10) At This Moment

Added: June 1st 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score:
Related Link: The Duke's Official Web Site
Hits: 2531
Language: english

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Duke, The: My Kung Fu Is Good
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-06-01 20:51:05
My Score:

Rich Ward, guitarist for Stuck Mojo and Fozzy, dons the moniker "The Duke" for the spirited My Kung Fu is Good, a very accessible hard rock/pop record is somewhat of a solo album, yet also serves as a way to introduce Ward's new band to the world. Joining him is drummer Frank Fontsere, bassist Sean Delson, guitarist Mike Martin, and keyboard player Eric Frampton, and the players help Ward shape his catchy songs into charming and accessible hard rock tunes. Ward proves to have a very good voice, and the music rocks hard at times, but not overly so, at times sounding like Tantric or Seether, and some of the piano-led ballads have a nice melodic tone to them that scream for radio airplay, like the catchy "Suicide Machine". While by no means is this a guitar album, there's plenty of tasty licks and shimmering chords to go around. Yes, his kung fu is very good indeed, so pop this bad boy in your car CD's player, roll down the windows, head out on the highway, and let a song like "Back to You" help you enjoy the summer weather. A fun debut Duke, keep up the good work!



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