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White Knuckle Ride

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Album Review

Synthetic drums and keyboards epitomized the '80s and neutered hard rock. Hard-touring party band Duke Jupiter were one of the many casualties. White Knuckle Ride remains the quartet's biggest seller, though the platter didn't even crack the Billboard 100 (number 122). The best bet is just to settle in and mellow out to the polarization of shimmering keys set against Allman-roasted roughshod vocals, and then bask in the inconsistency. But sometimes the songwriting doesn't help the situation either. Opener "She's So Hot" kicks out the classic "fire" and "desire" cliché couplet right off the bat. "Rescue Me" (not a remake) is a decent disposable duet/duel among Duke's vox men (and the leadoff single), but "Top of the Bay" cools things down so much that the dull thud of "Backfire" seems forced (the talk box almost saves it). Radio cruiser "Little Lady" remains a pleasure, and actually lives up to the album title, but an AOR fog sets in again on side two, though "Me and Michelle" cuts through. Closer "Little Black Book" contains some chest-thumping working-class pop under the trite trappings of the period. White Knuckle Ride can grow on you, but never got the chance. Duke Jupiter appeared on MTV and Solid Gold, yet the Rochester boys could not break from the pack and called it quits after the next record (which tanked despite the presence of professional song dude Bob Halligan). Fortunately, the melodic rock elite still cherish the memory of Duke Jupiter. ~ Whitney Z. Gomes, Rovi


Formed: Rochester, NY

Genre: American Trad Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Upstate New York rockers Duke Jupiter emerged in the late '70s, whose original lineup was comprised of members Marshall Styler (singer, keyboards), Greg Walker (singer, guitar), George Barajas (bass, vocals), Earl Jetty (drums), and Don Maracle (guitar). The band was signed to Mercury shortly thereafter, issuing a total of three albums for the label: their 1978 debut Sweet Cheeks (around which time Jetty was replaced by Dave Hanlon), 1979's Taste the Night, and 1980's Band in Blue. But the group...
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