In 1984, four young, local musicians got together and began playing old blues songs in a rambling three-story house in Philadelphia. They decided to take the act on the road as The Dukes of Destiny, a name they got from a matchbook cover urging the reader to “Be the Captain of Your Own Destiny.” At first, The Dukes of Destiny played house parties in Germantown, generating interest by word of mouth. A gig at the now-defunct Taker’s Café in Germantown launched their public career, and 27 years later, they are still playing some of the hottest, most danceable blues and R ‘n B in the Philadelphia area. They have released four self-produced CD's, including their most recent one, "Higher" which was released in December, 2012, and all four have gathered critical raves. The Dukes of Destiny reign as Philadelphia’s longest-lived, best loved blues and Americana act.
There have been changes in the act: guitarists left, the sax player moved to Texas, and sadly, singer Steve Brown died in March of 2000. But the core of the band has remained together for 27 years, resulting in a band with a unique tightness and an original approach to the music.
Harmonica player and singer John Colgan-Davis has played in the Philadelphia area for more than 30 years, playing and touring with such notables as Bonnie Raitt, Tennessee bluesman Sparky Rucker, the John Cadillac Band, and the legendary guitarist Mississippi Fred McDowell.
Drummer Bob Holden has played with Zydeco- a-Go-Go, Terry Evans, Quincy, Louisiana Read and many more.
Guitarist Stephen Solotist played with the beloved Philadelphia band Slant 6.and the Galvanizers.
Keyboardist/vocalist “Chicago” Carl Snyder has played with and been musical director for many of Chicago’s best, including Buddy Guy, Jr. Wells and Son Seals.
Bassist Rich Curtis has led his own jazz groups and has played with guitarist Jim Dragoni, percussionist Doc Gibbs, and saxman Bayard Lancaster.
Saxophonist CC Crabtree has done studio work and been a sidemen with various rhythm and blues musicians including Zydeco a Go-Go, Philly Gumbo,and Ben Vaughn
Most recently, The Dukes of Destiny have been joined by the talented and sassy vocalist Miss Arlyn Wolters from New York City. A veteran of jazz and gospel choirs, including Patti LaBelle’s choir on NBC’s Clash of the Choirs, she brings passion and fire to the stage.
Together, the members of this band represent more than 150 years of professional music experience, and it shows each time they take the stage. For great blues and soul and a wonderful show, it is the Dukes of Destiny for sure.
Over the years the Dukes have performed at number of festivals and concert series:
FESTIVALS and CONCERT SERIES:
The Pocono Blues Festival
The Yo Philadelphia Festival and Waterfront Jam at Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing
Philadelphia Blues Machine Concert Specials; Philadelphia , PA
The Central Pennsylvania Arts Festival; State College , PA ,
The State Street Blues Stroll; Media , PA ,
The Chestnut Hill Garden Festival and Fall for the Arts; Philadelphia , PA
Pastorius Park Concert Series; Philadelphia , PA
The New Jersey Folk Festival; Rutgers College , New Brunswick , New Jersey
The Paoli Blues Festival; Paoli , PA
Kennett Flash: Kennett Square, PA
The Mermaid Inn; Philadelphia , PA
World Cafe Live; Philadelphia , PA
Wold Cafe Live; Wilmington , DE
John & Peters and Havana ; New Hope , PA
Warmdaddy's; Philadelphia , PA
With a mix of powerful original songs and arrangements of obscure blues standards, The Dukes of Destiny continue to grow and develop as they share their music through live performances and recordings. Clearly, The Dukes continue to strive to produce strong and unique music. They continue to be “Philly’s longest lived and best loved blues band.”
John Colgan-Davis-Harmonica and Vocals
Rich Curtis-Bass and Vocals
C.C-Tenor sax and Vocals
Bob Holden-Drums and Vocals
Richard Adler -Guitars
The Dukes of Destiny have released four CDs—
The Dukes of Destiny” (1991).
"Window Shopping in the House of Forbidden Love "(1998)
"Dukes of Destiny 3” (2004) -features 6 original compositions
by John Colgan-Davis
'Higher" -released December 2012-includes originals by Arlyn
Wolters and John Colgan-Davis
Dukes of Destiny Press Comments
[+ Show ]
HERE’S WHAT THEY’VE SAID ABOUT THE DUKES OF DESTINY: “Philly’s pride and jo... HERE’S WHAT THEY’VE SAID ABOUT
THE DUKES OF DESTINY:
“Philly’s pride and joy.. .the city’s best and best-loved blues band.”
-Mary Armstrong, The City Paper
“This group fits into the cultural-gapping species also represented by hybrids like The Blasters and the Fab T-Birds. The Dukes pump it up with a lively integration of soul, rockabilly, country and rock ‘n’ roll.”
Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News
“The Dukes of Destiny.. .whose bruising, authentic repertoire of obscure R&B and blues is stoked by the supernal harmonica playing of John Colgan-Davis”
“They mix up a wide variety of music from Louis Jordan styled swing on up to soul, but their forte is Chicago blues. Veteran musicians all, this band knows rock ‘n’ roll and its contributing forms backwards and forwards... for dancing to upbeat rock ‘n’ roll, or getting lowdown with mean Chicago blues, The Dukes of Destiny are hard to beat for a good time.”
Peter Brown, East Coast Rocker and Philadelphia Weekly
“The whole band was wailing the blues on a rainy November night in a North Philadelphia bar, attacking the sadness with a fistful of boogie.”
Clark DeLeon, Philadelphia
“Believe me, Dukes of Destiny "3" is a CD you’ll want to listen to more than once...”
MESSIN WITH THE KID-
ALL YOUR LOVE
LITTLE BY LITTLE
ROCK ME RIGHT
I CALL IT LOVE
TRIED BUT I CAN QUIT YOU, NO
JUST A LITTLE BIT
MISSION TEMPLE FIREWORKS STAND
WISH YOU WOULD
Our average set is between 50-60 minutes. We do at least four originals each set. We also have songs we add to the repertoire for weddings, corporate events, and private parties such as STAND BY ME; YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL TONIGHT; AND YOU MEAN EVERYTHING TO ME