TCB Band | Duke Bardwell | (Bass Guitar)
Duke Bardwell was born in Baton Rouge Louisiana in 1943. He came from a family of nine and all were named after universities. Duke started to play ukelele at the age of five when his mother bought him one but he tried out playing piano too, finding that he preferred the ukulele. It wasn't long before he mastered the guitar followed by the trumpet.
Duke was blessed with a good singing voice too and complemented with his musical talents, he found himself in some of the best R&B bands in Baton Rouge in the 60's. While still at school he played at weekends in a band. From there he joined The Dixie Crystals.
Eventually Duke formed a band of his own calling them The Greek Fountains, a rock band combining R&B into their act. Not long after getting the band together they released their first single Countin' The Steps. Joined by Butch Hornsby and Big Luther Kent they made an album called The Greek Fountains Riverfront Band Take Requests.
Duke found himself and his band playing concerts with The Animals, The Dave Clark Five, Paul Revere and The Raiders and Sonny and Cher. Duke also worked with Tom Rush, Kenny Loggins, Emmylou Harris and more.
Duke moved to Los Angeles and played bass and sang with friend Casey Kelly as a duo, opening for Loggins And Messina. A friend of Duke's who knew Jose Feliciano called him to come over to play and sing for Jose's wife who looked after Jose's business for him. They used him as a bass player on sessions with Jose. One day the drummer who was to be there for this particular session couldn't do it and Duke found out that the stand in was going to be Ronnie Tutt. After the session Duke spoke with Ronnie about Elvis as to what he was like as a person. They talked about Elvis for a while before parting company. Not long after this recording session, Jose had a party and asked Duke to play bass along with Steve Cropper and Jose on guitars. The drummer was Ronnie Tutt, much to Duke's delight. A few weeks later Duke received a call from Ronnie to say Emory Gordy was leaving the band and he was going to put a word in for him about the possibilities of replacing him. Ronnie thought Duke fit for the job because he was. 'a simple but funky feel-good player'. Duke was elated. He flew to the RCA studios in Los Angeles for the audition and in January 1974, got the job as bass player. It was a dream come true, working for Elvis Presley! Duke sat in on the recording of Elvis' album, Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis and for part of the Today album. Duke covered all of the 1974 shows and the first part of the 75 Vegas engagement. He remained with The TCB Band until Jerry Scheff's return in April 1975.
After leaving The TCB Band, Duke remained in California for a short while before starting up another band. He eventually took himself back to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and continued to write and work with local bands throughout the 80's. Eventually he moved to Florida with his second wife and started a restaurant business with some friends. This lasted for twelve years before he returned to what he loved best.
After going back to the music business he met Washboard Jackson And His Action Contraption and this meeting resulted in the formation of Duke's band Hubba Hubba.
Together, they released an album called Angel Wings and still performs with the band today.