THE ACOUSTIC BLUES AND ROOTS OF DUKE ROBILLARD
STONY PLAIN CD SPCD 1383
MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME–BIG BILL BLUES–I MISS MY BABY IN MY ARMS–JIMMIE’S TEXAS BLUES–BACKYARD PARADISE–EVANGELINE (FEAT. SUNNY CROWNOVER)–LEFT HANDED–I’D RATHER DRINK MUDDY WATER–I’M GONNA BUY ME A DOG (TO TAKE THE PLACE OF YOU)–NASHVILLE BLUES (FEAT. MARY FLOWERS)–ST. LOUIS BLUES–WHAT IS IT THAT TASTES LIKE GRAVY–SOMEDAY BABY–LET’S TURN BACK THE YEARS–TAKE A LITTLE WALK WITH ME–SANTA CLAUS BLUES (FEAT. MARIA MULDAUR)–PROFOUNDLY BLUE (FEAT. JAY MCSHANN)–UKULELE SWING
In a career that has spanned some fifty years, Duke Robillard has brought fans all types of music, from his days as leader of Roomful Of Blues as well as some thirty albums under his own name. His latest set for Stony Plain Records celebrates his “unplugged” side, thusly-titled “The Acoustic Blues And Roots Of Duke Robillard,” eighteen cuts that touch on the Duke’s mastery of several styles, and includes some very special guests.
Duke has always been a fan of roots music. On this set, he blends blues, swing, jazz, even 1920’s-era hokum and country to really show his passion for all music. He starts off with a brief instrumental read of “My Old Kentucky Home,” before diving head-first into “Big Bill Blues,” with Matt McCabe on piano. Sunny Crownover lends her big voice to a cool cover of Robbie Robertson’s “Evangeline,” with Duke’s dobro and Russell Gussetti on concertina to set this song’s mood. Staying in an Americana mode, Mary Flower adds duet vocals and fingerpicked guitar on a sweet read of the Delmore Brothers’ “Nashville Blues,” while Duke again uses his dobro axe to breathe new life into Hank Sr.’s “Let’s Turn Back The Years.”
Duke’s right at home with the blues, too. Maria Muldaur guests on the vocal on a jazzy early Christmas gift, where “no money, no honey” is bound to give you the “Santa Claus Blues!” “Profoundly Blue” teams Duke with piano legend Jay McShann on a slow-blues groove originally done by Charlie Christian, while the set closes with Duke on a vintage uke for a jumpin’ “Ukulele Swing.”
We had two favorites, too. Duke does The Singing Brakeman proud on an authentic version of “Jimmie’s Texas Blues,” right down to that classic “blue yodel!” And, “Left Handed” is a humorous, straight-blues tune that features Matt on piano and Jerry Portnoy on the harp.
We’ve been fans of the Duke since his Roomful days, and with each album, he proves that there is literally nothing that he can’t play! Enjoy “The Acoustic Blues And Roots Of Duke Robillard! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.