Duke Robillard And His All-Star Combo review…September 11, 2016…

DUKE ROBILLARD

AND HIS ALL-STAR COMBO

BLUES FULL CIRCLE

STONY PLAIN RECORDS  SPCD 1392

LAY A LITTLE LOVIN’ ON ME–RAIN KEEPS FALLING–MOURNING DOVE–NO MORE TEARS–LAST NIGHT–FOOL ABOUT MY MONEY–THE MOOD ROOM–I’VE GOT A FEELIN’ THAT YOU’RE FOOLIN’–SHUFFLIN’ AND SCUFFLIN’–BLUES FOR EDDIE JONES–YOU USED TO BE SUGAR–WORTH WAITIN’ ON–COME WITH ME BABY

Duke Robillard’s last album, “The Acoustic Blues And Roots Of Duke Robillard,” won the BMA for Acoustic Blues Album Of The Year back in May in Memphis.  His latest set, “Blues Full Circle,” for Stony Plain Records, is a “return” of sorts, to his Roomful Of Blues roots, with ten originals and three songs from other folks all written with a small combo in mind, without a full horn section.  Duke is on guitar and vocals, Bruce Bears is on keys, Brad Hallen is on bass, and Mark Teixeira is on drums.  Rounding out the All-Star combo are special guests Kelley Hunt, Sugar Ray Norcia, and Jimmie Vaughan.

Shortly after about half of this set was completed, Duke suffered a rotator cuff injury that kept him from playing guitar at all for almost a year.  During this recovery, he explored his other artistic endeavors, photography and painting, and a fine example of the latter is the cover art for this album!

First up is the loping beat of “Lay A Little Lovin’ On Me,” with Duke getting in some fine, extended solos.  “Mourning Dove” is slow blues at its best, this the story of that lonesome dove flying deep down in Texas to “find that little girl for me!”

Three excellent cuts from the special guests add an extra dimension to this affair, making it a real blues party!  “Last Night” is a swingin,’ jump-blues cut that features Sugar Ray Norcia on vocals, with Sax Gordon Beadle on the horn.  Kelley Hunt is on the boogie-woogie  piano and vocal on her tribute to the Duke’s home studio, “The Mood Room.”  And, Doug James adds sax joining Jimmie Vaughan on guitar on the Texas-meets-New England instrumental, “Shufflin’ And Scufflin,”

We had two favorites, too.  Duke and the fellows cash in on a cool  second-line rhythm pattern on the humorous tale of “workin’ for myself, ’cause I’m a Fool About My Money!”  And, the somber “Blues For Eddie Jones” is a stark reminder that   “everybody knew him as Guitar Slim,  until the booze got the best of him.”

Duke Robillard And His All-Star Combo get as close as possible to achieving a “live” feel for this set in the studio.  Duke has really brought the “Blues Full Circle” with this fine collection!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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