Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

DUKE ROBILLARD AND FRIENDS

BLUES BASH

2020-11-22

This deep into his career there is little that can be said about guitarist Duke Robillard: He’s revered as a master of virtually every style of blues ever committed to disc. After making an initial splash 50 years ago as co-founder of the venerable Roomful of Blues, he has been incredibly prolific while steadfastly refusing to turn out the same old blues. From disc to disc you can find acoustic and electric blues, jazz, jump, swing, and every regional variation imaginable in all of these styles. This disc reunites him with a large cast of present and former bandmates as well as frequent collaborators. While Robillard has a solid voice in his own right he brings on Chris Cote and Michelle Willson to add a different energy to four of the ten tracks including the upbeat rocker, "What Can I Do" (Cote) and the salacious "You Played On My Piano" (Willson). True to its title, the disc is unabashedly aimed at ensuring the listener a great time. The material is upbeat and with the exception of the jazzy, low key instrumental, "Just Chillin’" which clocks in at nearly 10 minutes, the tunes are short, sweet and to the point. "Rock Alley" features Robillard and the horn section trading energetic leads while Mr. B’s driving piano work brings a dance floor shine to the Smiley Lewis classic, "Ain’t Gonna Do It". Other notable highlights include the stinging guitar work-out on "Do You Mean It" which kicks the disc off with the adrenaline rush of a bobsled run on an iced track and the traditional blues of "No Time" which features Mark Hummel’s solid work on harmonica. Do yourself a favor- instead of constantly searching for the next new thing, spend some time with this master so that you will never forget the standard against which all new things must be measured. SMITTY

review by Mark

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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