Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

DUKE ROBILLARD

PASSPORT TO THE BLUES

2010-10-28

Guitarist Duke Robillard has been a lifetime traveler through the world of the blues. Not content to follow a single path, Robillard has followed the blues into side trips including swing, jazz, pop, big band, rock and even tiki lounge exotica. While at first blush, these various styles won’t strike many blues fans as having much in common with their beloved shuffles and boogies, one need only to give Robillard’s side trips a listen to find the blues at the core of virtually everything he does. A bent note here, a quick reference to T-Bone Walker in a solo there, and even the supper club stuff finds itself in the world of blues. For those without the wanderlust to follow Robillard down the many paths he is willing to follow to find the blues, this new disc will require no work at all. The 13 cuts included here feature whopping doses of electric blues guitar and straight blues lyrics about working for the taxman, "Workin’ Hard For My Uncle", pleasing the ladies, "Rhode Island Red Rooster", still having plenty of mojo even as age creeps in, "When You’re Old You’re Cold", finding new ways to hook up, "Text Me", and wanting to keep a safe distance from trouble on two legs, "Fatal Heart Attack". In addition to those blues gems, those that have only heard Robillard’s recent jazz and lounge oriented discs will be surprised to hear him getting way down and dirty on slow burners like "Grey Sky Blues", taking on a straight boogie on "Bradford Boogie" or ripping off taut solos worthy of Albert Collins on "Blues Train". While he sticks to the blues on this effort, that’s not to say that the road is completely straight. On "Duke’s Evening Blues", Robillard takes a curve and semi-talks his way through a late night vibe that gets a bit of jazz spice compliments of Doug James on sax, who also lights up the raucous "Girl Let Me Tell Ya". As this disc makes clear, while Robillard cleans up well and could easily fit in with tuxedoed jazz cats, he can just as easily get into the trenches and go head to head with anyone that dares call himself a blues guitarist. With Robillard as your guide your blues passport will show you to be well travelled. Great stuff! Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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