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Calling All Blues

The Duke Robillard Band

Stony Plain 2014

Review by David Bowling


And now …. all the way from his birth place of Woonsocket, Rhode island, Duke Robillard has returned with his newest album Calling All Blues.

Robillard is not only one of the best blues guitar players alive but he is also prolific both in the studio and on the road. He began his career as a founding member of Roomful Of Blues (1967-1990), then went on to be a guitarist for The Fabulous Thunderbirds (1990-1993), before settling into a solo career fronting his own band. He has been a part of close to thirty albums and toured constantly for decades.

Accompanying him on his new release are his band of keyboardist Bruce Bears, bassist Brad Hallen, and drummer Mark Teixeira. Also on hand to fill in the gaps are vocalist Sunny Crownover and a brass section of Rich Lataille, Mark Early, and Doug Woolverton.

Robillard is a bluesman pure and simple and the eight original compositions and two covers reflect that orientation. He may explore different facets of the blues idiom but he never travels to far from home.

There is some down home Memphis cooking on “Down In Mexico” and the slow blues of “Blues Beyond The Call Of Duty” with a smoky vocal by Crownover. His cover of the Gary Nicholson/Ron Sexsmith “Emphasis On Memphis” fuses southern soul with the blues. “Nasty Guitar” is an apt title as he just lets loose on his guitar.

Now in his mid-60s, Robillard is a master of his craft. Calling All Blues is another fine example of his years of experience.

Rating: ***1/2