John’s Blues Picks September 2015 – Duke Robillard “The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard”


Duke Robillard “The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard” (Stony Plain/Warner) | www.dukerobillard.com

RobillardDuke Robillard’s own discography runs to almost thirty albums so far and one sometimes wonders what he would do for the next one. It seems he has too and he has for some years now been assembling a tribute to roots styles that he loves and that have influenced him. There are eighteen songs in this generous program, so I’ll restrict myself to only a few of them.

Big Bill Broonzy’s “Big Bill’s Blues” is just Duke on guitar & vocal with Matt McCabe on piano – superb. “Jimmie’s Texas Blues” (Jimmie Rogers) features Duke with Mary Flower on lap steel with a standout vocal. Robbie Robertson’s “Evangeline” sounds like it came from the ‘40’s and Sunny Crownover sings it wonderfully.“I’m Gonna Buy Me Dog (To Take The Place Of You)” is a live band track with Jerry Portnoy on harp – it’s as good as the title suggests. W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues”, gets quite an innovative reading, with Billy Novick on clarinet and the Providence Mandolin Orchestra.

Sleepy John Estes’ “Someday Baby” gets a straight delivery, an original that is not heard often enough these days. Jon Ross takes Yank Rachel’s mandolin part and Doug James plays Hammie Nixon’s harmonica part. Duke carries off the Estes vocal very well indeed. Robert Lockwood’s “Take A Little Walk With Me” is another live track, with McCabe on piano. Maria Muldaur sings “Santa Claus Blues” in a studio recording with the full band. Jay McShann joins Duke for “Profoundly Blue”, a beautiful performance of the jazz standard.

As with the Colin Linden and MonkeyJunk, this album will be available on September 25th.


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