The last album, The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard, was a collection that Duke had banked over the years but it was no filler as he won the Blues Music Award for Acoustic Album of The Year. In the notes to this one, he reveals he had suffered a rotator cuff separation and couldn’t play guitar for a year! It’s all fixed now and he’s back with an album of new material that reconnects to his Roomful Of Blues days, hence the title. But it’s Roomful without the horns. Duke just has Bruce Bears on keyboards, Brad Hallen on basses and longtime drummer Mark Teixeira. They truly are an ‘all-star combo’, with their full sound. Duke’s new songs exceed his usual high standards with “Lay A Little Lovin’ On Me”, “Fool About My Money” and “I’ve Got A Feeling That You’re Fooling” being opening highlights. He has guest stars this time out as well with Roomful veteran Sugar Ray Norcia singing Duke’s “Last Night” with another Roomful alumnus Sax Gordon Beadle on saxes, Jimmie Vaughan and Duke trade solos on the marvellous “Shufflin’ & Scufflin’” – even at six and a half minutes, you don’t want this one to end.

Kansas City’s Kelley Hunt sings and plays her boogie piano in a tribute to Duke’s studio, “The Mood Room”. Also worthy of special mention is “Blues For Eddie Jones”, a slow blues telling a cautionary tale about Guitar Slim, the famous but ill-fated legend. He ends with the mid tempo “Come With Me Baby” but the song before that is beautifully written and sung blues ballad, “Worth Waitin’ On”, worth the price of the disc all by itself.

He did some painting in his year off and that’s his work on the cover. He’s a multitalented man and you can find out more at www.dukerobillard.com.

John's Blues Picks Sept 2016 - Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters
John's Blues Picks Sept 2016 - Sunday Wilde