Duke Robillard has spent some time recently looking back on the songs he’s loved over the years. For Duke they were the songs that stayed in his head, ear worms. So, he decided to record them, his way, and he also brought along a cast of fellow travelers as he shares his memories. In fact, we get only one Duke vocal this time out. The opening “Don’t Bother Trying to Steal Her Love” is the lone Duke original but it’s not his vocal, that honour goes to veteran Rhode Island singer Dave Howard. He does a fine job on this uptempo rocker. As a new song, it really seems to be outside the scope of this set, but it is quite retro in style. Duke’s vocal comes next, on a song from the Righteous Brothers, the Goffin/Kingcomposition “On This Side of Goodbye”. He sings wonderfully while not trying to be Bill Medley on this little-known gem, with horns, backup singers and Baxter Hall’s guitar building to their trademark climax. Up next is a  bluesy version of Mother Earth’s “Living with the Animals”. Boston vocalist Chris Cote handles the vocals with Marnie Hallon electric violin, giving an attractively different sound. The traditional “Careless Love” is here done as an instrumental, Duke’s regular keyboard man, Bruce Bears, takes a rather nice organ solo on this timeless classic. The excellent Sunny Crownoverhas worked with Duke for several years now and she got the call for Arthur Alexander’s “Everyday I Have to Cry Some’. A version of this song was recorded by British pop singer Julie Grantin the mid-sixties, a version that Duke loved. By a remarkable coincidence, he discovered that Ms. Grant was now working in New England and he asked if she would record it again with Sunny. Ms. Crownover gets her own feature on Brenda Lee’s memorable “Sweet Nothin’s”. An obscure Chuck Berry tune, “Dear Dad”, from Chuck Berry in London in 1965 brings in some rock ‘n’ roll with sax man Klem Klimek on vocals. Bruce Bears takes a turn at the mic for Allen Toussaint’s “Yes We Can”, doing his own backup vocals as well. Duke’s extended solo here is a delight. Bandmate Mark Teixeira adds a vocal mic to his drumkit for the Neville Brothers’ “Yellow Moon”. Duke’s tribute to Link Wray has him scorching through “Rawhide”. Needless to say, Duke’s guitar parts are a major highlight throughout. Duke now hosts a weekly radio show on the Scorpion Radio Network on which he plays his personal collection of 78’s. You might want to think of this album as his own radio show, adding his own slant to these ear worms and showcasing some rich New England talent along the way. His web site is www.dukerobillard.com.

May 2019 - Dawn Tyler Watson
April 2019 - FOG Blues & Brass Band