Blues Full Circle
Duke Robillard and his All-Star Combo
Stony Plain Records
reviewed by R. Doull
Hands up if you know how many albums Duke Robillard has appeared on as a leader or co-leader? It’s something like sixty and twenty-five of those have been on Edmonton’s Stony Plain Records label.
Starting as a founding member of Roomful of Blues in 1967, he then moved to the guitar position in the Fabulous Thunderbirds, replacing Jimmie Vaughn. At one point he even did a stint as the guitarist in Bob Dylan’s band. His early sound was heavily influenced by the swing jazz and jump blues of the 1940’s. But on this CD he strips it back to basic small band blues standing squarely on the shoulders of T-Bone Walker. Walker was a student of Blind Lemon Jefferson and was considered a pioneer of jump blues as well as the electric guitar. Blues Full Circle indeed.
Thirteen tracks, ten originals and covers of Jimmy Lewis’ Last Night and Kelly Hunt’s The Mood Room on which she contributes vocals and piano. In addition there is an instrumental workout called Shufflin’ and Scufflin’ that Robillard co-wrote with Jimmie Vaughn. Sugar Ray Norcia makes a guest vocal appearance on one track.
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