11
Oct
10

DUKE ROBILLARD-PASSPORT TO THE BLUES-“REVIVING HIS GUITAR BLUES” CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

 DUKE ROBILLARD  makes a lot of music and is a stone solid  bluesman.   Some critics have said he records too often. This is true. Almost an album a year for the last ten years.

It’s safe to say most of those critics have not heard those recordings.  

I was lucky enough to catch DUKE ROBILLARD during the few years he gigged with the FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS. It was around the time of the album Walk that Walk, Talk that Talk.

To say I was blown away by his fret work at that gig would be an understatement. Bottom line is in those days DUKE rocked hard and authentic. 

I did not catch up with  his work again until the album TIME OUT OF MIND by BOB DYLAN and later his work with J GEILS on the Guitar Sumitt cd around 2004.

Since then I own ALL of his solo work.  I LIKE it best when DUKE is writing and playing WITH LOTS OF GUITAR.

With his current album Passport to the Blues, for the most part THAT’S WHAT HE DOES. 

His band of Doug James sax, Bruce Bears on piano, basssit Brad Hallen and especially drummer Mark Teixeira push the songs and Duke and that result is worth your money.

Workin Hard For My Uncle, Hong Kong Suit, and Blues Train open the album in a riff and groove driven way and that is good news. Robillard’s cover of the minor chord gutsy blowout on Tom Wait’s hard storytelling blues  Make it Rain is downright dangerous. 

For me personally less satisfying is the jazz of When Your Old Your Cold, and possibly 2 other tracks where Duke’s vocals could have been better.

I say a small price to pay, for what is a strong  return to the BLUES

Elsewhere his own remake of The High Cost of Lovin is killer, as is the Hound Dog Taylor-esque (guitar and drums)instrumental romp of Bradford Blues, check out the  DUKE while he  burns off some licks on the slow blues workout of Grey Sky Blues, and Rhode Island Red Rooster. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ bout!!!

Check out my roots/rock/blues radio show  http://emms.podbean.com/  where I will delve into more of this album and further NEW stuff from Ronnie Earl and Joe Louis Walker  which I will review here!!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio show host and blues rock musician http://www.theshaftmen.com/home.htm

John’s new solo singer-songwriter cd is available on Apple Itunes and here http://johnemms.com/

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