Musicians: Duke Robillard Band

Label: Stony Plain Records


Ever since he formed Roomful of Blues in 1967, Duke Robillard has remained one of the most reliable and versatile bluesmen in the business. His latest, Calling All Blues, is aptly titled as the master, once again, presents a program offering a variety of styles, settings, and approaches that add up to an antidote for those who think all blues sounds alike.

These days, The Duke Robillard Band continues to consist of Robillard (guitar and vocals), Bruce Bears (keyboards), Brad Hallen (bass), and Mark Teixera (drums). On four of the ten new tracks, The Roomful of Blues horn section joins in including Rich Lataille (alto and tenor sax), Mark Earley (tenor and baritone sax), and Doug Woolverton (trumpet).

Those funky Memphis horns and a Booker T. Jones flavored organ shine on “Down in Mexico,” the album's opener. “Emphasis on Memphis,” co-written by Gary Nicholson and Ron Sexsmith, sounds like a follow-up to Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour." Speaking of the '60s, She’s So Fine, So Glad She’s Mine” is a spot-on recreation of The Carter Brothers 1966 soulful hit.

One reason the album has such a wide palate of variety is because three vocalists take their turn at the lead mic. Guest Sunny Crownover delivers a beautiful reading on the electric guitar showpiece “Blues Beyond The Call of Duty” and shares the spotlight with Duke on “Nasty Guitar,” a number which is just that. For the first time, keyboardist Bruce Bears sings lead on “Confusion Blues,” a swinging supper-club jazz piece. Speaking of jazz, “Temptation” is the title track from Robillard’s 1994 Point Blank Records recording of the same name performed, this time, with muted trumpets and touches of be-bop instrumentation.

The band gets very old-school with “I’m Gonna Quit My Baby” featuring Duke playing slide with a broken hand. Inspired by a character played by John

Barrymore in the 1930’s movie, “Svengali” is punctuated by some unusual percussion. Finally, the vocals get low down and growling on the witty “Motor Trouble.” In short, Calling All Blues is a collection that almost sounds like an anthology of tunes by a number of different artists. Nope, it's just Duke Robillard and a band that can do it all.

If you're a vinyl collector, Calling All Blues will also be available as a 180-gram premium vinyl LP, and the first 1000 LP copies will include a special song notes insert signed and numbered by Duke. So The Duke Robillard Band is calling you—come on in, the water's fine.

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