One of America’s finest blues guitarists, Duke Robillard returns with another new release, the 12th for Stony Plain.
As with all Robillard CDs, this has a definite theme. Groove -A- Rama
is a showcase album for his guitar collection. While this writer doesn’t pretend to know the assets of one axe over another, the majority of Robillard’s fans are experts. The liner notes document the guitar used on each track and Duke explains why in his own words. I’ll just give you a list of the instruments and you can see if your favorite is included. Here we go: Stratocaster, Gretch White Falcon, 65 Epiphone Cortez, Gretch Country Club, 1952 Gibson L7C, Gretch Tennessee Rose, Rickenbacker V381 Reissue, Fender Jazzmaster, Les Paul Standard and a new Epiphone Sheraton.
The CD offers a panorama of styles and includes songs penned by Ray Charles, Melvin "Little Son" Jackson, Bob Dylan, and longtime friend Al Basile but most are the product of the leader himself. We especially enjoyed Dylan’s "Down Along The Cove," the traditional "Dark Eyes" and "Sunday Mornin’." However, the absolute centerpiece of the disc is Robillard’s own "Blues-A-Rama." The sixteen-minute journey into the blues finds Robillard guiding the listener through the styles of ten favorite guitarists ranging from Gatemouth Brown to B.B. King. The track is musical perfection and begs to be played over and over. The leader plays the entire track on his Les Paul studio guitar.
Robillard’s band is always great and this album is no exception. It’s nice to Doug James’ baritone sax on "Sunday Mornin’" and "Dark Eyes." Al Basile, many years with "Roomful Of Blues" adds some cornet excitement on "Dark Eyes" and his own "This Dream." New England’s busiest jazz bassist, Marty Ballou, sits in on four tracks.
Duke Robillard is at his best on this new CD. Give it a listen at your favorite record shop.