How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Duke Robillard is a true, if not, under-appreciated, treasure of American music. Since he broke into the music business with the band he help found, Roomful of Blues, Duke has recorded over twenty albums in over twenty years, relying upon virtuostic hands on his guitar and a keen ear for traditional and contemporary styles. Never one to be pigeonholed, Robillard has explored the many faces of jazz, blues and roots music, usually blending them into crafty and tasty recordings. For many years he has done this to the applause of critics and fans alike. But on his most recent bow, Duke returns to the style he is most identified with: the blues.
On his new release on the great Canadian indie label Stony Plain Records, entitled Living with the Blues, Robillard hits the ground running full steam ahead through a repertoire that consists of classic blues recordings from the masters and original tunes that sound as good as if they were written by the same group of blues legends. Classic repertoire workouts include Little Milton’s “If Walls Could Talk,” also an appropriate recording to use as the opener; Freddy King’s “Use What You Got”; and the Willie Dixon-penned tune for Muddy Waters “I Live the Life I Love.” Robillard’s approach is both respectful and contemporary at the same time, a bridge very few can cross and still be successful. His originals, including the strong favorite, “Buy Me a Dog,” personify the goodness and honesty of blues music.
Living with the Blues is a must have for any fan of blues, American roots music, or just aficionados of good music. (Guitarists, as well...pay close attention!). If you loved his early nineties album Duke’s Blues, you’ll flip over Living with the Blues.
Track Listing: 1. If Walls Could Talk
2. Use What You Got
4. Hard Road
5. Buy Me a Dog
6. Goodtime Charlie
7. Painful Memory
8. I Live the Life of Love
9. I'm Mad About It
10. Sleepin' on It
11. Living with the Blues
12. Long Gone Baby
Personnel: Duke Robillard - Vox and guitars
Doug James - Baritone and Tenor Sax
'Sax' Gordon Beadle - Tenor Sax
Carl Querfurth - Trombone
John Packer - Bass
Jesse Williams - Acoustic Bass
Mark Teixeira - Drums and Percussion
Bruce Katz - Piano and Hammond B3