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Blue Mood

Duke Robillard

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Album Review

Duke Robillard pays homage to T-Bone Walker with this collection of swing, big band and blues songs. The bubbly and bouncy "Lonesome Woman Blues" has a be-bop Count Basie feeling as his supporting players are given brief solos to shine, particularly the horn section. There is far more substance and style to this approach than a rehashed run-through à la Brian Setzer. This fluidity continues, albeit a bit slower in tempo with the swinging "T-Bone Shuffle" which carries the same head-bobbing groove. Here the horns lead the way but Robillard makes his presence felt on guitar near the homestretch, and throughout the stellar "Pony Tail." The barroom blues and drum brushes on "Love Is a Gamble" takes things down to a creepy crawl, bringing to mind Dr. John or Delbert McClinton. An early favorite has to be the rousing and toe-tapping "Alimony Blues," an indication that Robillard wants to pay tribute in the right way by nailing each song beautifully. The same can be said for the finger-snapping "T-Bone Boogie," which just touches a guitar style of Chuck Berry in its introduction and also near the closing rave-up. The ebb and flow of the album is probably its greatest strength, as "Blue Mood" has Robillard up to his waist in the blues. The lengthy nine-minute epic "I'm Still in Love With You" seems to sag in parts, partly because the momentum isn't consistent for the song. It also brings to mind Fats Domino often. "Born to Be No Good" has a better fate, especially with Robillard evoking the styles of B.B. King and Clapton circa From the Cradle on this number — meticulous and deliberate but quite engaging. "This has been an inspirational project of the highest order for me," Robillard says in the liner notes. The end result is another charming record.

Biography

Born: 04 October 1948 in Woonsocket, RI

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Duke Robillard is one of the founding members of Roomful of Blues, as well as one of the guitarists who replaced Jimmie Vaughan in the Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1990. Between that time, Robillard pursued a solo career that found him exploring more musically adventurous territory than either Roomful of Blues or the T-Birds. On his solo recordings, the guitarist dips into blues, rockabilly, jazz, and rock & roll, creating a unique fusion of American roots musics. In 1967, Duke Robillard formed...
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Blue Mood, Duke Robillard
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