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Duke Robillard's Jumpin' Blues Revue - Stomp The Blues Tonight

Stony Plain Records (2009) 

16 tracks, 66 minutes. Recommended

Duke Robillard should be no stranger to blues fans around the globe regardless of stylistic preferences; his music catalog now encompasses more than thirty years with the guitarist having offered everything from straight-ahead electric blues to swing, jazz, rock n' roll and full-tilt rhythm and blues. His latest is a reminder to the multiple efforts of the great Johnny Otis whose recorded efforts over the years were often packaged as all-star blues and R&B shows.

Roomful Of Blues alumni play a large role here with horns provided by Doug James, Rich Lataille, Al Basile and Carl Querfurth. Acoustic and electric bass chores are capably handled by Jon Ross and Marty Ballou, while Mark Teixeira delivers the riveting backbeats. Bruce Bears contributes piano throughout and the vocals are courtesy of Robillard and the fabulous Sunny Crownover.

Musically, this disc is right up Duke's alley, reflecting the numerous and diverse styles of horn-based jump blues that first inspired the Rhode Island native four decades ago. Whether it's the slow and blistering “Three Hours Past Midnight” with Duke mimicking Johnny "Guitar" Watson's acidic Stratocaster tone, or “Jumpin' The Bone” and “Frankie And Johnny” where he calls on the ghosts of T-Bone Walker and Tiny Grimes respctively, Robillard has all cylinders wide open.

Be sure to catch his dizzying whammy bar antics on Ike Turner's “Tore Up” as well. Crownover shines beautifully on “Look But Don't Touch”, “Million Dollar Secret”, “For You My Love”, “Ain't Nobody's Business”, “I Wanna Hug You” and “Hands Off!” Her phrasing is pure and unfettered and she never once falls victim to slavish interpretations of the classics she's featured on.

Stomp The Blues Tonight should easily garner votes as the best dance recording of the year and it wouldn't come as a surprise if it took home a few more honors at next year's Blues Music Awards. A hands-down winner on all counts.

Reviewer Craig Ruskey is a New England native who has been listening to Blues for more than thirty-five years. He has played guitar for twenty-five years in a number of regional Blues bands and has toured with Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson. Craig has been actively writing about Blues music for more than ten years. He contributes reviews to a number of blues forums and websites and his reviews have been published in both Blues Access and Living Blues magazines.

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