Duke ROBILLARD – Stomp The Blues Tonight 2009

Duke ROBILLARD – Stomp The Blues  Tonight 2009

Blues

Since joining the Stony Plain roster in 1993, Duke Robillard has released an average of one album per year with the Canadian roots and blues label, and his sixteenth is a little bit of a departure: where his previous efforts have focused mainly on jazz and blues, this one is a celebration of the jump blues and R&B of the ’40s and ’50s, and Robillard sounds just as natural and is clearly having just as good a time with this repertoire as he always has on his previous projects. Highlights include a wonderful jump blues instrumental arrangement of the traditional song “Frankie and Johnny,” an equally great vocal duet between Robillard and Sunny Crownover on “I Wanna Hug You, Kiss You, Squeeze You” and an absolutely brilliant rendition of the Ike Turner R&B classic “Tore Up.” Slightly less essential is a rather mannered take on the old Wynonie Harris song “Playful Baby,” on which Robillard sounds like he’s trying to channel Harris rather than interpret the song on his own, but everything else here is really top-notch — and part of what makes it great is that Robillard (an excellent guitarist but only a good singer) has the good sense to step aside several times to make room for the much more exciting vocals of Sunny Crownover. And on several of the album’s best tracks, no one is singing at all.
By Rick Anderson, All Music Guide.
**
Break out the leather soles and push back the rug, we’re going dancin’ with the Duke! Man-O-Man this cat is on target with all the Boppers, Shaggers & Swingers that call the dance halls home. Tight sounds and terrific beats keep you snappin’ fingers & stompin’ feet! A+, but, next time nix the slow stuff!!
By Michael Hall.
**
Duke Robillard hits another one out of the ballpark as his 16th album for Stony Plain turns the clock back to the rockin’ R&B of the ’40s and ’50s

Duke Robillard’s long and amazingly fruitful relationship with Stony Plain Records has produced some astonishing music – and his latest for the label adds horns and digs deep into the riotous, raunchy, rockin’ ’40s and ’50s R&B that helped launch rock and roll.
One of the most versatile and accomplished guitarists playing today, Robillard has always been fascinated by the roots of American popular music – and he’s tackled everything from blues to the classic American songbook to jazz guitar duets, rock-influenced trios, small and big band swing recordings.
Stomp! The Blues Tonight is certainly different from anything else Robillard has recorded for the Edmonton, Alberta-based label. Adding a strong horn section on many of the tracks – anchored by long-term colleagues Doug James on baritone and tenor, and Rich Lataille on tenor and alto – makes sure that tunes like “Stomp the Blues Tonight”, “Do Me Right”, “Look and Don’t Touch”, “Tore Up” and “Playful Baby” roar out of your speakers. A rock solid rhythm section, and Bruce Bears’ inspired piano playing gives the tunes the lift they need.
And there’s also a revival of “Money’s Getting Cheaper” – a song for the New Depression if ever there was one. Originally popularized by Charles Brown, it became a staple in the repertoire of Jimmy Witherspoon, with a different title, “Time’s Getting Tougher than Tough.”

This is great, honking, squawking, sax and guitar driven music. The early years of R&B saw the making of fabulous American music, and the new CD is proof you can recreate the past, twist it up a bit, make it sound as tough as it used to.
Play Stomp! The Blues Tonight as loud as your speakers go. Oh, yes, and dance!
Throughout a career that has spanned four decades, guitarist Duke Robillard has brought his immense talents to bear on a vast range of blues, jazz, and R&B music. Beginning with his influential band Roomful of Blues, through his brief tenure with Texas blues barn-burners the Fabulous Thunderbirds, to a lengthy solo career that has earned the skilled instrumentalist a wealth of awards and accolades, Duke Robillard has never been content with resting on past laurels as he challenges himself with a variety of stylistic exercises.

Robillard’s Stomp! The Blues Tonight follows the acclaimed 2008 release A Swingin Session With, a collection of golden-era jazz brought up to speed with a contemporary edge. With Stomp! The Blues Tonight, Robillard has attempted to recreate the authentic sound and energy of 1940s and ’50s-era rhythm and blues, the kind of swingin’ soul-blues music practiced by singers and guitarists like Big Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, Roy Milton, Lowell Fulson, Pee Wee Crayton and others. To help achieve his goals, Robillard some of his former Roomful of Blues mates: saxophonists Doug James and Rich Lataille and cornet player Al Basile.

Duke Robillard’s Stomp! The Blues Tonight
Credited to Duke Robillard’s Jumpin’ Blues Revue, Stomp! The Blues Tonight is a lively, high-energy collection of rhythm-infused blues and R&B, not dissimilar to what Robillard used to perform with Roomful of Blues back in the day. The disc opens with the guitarist’s original title track, a performance so stylistically spot-on that none but the expert (or the hardcore fan) could carbon-date the sucker any decade later than the 1950s. With a raucous, ramped-up opening and swinging horns, Robillard’s hepcat vocals and fine guitar tone are matched by the horn section’s timely blasts of cold air.

A cover of blues legend Lowell Fulson’s “Do Me Right” is elegant and well-dressed courtesy of the deep groove provided by Robillard’s jazzy fretwork, which itself is accompanied by Doug James’ honkin’ sax and Bruce Bears’ filigree pianowork. Although Robillard’s vocals aren’t quite the equal of Fulson’s (few are, really), he acquits himself well by not trying to over-emote, instead delivering a subdued, but soulful vocal turn.

West Coast R&B giant Roy Milton’s wonderful, rocking “Baby, You Don’t Know” benefits from the full-band effort of Robillard’s Jumpin’ Blues Revue, the song’s strong underlying rhythm provided by its swaying hornplay as Bears’ nimble-fingered piano lies just beneath the vocals in the mix. Robillard’s guitar is understated, but no less potent, as it threads itself beneath the ever present horns.

The traditional “Frankie and Johnny” is gussied up by Robillard, framed as an instrumental showcase for his six-string talents. With the horns playing gently behind him, and drummer Mark Teixeira providing a lively up-tempo beat, Robillard embroiders the song with his vibrant guitarwork. By the time that saxman James jumps into the fray, Robillard is moving full-throttle, and the song ends with a cooling piano note and dropped drumbeat.

Robillard’s protégé, Ms. Sunny Crownover, is given center stage for “I Wanna Hug You, Kiss You, Squeeze You.” Half purring kitten, half wildcat growl, Crownover’s sultry vocals bring an entirely different dimension to Robillard’s material, providing a fine counterpoint to the guitarist’s blue-eyed soul. As the band rages behind her, you can just imagine Crownover tossing her hips and making the boys swoon like a film clip from the 1940s as she belts out the song.

Crownover displays her full range with the raucous original “Look But Don’t Touch.” With a steady strolling beat behind her, Ms Sunny knocks out the song with joy, lyrically showing a prospective suitor the door as Robillard’s nimble fretwork jumps-n-jives across the ribald rhythms. “Jumpin’ The Bone,” an original Robillard/James instrumental that plays like a 1940s jazzbo throwback, jukes and jumps across the grooves with frenetic guitar licks and rollicking hornplay.

The best thing about a hearing a brand new Duke Robillard album for the first time is that while you’re never quite sure where he’s driving, you know that you’re always going to enjoy the ride. Such is the case with Stomp! The Blues Tonight, a retro-delight that features a perfect balance between Robillard’s skilled six-string chops and the invigorating, Doug James-led horn section.

Throw in Sunny Crownover’s feminine wiles as a counterpoint to Robillard’s gruffer vocals on an inspired mix of covers and original songs that were carefully-crafted to evoke an earlier era of the blues, and Stomp! The Blues Tonight is a complete rock-n-rolla success story certain to please your ears even as it sets your toes-a-tappin’!
By Reverend Keith A. Gordon.
**
Duke Robillard- (Guitar), (Bass Guitar), (Vocals),
Marty Ballou- (Acoustic, Electric Bass),
Al Basile- (Cornet),
Doug James- (Baritone Sax ), (TenorSax),
Rich Lataille- (Alto Sax), (Tenor Sax),
Carl Querfurth- (Trombone),
Bruce Bears- (Piano),
Jon Ross- (Acoustic, Electric Bass),
Mark Teixeira- (Drums),
Sunny Crownover- (Vocals).
**
01. Stomp The Blues Tonight 3:25
02. Do Me Right 3:34
03. Three Hours Past Midnight 4:41
04. Baby You Don’t Know 2:56
05. I Wanna Hug You, Kiss You, Squeeze You 5:02
06. Frankie And Johnny 3:15
07. Look But Don’t Touch 3:51
08. Playful Baby 3:36
09. Million Dollar Secret 7:50
10. Jumpin’ The Bone 5:39
11. Hands Off! 4:20
12. Money’s Gettin’ Cheaper 3:52
13. For You My Love 2:21
14. Tore Up 4:02
15. Ain’t Nobody’s Business 3:26
16. Early In The Morning 4:36
**


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