Duke Robillard

Stomp! The Blues Tonight

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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.

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