Duke Robillard

Stretchin' Out Live

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If anyone is keeping the tradition of urban blues alive, it's Duke Robillard. Long thought of as a guitar wizard, he shows here why he's earned that distinction. The sparks fly as he shuffles, swings and crawls his way through a program of originals and obscure tunes by past masters. He plays "Never Let You Go," a Jimmy Liggins tune, like Magic Sam would have. It's a treat to hear someone not only reprising Sam, but doing it so well. "Gee I Wish," a jumping tune, could have come from the guitar of Junior Barnard fronting Bob Wills' Western swing band. Nobody recording today plays in the T-Bone Walker style as well as Duke. On "Glamour Girl," a slow blues, and "Don't Leave Me, Baby," a swinging number, he shows himself as the foremost practitioner of Walker's jazzy style. In the latter tune, he successfully shows off his Charlie Christian influence.