The night was November 26, 1995; the club: Richard's on Richards in Vancouver; and the lineup with Duke Robillard comprised Marty Ballou on bass, Marty Richards on drums, and "Sax" Gordon Beadle on tenor and baritone sax. They were touring with Jimmy Witherspoon and this album captures the set before they brought "Spoon" to the stage. It was taped for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "Saturday Night Blues" program with host Holger Petersen. Seven of the nine songs on Stretchin' Out also appear on 1996's Duke's Blues. That one is truly a gem, but for fans who don't have it yet, one might recommend this recording instead. "Too Hot to Handle" and "That's My Life" are the only tracks that aren't on Duke's Blues. Even if you do have Duke's Blues, Stretchin' Out is still well worth the purchase because of the great extended jams and shoot-from-the-hip guitar licks you won't find anywhere else. Robillard sings a few bars on Albert Collins' "Dyin' Flu" with no mic. You have to strain to hear him over the inevitable amplifier hums and crowd support of a live recording (one fan yells "Duke it out!"), but that's what makes it so cool and compelling. In addition to "Dyin' Flu," "Gee I Wish" is a highlight. Robillard swings his way through a solo nearly as long as the song itself. This recording features plenty of his trademark Gibson jangle and ring, and a healthy dose of jump and swing tunes where the boys were definitely cookin'. Stretchin' Out leaves you wishing you had been in the club during this recording. Two thumbs way up!
AllMusic Review by Ann Wickstrom