DUKE ROBILLARD HAS BEEN PERFORMING
the blues in all its permutations for more than
40 years. Robillard began his career as a
cofounder of Roomful of Blues in 1967, playing
classics and originals, as well as backing
legends such as Big Joe Turner and Eddie
“Cleanhead” Vincent. Throughout the intervening
years he has worked with Robert
Gordon, the Legendary Blues Band (with
Muddy Waters alumni), Duke Robillard & the
Pleasure Kings, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds,
and recorded with a diverse group of
artists that includes Herb Ellis, J. Geils, John
Hammond, Ronnie Earl, Pinetop Perkins, Tom
Waits, Kim Wilson, and Jimmy Witherspoon.
More recently, his tasty guitar work has graced
Dylan’s Time Out of Mind and Ruth Brown’s
Robillard has also been the recipient of
numerous awards over the years, not least of
all the Blues Music Award for “Best Blues
Guitarist” in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004. Additional
honors include three Canadian Maple
Blues Awards for “Best International Blues
Artist,” and two awards from the French Blues
The guitarist’s latest release, Stomp! The
Blues Tonight [Stony Plain], is a rousing, horndriven
tribute to his R&B heroes, drawing
mostly on material from the ’40s and ’50s,
some of which he has played since his days
with Roomful of Blues. The album includes
several vocal performances by Sunny Crownover,
an artist Robillard was so enamored with
that he assembled a band to back her live and
on the recently released Introducing . . . Sunny
and Her Joy Boys [Stony Plain], on which he
plays swing acoustic guitar.
Well, it is and it isn’t. I did another record
back in 1990 with a similar purpose, which is
to pay tribute to the blues and R&B heroes that
inspired and influenced me in the beginning.
It’s kind of part two of that, but I’m more developed
in my career at this point, and as far as I’m
concerned it is the best blues-oriented record
I’ve ever made. The album pays tribute to artists
like Wynonie Harris, Roy Milton, T-Bone Walker,
Lowell Fulsom, and Johnny Watson.
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