They Called It Rhythm & Blues

Duke Robillard

Stony Plain Records , 2022

REVIEW BY: Max Kaplan


Duke Robillard comes back with an album as diverse as his immense career with the new They Called It Rhythm and Blues.

Duke, a recognized all-star of the blues himself, supports this bustling album with a strong cast—John Hammond, Kim Wilson, Sugar Ray Norcia, and Sue Foley all grace our ears with performances worthy of their stature, among others. Almost every style of blues is present on the record—jump, swing, slow, fast, new, and old combine seamlessly for an experience worthy of a listen from any blues fanatic. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

If in this modern age, the album often stands as a business card for the performer, then with this album Robillard sets a spotlight to the heavens and says, “when it comes to blues, I know what I’m talking about.” Robillard has obviously done his research, as is represented not only through his authentic performances but through the sonic space heard on the album as well. Wonderful tape saturation blesses the ears and warms the soul throughout, leaving the listener pleasantly enthralled.

Each singer matches Duke’s productions with their own style. Sugar Ray Norcia croons smoothly over the whimsical swing that is “She’s My Baby.” Kim Wilson recalls his earlier “flooded down in Texas” days with powerful renditions of songs he’s sung before in “Things I Forgot To Do” and “Tell Me Why.” John Hammond joins the fray with a low-down soul-touching take on “Homeless Blues.” Within all these performances resides the reliable authenticity of Robillard’s guitar. Climbing the mountain of several different genres with ease is no simple feat, although Robillard makes it seem so.

They Called It Rhythm & Blues presents the real thing. Without straying too far from the tree, Robillard has allowed the apple to fall just far enough to recreate multiple genre-specific feels without feeling cliché. For fans of the true, the deep, and the real blues, this one’s for you.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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