One of the most prolific six-stringers of the last three decades, Duke Robillard has averaged a new album annually since he left Roomful of Blues in the mid-1980s.
He goes unplugged here and the sound is positively old-timey. In addition to the guitar, Robillard also plays the dobro, uke, tenor harp, mandolin and cümbüs. And the man can play them all outstandingly. Although he presents a handful of decent originals, the highlights here are the traditional songs. Of the older blues, Big Bill Broonzy’s “Big Bill Blues,” John Estes’ “Someday Baby,” Robert Jr. Lockwood’s “Take A Little Walk With Me” and Eddie Miller’s “I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water” are strong vehicles for Robillard’s approach. There’s also some traditional mountain music in the mix, including the Delmore Brothers’ “Nashville Blues,” ole Hank’s “Let Turn Back the Years” and Jimmie Rodgers’ “Jimmie’s Texas Blues.”
The strongest tracks can be heard back-to-back halfway into the set. Robillard teams up with vocalist Sunny Crownover for an absolutely haunting take of Robbie Robertson’s “Evangeline,” a song that is especially meaningful to folks around this way. The other track, “Left Handed,” is both clever and downright hilarious. Robillard also gets some help from Maria Muldaur, who is featured vocalist on the risque “Santa Claus Blues,” and the legendary Jay McShann, who is behind the 88s on “Profoundly Blue.” Quite a pleasant listen from beginning to end.
The perfect listen for when you’re sitting on the porch with a glass of lemonade or something a little harder.