Stony Plain Records announces a March 18 release date for They Called It Rhythm & Blues, the exciting new CD from double Grammy-nominated and multi-Blues Music Award-winning guitarist Duke Robillard. All 18 tracks from the new album will also be released on vinyl on August 5th.
Joining the guitar maestro (who also produced) on They Called It Rhythm & Blues is an all-star cast of special guests, including John Hammond, Kim Wilson, Sue Foley, Sugar Ray Norcia, Michelle Willson, Chris Cote, Bruce Bears, Marty Ballou, Mark Teixeira, Doug James, Mike Flanigin, Mark Earley, Doug Woolverton and Matt McCabe.
The Duke Robillard Band will celebrate the release of the new album with two special shows in March: The Narrows in Fall River, Mass. on March 25 and The Center for the Arts in Natick, Mass. March 26.
Duke Robillard has been defined not only as a great artist, but also as a true historian, scholar and curator adept at electric and acoustic blues, jazz, jump, swing, ballads and standards. He proves it with the fluidity he shows on the 18 tracks of this album which visits the music that defined what we ended up calling “Rhythm & Blues”. Grammy-nominated and five-time Blues Music Award winner for top guitarist, over his more than 50-year career, Duke has been a prolific songwriter and is considered a master of the blues guitar.
Duke Robillard praises his special guests on They Called It Rhythm & Blues and the magic they helped create in the studio. “I have to say that I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the sessions for this album. It’s just a damn good representation of my band, the guest artists and the music we chose to record. I also added some of my own songs written for the occasion, and it makes a pretty complete set, I think.
“Chris Cote, who took over most of my band’s vocals from our Blues Bash CD, has been a great addition to the band. He’s a powerful singer who can literally sing anything. Her fiery six vocals give the album a pretty high bar to start with. And he’s a great guitarist too!
“I’ve worked with Doug James since the early 70’s and he spent several years as a member of the DRB. On many tracks here Doug is the whole horn section. He’s done an amazing job and thanks to use of the right ribbon mic by engineer Graham Mellor, Mister Low’s sound was captured like never before.
“Mark Earley and Doug Woolverton also added great depth to the tracks on which they played saxophone and trumpet. As far as guest vocals go, I’ve been fortunate to have so many great artists help out. John Hammond, whom I’ve called my friend since the 1970s and who I’ve toured extensively with and recorded with and co-produced on his album Found True Love. Recording with John is always a pleasure. On this session, once we had sounds, it was playing live and killing it in a take or two. Part of the reason for doing more than one take was to prolong the joyous experience. John is always active and it’s always a pleasure extreme to play with.
“There was a Mickey and Sylvia track that I always wanted to do called ‘No Good Lover’, and Sue Foley was quick to accept the track and the idea of recording it with me. I wrote a tribute instrument to Bill Jennings, Billy Butler, Bill Doggett and Wild Bill Davis and Sue and Mike Flanigin agreed to record both tracks remotely in Austin, TX I’m really excited by how they came out of and ‘No Good Lover’ will be our first video for the album!
“Former Thunderbird-era bandmate Kim Wilson was up for a guest and we picked two of his early tracks that he originally recorded with the T-Birds. I’m so damn glad the result personally! Kim kills both tunes like he always does – of course. Matt McCabe plays piano on “Tell Me Why.”
“Michelle Willson, aka ‘The Evil Gal’, gladly added her expertise to two tracks that show off her R&B rock side with ‘Champagne Mind’ and her very deep blues side with her amazing reading of ‘Trouble in Mind’.
“I’ve known Sugar Ray Norcia for too many decades to count and anyone who’s a real fan of deep Chicago and also Jumpin’ R&B knows he’s one of the heaviest cats as a singer and as a giant of the blues harmonica. Ray’s rendition of Tampa Red’s “Rambler Blues,” which originally had Big Walter Horton on harp, was the perfect vehicle for Ray to pay homage to his old friend Big Walter. Ray suggested “She’s My Baby” by Jimmy Nelson, which I didn’t know, but it was really a great choice! Again Ray found a way to make his harp fit the melody perfectly and again there are echoes of the great Big Walter here, but at the same time it’s pure Sugar Ray!