blues and more from the duke

Temptation (Pointblank)

Duke Robillard

By Jeff Walter

Duke Robillard, co-founder of Roomful of Blues, onetime Fab T-Bird and current Louisvillian, is more than capable of playing in a variety of musical styles. Like so many of the greats, however, he lets the blues shine through in everything he does, from jazz to R&B to rock 'n' roll.

His latest effort, Temptation, is a tasty eleven-song sampler that is drenched in the blues without being anchored to them. Several songs on this self-produced disc feature nontraditional, perhaps even mechanical-sounding, beats that will have you thinking, "This is the blues?" But once Duke ignites the track with his fiery guitar work, you will have no doubt.

In addition to playing acoustic and electric guitars, Robillard, who wrote or cow-rote most of the songs, adds texture with Dobro and, on one song, even electric sitar.

Highlights include a duet with Susan Forrest (who?) on "Never Been Satisfied," which starts off as a smooth and soulful R&B number before the two singers cut loose on the chorus; the spare, jazzy "This Dream," in which Robillard's guitar duels with trumpets over a conga-based beat; and the driving "Life's Funny." Even on the album-closing "What' s Wrong," which is yet another rewrite of Muddy Waters' "I'm a Man" riff, Robillard soars with intensity and feeling.

This disc might not satisfy you if you're a blues purist, but if you appreciate a little variety, give in to this Temptation.