Multi-Grammy Nominee and Four-Time Blues Music Award-Winner Duke Robillard’s Lost Album Finally Gets a Release: Roll With Me Coming Out August 30 Via Stony Plain Records

Article Contributed by Mark Pucci Media | Published on Monday, June 24, 2024

Stony Plain Records announces an August 30 release date for Roll With Me, the new album from two-time Grammy nominee and four-time Blues Music Award-winning guitarist Duke Robillard.

“Back in the early 2000’s I was given the OK to start a new blues album for Stony Plain,” Duke Robillard explains about the new album’s genesis.  “It was a very prolific period for me, and somehow after recording nine hot blues tracks, I got another album concept and we started another album session. I said we’d get back to the blues album soon after finishing the new project. As things sometimes go, we got busy with gigging, touring and life, and the blues album we cut kept getting put aside and we kept coming up with new album concepts within months of release of the last one.

“Finally, after two decades and dozens of recordings, we got to the place where it was time for my final Stony Plain record.  All this time, I knew we had to get back to the album we had started back in 2005. I knew those tracks were really strong, but until I listened to them again, I didn’t realize just how strong they really were.”

On Roll With Me, Robillard pays blazing tribute to Texas immortal Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown on “You Got Money” and the instrumental “Boogie Uproar;” legendary blues shouter Big Joe Turner on a piano-driven “Boogie Woogie Country Girl” and New Orleans kingpin Fats Domino on the rumba-rocking “Are You Going My Way.” There’s also a trio of Chicago blues classics from the respective songbooks of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Eddie Boyd. Duke’s vocals connect with the same power as his razor-sharp guitar (Chris Cote takes over at the mic for “Look What You’ve Done” and “You Got Money”).

Duke invited some heavy hitters to back him up. Pianist Matt McCabe is on all but two tracks (those feature Bruce Bears), while bassist Marty Ballou and drummer Mark Teixeira keep the rhythm section cooking. Doug James and Rich Lataille are among the muscular saxophonists; Sugar Ray Norcia guests on harp for “Look What You’ve Done.” Duke cools the tempo down to lights-out level for an elegant “Give Me Back My Money,” but the title track sums the mood up: this album hurtles forward like a hard-charging midnight express.

Recorded at Duke's Mood Room in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, by Thom Hiller and Lakewest Recording in West Greenwich, R.I. by John Paul Gauthier, Roll With Me is the latest in a long and distinguished series of albums the guitarist has made for Holger Petersen’s Canadian indie Stony Plain. Their working relationship harks back to 1993, when the two met at a folk festival in Winnipeg. Petersen was the executive producer on Robillard’s album, Duke’s Blues the next year. Duke developed into a Stony Plain mainstay with Stretchin’ Out Live (1998), Living with the Blues (2002), Exalted Lover (2003), Blue Mood—The Songs of T-Bone Walker (2004), Guitar Groove-A-Rama (2006), Duke Robillard’s World Full of Blues (2007) and The Acoustic Blues of Duke Robillard (2015).

“I’m traveling and playing all over the world still, so this is definitely not a farewell record,” Robillard happily reports.  Now it’s time to roll with Duke!

ROLL WITH ME Track Listing and Credits - Produced by Duke Robillard

The players:

Duke Robillard - guitar and vocals (all vocals except track 6 and 9 by Chris Cote)
Mark Teixeira - drums on all tracks
Marty Ballou - acoustic and electric bass on all tracks (except tracks 6 and 9)
Brad Hallen - bass on tracks 6 and 9
Matt McCabe - piano on all tracks (except tracks 6 and 9 by Bruce Bears)
Chris Cote - vocals on track 6 and 9
Doug James - baritone and tenor saxophone on all tracks (except 6 and 9)
Rich Lataille - alto and tenor saxophone on tracks 2 and 5
Pam Murray - trombone on all tracks except 6 and 9
Doug Woolverton - trumpet (track 9)
Mark Earley tenor - and baritone saxophone (track 9)
Sugar Ray Norcia - harmonica (track 6)
Carl Querfurth - trombone (tracks 2 and 5)
Al Basile - cornet (tracks 2 and 5)

The songs:

    Bluecoat Man  (Eddie Boyd)
     Just Kiss Me  (Duke Robillard)
    Are You Going My Way  (Antoine Domino)
    I Know You Love Me  (Joe Turner)
    Boogie Uproar (Clarence Brown)
    Look What You Done  (McKinley Morganfield)
    Built For Comfort  (Willie Dixon)
    My Plea  (Duke Robillard)
    You Got Money (Clarence Brown)
    Boogie Woogie Country Girl  (Joe Turner)
    Give Me Back My Money  (Duke Robillard)
    Don’t You Want To Roll Will Me (Duke Robillard)

Duke’s song notes:

1. “Blue Coat Man” an Eddie Boyd tune I always loved. Mark Teixeira is the drummer on every tune on this album and a big part of why this record swings so much. Marty Ballou is also the bassist on the original nine tracks. The traditional but solid rocking piano on these first tracks is by Matt McCabe. Matt really shines on this material.

2. “Just Kiss Me” is a tune I wrote while in Roomful. I consider it one of my best blues compositions. First recorded on the first DR and the Pleasure Kings album, I finally got to record it the way it was meant to sound, with five horns on it.

3. “Are You Going My Way” is a tune by Fats Domino. Written by Fats and trumpeter and producer Dave Bartholomew. Another tune that shows off Matt McCabe’s new Orleans chops. And also Doug James tenor sax honkin’ R&B playing.

4.”I Know You Love Me” has always been one of my favorite Joe Turner songs. I’ve always loved singing it. Again Matt does a great job channeling Van Walls unique piano style. Doug wails a few great blues choruses and Pam Murray’s trombone gives this whole recording a different and special sound that’s not on any other album of mine.

5. “Boogie Uproar” is my tribute to Gatemouth Brown and his great band of the fifties. Added in for this tune along with “Just Kiss Me” are Carl Querfurth on trombone, along with Pam Murray, Al Basile on cornet and Rich Lataille on alto sax.

6. “Look What You Done” This tune was cut and, recorded during the making of Calling All Blues. For one reason or another, it didn’t get finished, probably because of my ailing vocal cords. So, when we needed to fill the album with a few more tracks we had quite a few possibilities. Current DR band vocalist Chris Cote did an excellent job on it and we brought in the great vocalist and harp master Sugar Ray Norcia for the harp and “boom,” another additional track ready to go….

7. “Built for Comfort” was another unfinished track left over from the, Guitar Groove A Rama album, which was awarded a Grammy nomination in 2017. I imagine I was frightened to tackle a Wolf tune knowing that no one compares to Wolf. Upon hearing the track, I decided I should try it and I managed to pull it off without impersonating Wolf. Seven years after cutting the track I faced my fear, and I’m glad I did!

8. “My Plea” is another song of mine I wrote in Roomful. It was one of the original nine tracks for the album started in 2005. It ended up on The Pleasure Kings first album. At the time I wrote it, I was listening to a lot of Louisiana music and swamp pop. I looked at this one as my “Freddy Fender” song. On this version, after my solo, Pam Murray takes a really effective lazy but emotional trombone solo. I am very happy with the way this came out. It has the vibe I originally intended.

9. “You Got Money” is another track left over from Calling all Blues. When we cut the track with Bruce Bears, Brad Hallen, Mark Teixeira and Roomful horn men Rich Lataille, Mark Earley and Doug Woolverton, it sounded great, but I found the key was too high for my voice. So, it sat on the shelf until now when Chris Cote had no problem with the key.

10. “Boogie Woogie Country Girl” is another of my favorite later Joe Turner songs. Again, another one of the original nine tracks for this record. Matt, Mark, Marty, Doug and Pam provide the perfect feeling and groove for this great Doc Pomus tune. I am a lucky man to have had the chance to write several songs with Doc, What an honor!

11. “Give Me Back My Money” is a tune I wrote for this session. Stylistically, we move more toward a ‘60s-style blues tune. It fits in amongst all the ‘40s and ‘50s style blues songs here, nonetheless. This is another of the nine original tracks intended for this album.

12. “Don’t You Want to Roll with Me” is an early song of mine that became Roomful’s first single backed with Louis Armstrong’s classic “I’ll be glad when you’re Dead You Rascal You” on our own Roomtone label. It’s funny how a 45 with barely any distribution can circulate far and wide! It gained attention, especially in California, where many blues and R&B lovers wanted to hear more and folks started mailing cassettes back and forth. In the early ‘70s, this was a sort of anthem for drinking, dancing and having fun. Ah, the good old days!           

About Duke Robillard:

Woonsocket, Rhode Island native Duke Robillard is a legacy blues artist who launched his career with Roomful of Blues in 1967, joined the Fabulous Thunderbirds, played with the Legendary Blues Band, was one-third of the New Guitar Summit, leads his own band and continues to do solo shows, now in his 75th year. With 37 of his own albums plus contributing to dozens more with other artists, Duke is a master of Blues, Swing, Jump Blues and Jazz, and has won the Best Blues Guitarist WC Handy Award twice. He is twice Grammy nominated, has won four Blues Music Awards as Best Guitarist, four Maple Blues Awards for International Artist, the Keeping The Blues Alive Award for record production, and is ranked among the World’s Best Blues Artists by DownBeat and Living Blues. As a session guitarist and producer, Duke has recorded with Bob Dylan, John Hammond, Ruth Brown, Billy Boy Arnold, Rosco Gordon, Jay McShann, Jimmy Witherspoon, Maria Muldaur, Pinetop Perkins, Joe Louis Walker, Johnny Adams and many more.