There have always been Big Sticks in Louisville, Kentucky. In the world of vintage guitars, there’s Jimmy Brown’s Guitar Emporium. Guitarist Jimmy Raney and his son, Doug, have kept the jazz world on its ear for decades. The Louisville Slugger (both the bat manufacturer and Muhammed Ali) could both lay claim to the original “Big Stick” title. For the millennium, the mantle most definitely falls on the shoulders of guitarist-in-residence Duke Robillard.
With this release, his first for the Shanachie label and his lucky 13th overall, the Duke of Louisville continues to let the many facets of his emerging style shine.
From the lone cover, Charlie Patton’s “Pony Blues,” to the Ben E. King-inspired “You’re The Only One,” Robillard continually stretches the genre. As always, he makes it work. It’s only a matter of time until you see his name on the credits of a Hollywood soundtrack.
With the majority of the disc recorded live and overdubs kept to a minimum, the CD has a tremendous presence. “Jumps right out of the grooves,” as they used to say. And there are more than enough grooves to keep it jumpin! Shanachie 9017 www. shanachie.com
This review originally appeared in VG‘s June ’99 issue.