Take the Gamble

  • 2006
  • Take the Gamble
  • Dave Gross
  • SwingNation Records


This is the second album for Dave Gross, a young singer, guitarist, and song composer. It was produced by Duke Robillard, the outstanding contemporary blues guitarist and arranger, and features horns, harmonica, keyboard, and rhythm section as well as Gross’s lead guitar.

Gross’s fondness for Robillard’s musical prowess and legacy, and Robillard’s nostalgia for the sound of Roomful of Blues, the eminent and still-cooking blues band which he founded in the early 1970s, are both evident. (Robillard and three other musicians featured on this album are Roomful alumni.) Gross’s guitar playing is always competent and often exciting, but he has a long way to go before reaching the peak of instrumental artistry that Robillard now commands. Nine of the 13 songs were penned by Gross, and none is destined to be a classic or even a standard; in several, the lyrics are embarrassingly weak, cliched, or corny. Most strikingly, Gross’s vocals sound eerily like Robillard’s, with the same reedy intonation and enthusiastic but limited range.

It’s no wonder that Duke Robillard produced this album and praises its eponymous star. Robillard and Gross have reproduced Roomful of Blues on this CD in everything but name and high quality. The result is tasty, but derivative and predictable.