Early in Robert Randolph’s career, his over-the-top gospel-infused pedal steel playing burned with desire, frequently veering into on-the-edge Hendrixesque territory. A good thing then, this live album reveals what a little time and maturity can do. Randolph’s still-stellar playing shows increased restraint (though no less intensity) and allows The Family Band equal footing. The disc opens with vocal/guitar harmonization and scorching licks of “Traveling Shoes,” followed by the instrumental tour staple “Squeeze.” Whether a song’s gospel-, rock- or blues-based, the band adeptly plays tightly to Randolph’s exaggerations, whether they are slow and greasy or fast and furious. The set also features choice covers from The Staple Singers, Prince and Earth, Wind & Fire. Fittingly, Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” finishes things off in explosive style. By & © Glenn BurnSilver Published: 2011/12/23 © Relix Media Group LLC. All Rights Reserved http://www.relix.com/reviews/cds/2011/12/23/robert-randolph-and-the-family-band-live-in-concert
Robert Randolph & the Family Band is an American blues, funk, rock, Gospel, Soul and 'Jam' band who started their career in 2002. It is composed of Robert Randolph (guitar and vocals), Marcus Randolph (drums), Danyel Morgan (bass) and Jason Crosby (keyboards). Robert Randolph was once rated by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the all time 100 greatest guitarists. This album is the band's first live album since their 2002 debut album, Live at the Wetlands. The twelve tracks were recorded across the United States during his 2011 nationwide tour. The album includes band classics like "Squeeze" and "If I Had My Way." The latter features Blind Boys Of Alabama's Joey Williams, who also plays on Prince's "Walk Don't Walk." Susan Tedeschi, Ryan Shaw, Chuck Campbell and Nigel Hall join in on the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There" while Shaw, Tommy Sims, Ryan Scott and The Monophonic Horns guest on Earth, Wind & Fire's classic "Shining Star." The album also includes a powerful version of Jimi Hendrix's classic "Purple Haze." Listen to Robert Randolph & The Family Band's terrific "Unclassified" album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 147 Mb]
TRACKS / COMPOSERS
1. Traveling Shoes - Burnett, Randolph, Tonio K.
2. Squeeze - Randolph, Morgan
3. Don't Change - Gray, Hamlin
4. Sacred Steel - Randolph
5. If I Had My Way - Burnett, Johnson, Randolph, Tonio K.
6. Electric Church - Randolph
7. Peekaboo - Randolph
8. I'll Take You There - Bell
9. Walk Don't Walk - Prince
10. Back To The Wall - Gray
11. Shining Star - White, Dunn, Bailey
12. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
A virtuoso on the pedal steel guitar, Robert Randolph set the music world on fire in 2000 when he began playing his first club dates in New York City. Randolph started playing the instrument as a church-going teenager in Orange, NJ, a small city just outside of Newark. He regularly attended the House of God Church, an African-American Pentecostal denomination that had been implementing steel guitars (or "Sacred Steel") in services since the '30s, with the pedal steel in particular being introduced during the '70s. Randolph learned to play by watching other steel players during church services; years later, he updated that sacred basis with a secular mix of funk and soul, giving a new multicultural facelift to an instrument that had often been associated with country music. In early 2000, Jim Markel heard Randolph play at the Sacred Steel Convention in Florida and subsequently introduced him to his friend, Gary Waldman. Together, Waldman and Markel began to manage Randolph's career, which took flight after Matt Hickey, a talent buyer at Manhattan's Bowery Ballroom, signed Randolph on as the opening act for the North Mississippi Allstars. Within a month, Randolph had graduated to the Beacon Theater, where he played alongside Medeski, Martin & Wood. Keyboardist John Medeski enjoyed Randolph's playing so much that he asked him to record an instrumental gospel/blues album with the band. The resulting record, The Word, was released in August 2001 to great critical and popular acclaim. Randolph's own group, the Family Band, includes cousins Danyell Morgan and Marcus Randolph (bass and drums, respectively) and John Ginty (Hammond B-3 organ). The band's career began with opening gigs for a variety of blues, jazz-funk, and jam bands such as the Derek Trucks Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, and Soulive; headlining gigs became the norm within a few months' time. Robert Randolph & the Family Band released Live at the Wetlands in fall 2001, capturing the band's live performance at the legendary Wetlands venue shortly before it closed. The group's studio debut, Unclassified, followed in 2003 and introduced Randolph to an even wider audience. One new fan was veteran guitarist Eric Clapton, who brought the band out on tour and appeared on Robert Randolph's third release, Colorblind, in 2006. In 2010, Randolph teamed-up with producer T-Bone Burnett and released the album We Walk This Road which featured guest appearances from Ben Harper, Leon Russell and Doyle Bramhall II. © Ann Wickstrom © 2012 Rovi Corp | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/robert-randolph-mn0000288350