Robert Randolph and the Family Band – Brighter Days
Provogue Records (August 23rd)
Reviewer: Paul Saripo
The opening track is ‘Baptise Me‘ a stand out, solid blues rock number that really hooks you into the rhythm and depth of the music. A great opener for the album and insight in what’s to follow.
Next is the albums only cover song ‘Simple Man‘, originally by ‘Pops Staples‘, this rendition is smooth and offers some new dimension with the pedal steel work. Whilst not presented quite as personal as Pops, its sole full and arranged well.
Lenesha Randolph takes up lead vocals on ‘Cry Over Me‘ whilst Robert concentrates on working the steel guitar in a relaxed sliding swill allowing room for Lenesha’ fantastic vocal lines. A good compliment of instrumental breaks to really push some fast right hand and pedal work of Robert’s steal.
‘Second Hand Man‘ is percussive and drives a deep farrow with a sprinkle of a jazz feel at times.
‘Have Mercy‘, is a soulful gospel duet that is held together by a solid bass line from Danyel Morgan and the melodic pedal guitar woven into the track.
Next up is somewhat slower vocally yet still upbeat on the steel that has a voice in synergy and a bonding part of this album.
‘I’m Living Off The Love You Give‘ picks up the beat and delivers in a car wash jive beat with whip steel string work.
‘Cut Em Loose‘ has some fast and prominent work on the pedal steel guitar, leaving the hook of the refrain to combine and invite you in to join.
‘Don’t Fight‘ is built with a variety musical styles presented in medley fashion with influences of T-Bone Walker then midway into the song following a crescendo a riff developed and I was reminded of Soft Cell with the early 80’s Tainted Love
The album concludes with ‘Strange Train‘ a large anthem track with everyone pushing the tempo and keeping balance and use of a the lap steal in prominence over the pedal.
Overall an enjoyable album, unique rock blues gospel with an upbeat feel.