Robert Randolph was a trouble-child who lived in New Jersey. His local church changed his life by loaning him a pedal steel. He soon began playing with them and other local musicians.
Working with other young musicians, including his cousins and future Family Band members Danyel Morgan on bass and Marcus Randolph on drums, Robert quickly became a fixture at the church. His playing developed rapidly within the tradition, and he might have stayed on that course, content to play on Sundays and work day jobs during the week
Robert Randolph is very talented on the pedal. He is extremely quick and fuses gosepl and soul into the band. He is compared to SRV or Clapton (which I somewhat disagree with because he plays a different instrument than both) in a sense that he has a great sense of riffs and can spice up his songs. Danyel Morgan is also talented too. He has very catchy slap lines (most noticeably More Love) and is quite funky. He primarily plays fingerstyle and slap but also accompanies Robert with an acoustic guitar. He and Robert are the bulk of the melody/band, in my opinion. Marcus Randolph and John Ginty are both great accompaniment with rums and keyboards, respectively. They mainly help provide the base for Robert Randolph and Danyel in this album.
The Family Band is a great band that has many influences, drawing from funk, soul, calypso, and gospel. They are also part of the Bonarroo festival "scene."
Going in the Right Direction
Starts off with Robert's soulful playing and some acoustic guitars. Quickly starts up into an upbeat sing somplete with tambourines and quick pedal riffs. Uplifting lyrics. Background organ. Bordering on funk. The bridge is very obiously gospel influenced. Nice song and great start. 4/5
I Need More Love
Danyel's playing on this track is quite funky and catchy. Starts off with ten or so seconds of his 6-string slap intro. Quickly moves into a catchy verse. Robert and Danyel sing. Primarily bass and drums up until the verse. Then the pedal takes over. Group vocals in the chorus. Nice solo in bridge. Clapping reminiscent of funky-gospel (again). 5/5
Bluesy pedal riff/intro. Moderate Tempo. Again, primarily steel and slap-bass. Near the bridge it gets into a call and response verse muhc like old slave/gospel songs. That's where it picks up. It goes into a faster call/response for a while then ends witha riff pulled straight out of Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Chile. Funky love song. 4/5
This is a break from the faster previous tracks. It is mainly vocals with pedal and acoustic guitars. It is refreshing to hear; along with nice vocals, yet when I listen to them, I want their heavier side, not soft. 3.5/5
Starts with slow soulful pedal playing. Just when you are expecting the song to get into a slow tempo the bass kicks in with a loud slap line. The song then goes into a rhythmic intro with Robert soloing over the top. It occasionally goes into a couple bars that are more melodic and then it leads up into the "chorus" again. The bridge is where everything picks up and culminates with the organ leading them. The song makes you wonder if there are more than four guys in this band. Well-crafted Instrumental. 5/5
A great duet featuring two women, Lenesha Randolph and Candice Anderson. They have great voices which only adds to the emotion of this song. This song is mainly pedal/acoustic and bass harmonizing with organ backing the vocals. The instrumentation and vocals climax and then drop back into the verse. Melodic playing and inspirational vocals. 5/5
Good Times(3 Stroke)
Hendrix-esque pedal intro. The song quickly kicks off into a funky tempo. Organ and bass primarily with drums keeping a steady beat. Pedal soloing over the top. It peaks and then drops back into the chorus. After some of this, it leaves you wanting more. The song slowly drops. It then kicks back into a whole new beat with lots of wahed-pedal guitar and bass slapping. This part, though brief, is so well crafted into the song that it makes it very enjoyable to listen to.
Why Should I Feel Lonely
The bass starts off playing a melodic line while the pedal solos over the top. Slow tempo. Kicks into a funky verse with great bass playing. I love this song. Probably best on the album. It combines their instrumentation, funk, and emotion. 5/5
Just what the name implies: caypso. Santana-esque. A bit of a cool-down. Instrumental. 4/5
Once again, a melodic bass intro with strumming and harmonics. Inspiring lyrics and slow tempo. 3.5/5
Run for your Life
Quick paced playing. Gospel. Instrumental. A great summary of their playing for their first album. 4/5
Overall, Robert Randolph and the Family Band combine many influences. Most of which I have previously named: Funk, soul, gospel. I would recommend them for anyone interested in any of those genres, as they do a great job to combine them. Also anyone interested in hearing great instrumentation should give these guys a listen. They are quite talented and a nice change from today's music.