Robert Randolph & the Family Band
Every once in a while something just a little more excellent comes along. Pedal-steel-playing gospel-funk-rocker Robert Randolph’s new disc Unclassified is indeed unclassifiable. Influences like Stevie Ray Vaughan, P-Funk, Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone can all be heard, but Randolph’s Family Band and sound are unique. Coming up through the Sacred Steel church movement and winning out over the mean streets of New Jersey, Randolph has a sound that totally gets down but not low down. There is a soaring musical positivity that can actually put a lump in your throat. This gospel is all about love of the music. The 11 tracks are dynamically varied with great vocals by Randolph and bass player Danyel Morgan, but the main action is Randolph’s furious, hard-driving, ecstatic steel playing. I couldn’t recommend this more highly.