Roomful of Blues

Raisin’ a Ruckus

After nearly 40 years on the scene, Roomful of Blues knows what its fan base expects, and on the band’s 19th album (not counting compilations and reissues) they don’t disappoint. With solid backing from the three-man horn section—alto/tenor saxman Rich Lataille (the only original member left), trumpeter Bob Enos (who passed on last month) and tenor/baritone saxist Mark Early—the eight-piece band works out on 14 songs that include both straight-ahead blues and pop-cum-rock, the latter seemingly de rigueur for blues bands these days. Among the band’s originals, tenorman Early’s “Talkin’ to You Eye to Eye” has the kind of tricky lyrics and hot riffs typical of Louis Jordan’s Tympany Five—great sax solos, too! Vocalist Dave Howard, whose gruff voice lends added authority to the band’s repertory, checks in with his “Lower on Your List of Priorities,” a jumping ditty about a jilted lover (“I used to hear sweet love in your voice ….”). The CD’s real meat, however, lies in the blues of “Black Night,” (taken at a near funereal pace); “Boogie Woogie Country Girl” (popularized by Big Joe Turner, with whom the band recorded 25 years ago) and the ripping “I Would Be a Sinner.”