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Robert Randolph & The Family Band

Colorblind | Warner Bros.
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  October 17, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars
Following extensive touring with Eric Clapton that raised this former Pentecostal Church pedal-steel player’s profile, Warner Bros. is giving Randolph’s new CD an official big-label push. But Colorblind is so dizzily hyperactive, it sounds ready to jump on its own. And that’s a good thing. The disc captures the adrenal rush of the live shows from Randolph and his cousins, a hypercaffeinated mix of classic rock, blues, slow-grind R&B, and Sly Stone–style funk — especially the funk and the rock — delivered with pinwheel energy. Randolph comes off as a master melodist with ADD, inventing sweet lines and almost instantly tossing them aside for fresh ones in jacked-up tracks like “Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That,” a celebration of his stylistic plurality that kicks off with a nod to Beck, Bogert & Appice’s “Superstition.” And “Diane” cops its propulsive lick from local boy Joe Perry. These days, Randolph occasionally tempers his mad-hatter riffery with a new-found vocal command that he uses to revisit his gospel and blues bedrock, turning “Angels” and “Stronger” into prayers of lust or deliverance. (Just which is up to interpretation thanks to vague but clever lyrics.) The only real misstep is a by-numbers cover of the Doobie Brothers hit “Jesus Is Just Alright,” with Clapton delivering an anonymous guest performance.
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