For Robert Randolph & the Family Band, the three year break after 2010's somewhat stilted-sounding We Walk This Road was well deserved. By Randolph's own admission, their 280 date-per-year touring pace had taken its toll: playing music, let alone trying to find time to create it, had become a chore. Their Blue Note debut, Lickety Split, features an expanded FB lineup that includes vocalist Lenesha Randolph and guitarist Brett Haas; the group has gone back to its earliest recorded efforts for inspiration while furthering their new music considerably. The end result resembles their live sound more than any studio record in their catalog.
Co-produced by the FB with Randolph's songwriting partners, it was primarily engineered and edited by Eddie Kramer, and mixed by Jim Scott. Opener "Amped Up" delivers the FB's trademark party-time meld of screaming hard rock, funk, gospel, blues, and R&B, all at full-tilt and in the raw. "Born Again" delivers the band's signature gospel message with celebration. The gorgeous call-and-response vocals between the Randolphs, and guest Bekka Bramlett, and the meaty, contrasting guitar interplay between Robert and Haas, are irresistible. Soul, Cajun-country, and gospel are at the heart of the dreamy yet earthy Lenesha-led, "New Orleans." Speaking of NOLA, Trombone Shorty lends his horn and energy to the gospelized, Crescent City-flavored stomp of "Take the Party." Carlos Santana makes two appearances here as well. On the driving funk of "Brand New Wayo," he delivers a fine, overdriven B.B. King nod when prompted by Randolph, while bassist Daniel Morgan lets his Bootsy freak flag fly and pushes the tune into the red. The rangy, pulsing hard rock gospel blues in the title track gets high marks for Randolph's tasty fills and the soulful vocal exchanges. The cover of the Ohio Players' "Love Rollercoaster" has its horns supplanted beautifully by the color palette from Randolph's pedal steel, and Morgan's knotty, funky bassline. The other cover here is an off-your-seat-and-on-your-feet reading of the Rascals' "Good Lovin," with Dwan Hill adding his B-3 to the mix and trading fours with Randolph, sending it all off in party-down version of a Möbius strip. Lickety Split is not only a joyous, unhindered return to form, but the group's finest studio offering to date.
|Amped Up||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||3:18|
|Born Again||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||4:21|
|New Orleans||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||4:12|
|Take the Party||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||4:10|
|Brand New Wayo||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||4:36|
|Lickety Split||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||4:03|
|Blacky Joe||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||5:51|
|Love Rollercoaster||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||3:13|
|All American||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||2:44|
|Get Ready||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||5:09|
|Welcome Home||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||6:12|
|Good Lovin'||Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Robert Randolph||2:55|