Hearing Aide: Robert Randolph & The Family Band “Lickety Split”

Robert Randolph and the Family Band have been around since the days of The Wetlands in New York City. The bands first release, Live at the Wetlands, saw the group capture one of their legendary performances at the venue, while Unclassified had the group capture that sound and energy in a studio setting.  Both Colorblind and We Walk This Road strayed from the sound that the group established, while broadening their overall musical horizons. Lickety Split is a great return to form from the band that has them reaching back and bringing that original live energy back into the studio, while adding in the new musicianship from the previous two albums; the blend of these makes for a wonderful listen.

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The album starts off quick with “Amped Up”, signalling that the album is going to be one to party and dance to; it’s a rocker that shows off the band’s skills with each player getting plenty of room to work with.  The next two songs have a gospel blues feel with Lenesha Randolph owning the song completely; having grown up in the church, Robert is always one to include some gospel into his repertoire.  “Take the Party” features Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and blows the listener away thanks to great pedal steel work by Robert and Troy absolutely killing it on his horn – truly a wild upbeat song from beginning to end. A funky disco beat welcomes in “Brand New Wayo” that sees Robert team up with the legendary Carlos Santana.  The two guitarists trade licks back and forth throughout the song and you cannot help but dance around while listening to this track.  Two covers, “Love Rollercoaster” by The Ohio Players and “Good Lovin’” by The Young Rascals, appear in the second half of the album and give it a boost.  “Good Lovin’” especially is meant for Robert and the Family Band.  They stay true to the 60’s tune while still giving it their own trademark sound.

Lickety Split shows that Robert Randolph and the Family band are refocused on their music and produced a very strong album.  The tunes will definitely come alive when he goes out on his upcoming tour that will see him hit the Upstate region this fall.

Key Tracks: Amped Up, Take the Party, Brand New Wayo