Robert Randolph and the Family Band, ‘Lickety Split’ (Blue Note)
Looking for new ingredients to stir into his already infectious mix, the master of “sacred steel” (pedal steel slide guitar) turns up the volume and hardens the edges here with a New Orleans party feel and even a novelty funk number. Nothing wrong with that, but the new stuff highlights just how irresistible and foot-tapping Randolph’s slinky, curling licks can be on his more traditionally sanctified material, such as “Born Again” and “Get Ready.”
Lenesha Randolph (this really is a family band) takes a sweet turn over the rolling beat of “New Orleans” and the Crescent City theme continues with an assist by Trombone Shorty on “Take the Party.” Carlos Santana lends a welcome hand on “Brand New Wayo” and the chattering “Blacky Joe.”
The title track, appropriately, sports the catchiest lick and “Love Roller Coaster,” an Ohio Players tune featuring a guy talking back to a female chorus, is the silliest. “Welcome Home” is an amped up anthem with thick harmonies, followed by the animated, hard-hitting closer, “Good Lovin,’ ” familiar to all from the Young Rascals.
Other new releases
Sara Bareilles, “The Blessed Unrest” (Epic)
Pet Shop Boys, “Blessed” (X2)
Matt Nathanson, “Last of the Great Pretenders” (Vanguard)