Album Review: ‘In a Roomful of Blues’ by Roomful of Blues

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Roomful of Blues, in over five decades of playing, have established themselves as one of the most accomplished blues bands in existence. Their latest release, In A Roomful Of Blues, released March 13th is their sixth recording on the iconic Alligator Records label, and is available on their website. Roomful is an apt word to describe the eight-piece band, as it includes a vocalist, guitarist, keyboards, rhythm section and a three-piece horns ensemble.

They kick things off with “What Can I Do?,” a song that was actually the B-side of a 45 sung by Buddy Ace back in 1961 on the classic Duke label. It’s a swinging number with the punch of the horn section and accented by keyboard flourishes.

The thirteen track collection covers a broad range, including swing, jump blues, some funk, ballads, rock, and more. The song that perhaps best showcases the band as a whole is “Have You Heard?,” a zydeco tinged tune that displays the full, lush sound of Roomful, without stepping on each other’s toes and losing any of the instrumentation in the mix.

Other highlights include “We’d Have A Love Sublime,” which chugs along like an old locomotive, steadily gaining steam along the way; “Too Much Boogie,” a call and response Doc Pomus song; and the closer, “I Can’t Wait,” which will leave listeners snapping their fingers and wanting more from this polished group of musicians. The band is tentatively scheduled to appear at Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York on April 25, pending developments and decisions regarding COVID-19.

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