Robert Randolph, the slide guitar jam/rock/blues phenomenon who’s been captivating global audiences for a decade, announced to reporters assembled at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Music Festival in Madison Square Garden that his long-awaited new album is titled Lickety Split. The new record is Randolph’s first for Blue Note Records and will be released July 16. Lickety Split represents the first new studio album for Randolph & The Family Band in three years.
“This record has elements from all of our earlier records,” Randolph explains. “There are cool songs with lots of guitar and we can see the growth of our band in the new recordings. With this record we got to reconnect with the originality and creativity that fans fell in love with from the very beginning. This is the music that we started out playing and now that we are back on a roll I’m sure we won’t keep our fans waiting three years for the next album.”
Randolph co-produced the 12-track album and co-wrote nine of the 12 songs. Randolph has reconnected with songwriting partners such as Drew Ramsey and Shannon Sanders, with whom he composed such Family Band hits as “Ain’t Nothing Nothing Wrong With That” as well as Grammy Award winner Tommy Sims, perhaps best known for “Change The World”. Any one familiar with Randolph’s high energy live performances are familiar with his love for reinterpreting classic songs Family Band style. Lickety Split honors that tradition with enthusiastic interpretations of The Ohio Players’ dance-groove “Love Rollercoaster” and The Rascals’ (and Olympics’) “Good Lovin’.” Randolph recorded the album with his longtime bandmates and actual family members, The Family Band, including Marcus Randolph (drums), Danyel Morgan (bass, vocals), Brett Haas (guitar, keys) and Lenesha Randolph (vocals) along with special guests Trombone Shorty and Carlos Santana. The album was engineered by Eddie Kramer [Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin] and mixed by Jim Scott [Tedeschi Trucks].
The new album kicks off with the vigorous anthem “Amped Up” capturing the high-energy excitement that is so identified with Randolph’s legendary stage performances. That celebration of creative renewal continues with “Born Again.” “It’s about finding the joy again,” says Randolph. “At first it was more of a love song, about the sense you get when you find the right person. Then, as we were recording this new music with a whole new sense of direction and feeling free again it all came together. It’s not a religious thing, it’s just new energy—which is really the old energy that I had at the beginning of my career.”
Randolph also notes that the title track of Lickety Split is one of his favorites. The song features Randolph joined by his sister Lenesha on vocals. “What’s great about that one is that it’s something we actually played in church, just like that,” he says. “There’s a section in the service called the ‘Jubilee Jam Session Time’.
Robert Randolph & The Family Band first gained national attention with the release of the album Live at the Wetlands in 2002. The concert recording was taped at New York’s historical Wetlands Preserve Club before it closed in 2001. The band followed that acclaimed live album with their first studio recording Unclassified, attracting the attention of Eric Clapton. Since then, the band has toured with Clapton, Santana and the Dave Matthews Band and, as a headline act, has developed a large, passionate following built upon legendary performances at such major festivals as Bonnaroo, Crossroads, Hard Rock Calling, Montreux Jazz, Austin City Limits and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Later albums, Colorblind and We Walk This Road, enjoyed critical and commercial success led by signature Randolph composed songs such as “Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That.” Rolling Stone named Robert Randolph one of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists,” the only pedal steel player so honored, calling him “one of the most intense live acts in all of jamdom” and citing his solos as “perpetually cresting, lightning-fast explorations.”
“Robert Randolph is an American Original,” says Don Was, President of Randolph’s new label, Blue Note Records. “He has mastered what is, arguably, the most complex instrument in the world and developed a unique voice that is equal parts street-corner church and Bonnaroo. This album finally captures the energy and excitement of his legendary live performances.” Fans worldwide have taken notice of this American original, with audiences and critics alike singing the praises of this unique superstar. “I’m the only one who does what I do,” sums up Randolph, simply. After years away from the recording studio, Robert Randolph & The Family Band have finally come back with Lickety Split.
Track listing for Lickety Split:
1. Amped Up 3:18
2. Born Again 4:20
3. New Orleans 4.11
4. Take The Party 4:09
5. Brand New Wayo 4:36
6. Lickety Split 4:01
7. Blacky Joe 5:49
8. Love Rollercoaster 3:12
9. All American 2:43
10. Get Ready 5:07
11. Welcome Home 6:11
12. Good Lovin’ 2:55