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Published: 2001/12/23
by Jai Sanders

Robert Randolph & The Family Band, 12th & Porter, Nashville, TN- 12/13

"I Get Joy"

What a difference a month makes. Actually, it's been two months since I last saw Robert Randolph & The Family Band and they have once again surpassed my expectations.

On a rainy Thurs in Nashville Robert Randolph & The Family Band came to play before a full house on only their second trip to town. The group started out with 3 new songs. The first, "Salsa," is a meditative tune with Robert playing some intense & spooky guitar, John laying down sustained B3 chords while Marcus Randolph (drums) & Danyel Morgan (bass) pushing the rhythm section. It's got the vibe of a good driving song, the one that makes the night and the road seem endless… "Squeeze" is a funky offering. as Danyel's big bouncy tone and the great breaks all through the song make this song a standout. These songs established a musical tension that stayed at such a high level that the audience had to dance just to relieve some of it. Robert assisted ably with his third new song, the uptempo gospel "I Get Joy." The lyrics proclaim, "I get joy when I think about what You've done for me". We know this is a song about God but with the coded language of gospel and since God is never mentioned the song could easily and appropriately refer to Robert & The Family Band. There IS a joy in Robert's music that is undeniable and infectious.

The rest of the night Robert's energy kept us on our feet and jumping. The Family Band moved through the group’s standards like "The March" & "Shake Your Hips". The set also included the traditional country-styled "I'll Fly Away" which is so amusing because in the middle of all of Robert's funk and House of God-styled songs he has one Southern Gospel/Country song to show the naysayers that he can handle a pedal steel the way that traditionalists expect as well as the way that he wants. The show ended with a huge "I Don't Know What You Come To Do" featuring Danyel on vocals and the grand "leap, stomp & scream for joy" portion of show. For the encore, Robert and the Family Band bridged the scared and the secular with a smooth "Calypso"-> "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)".

Robert showed once again that the right artist can get an unusually excited Nashville audience on its feet and keep them there for 2 hours.

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