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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sacred steel
Robert Randolph received his education on the pedal steel guitar at a House Of God church in Orange, New Jersey. The origins of that church date back to the early 1900's, and in the 1930's those congregations developed the use of the pedal and lap steel guitar as an instrument for worship services in lieu of the much more expensive, though more traditional organ...
Published on October 4, 2005 by Don Schmittdiel

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A foot-stomping good time
It's hard not to keep your foot from stomping while listening to 'Live At The Wetlands'. The last time I felt such electrically charged power was while attending a B.B. King concert, a tribute to the live-energy captured by this CD. 'Ted's Jam' is a stunning opener, a relentless blues-jam workout. Robert Randolph himself is a gifted guitarist straddling between Duane...
Published on February 22, 2004 by Wickerlove


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sacred steel, October 4, 2005
This review is from: Live at the Wetlands (Audio CD)
Robert Randolph received his education on the pedal steel guitar at a House Of God church in Orange, New Jersey. The origins of that church date back to the early 1900's, and in the 1930's those congregations developed the use of the pedal and lap steel guitar as an instrument for worship services in lieu of the much more expensive, though more traditional organ. Randolph's family encouraged Robert to learn the instrument at age 15, but it wasn't until he was 17 that his interest in mastering the pedal steel intensified, and ultimately engulfed his life.

Randolph plays the finest pedal steel guitar I've ever had the pleasure of hearing, and his funky jam-rock approach on 'Live At the Wetlands' also whets my appetite. This recording was made shortly prior to the closing of The Wetlands venue four days after the Twin Towers came down in New York City. For thirteen years what was once an urban warehouse had served double-duty as a center for environmental activism as well as a concert venue for up-and-coming artists. It's clear from the host's introduction and the reaction of the crowd to Randolph's set that the Family Band had become something of a fixture at the 500-seat capacity Wetlands, and that Randloph possessed a special reverence for that venue as well.

My two favorite tracks on the disc are the thirteen minute opener, a rollicking instrumental titled 'Ted's Jam', written by Randolph (as are all the tracks on the disc, save the cover of Slim Harpo's 'Shake Your Hips'), but inspired by pedal steel legend Ted Beard (ironically, Randolph's father wed the daughter of Ted Beard, establishing the connection), and the next to last track, the similarly extended boogie number, 'I Don't Know What You Come To Do'. 'Pressing My Way' and the closer 'Tears of Joy', bring a bit of the blues into the set, while 'The March' features a sound closer to the virtuoso work of Duane Allman than anyone has produced since his death in 1971.

The Family Band gains its moniker from the fact that Randolph's rhythm section, two-thirds of his support, are cousins Danyell Morgan on bass and Marcus Randolph on drums. While this may smirk of cronyism, both Danyell and Marcus are clearly up to the task of backing Randolph, with Danyell delivering scorching bass lines and inspired vocals, and Marcus a sharp, penetrating beat. John Ginty adds organ fills, but they're all but lost in Randolph's exquisite runs on the pedal steel.

In past interviews Randolph has admitted that he "was a bad kid" while growing up, but the pedal steel has proven to be the tool God used to deliver him from a life of crime and poverty. He claims his music seeks to bring listeners closer to the Holy Spirit, and while on the surface a Gospel connection may be difficult to discern, there is plenty of soul to be discovered in his work, and his energy is overwhelmingly positive. The only thing better to hearing Randolph's energy exude from this disc is seeing him live, a treat I recently witnessed on an edition of the PBS production 'Austin City Limits'. It's hard to imagine any fan of funk, boogie, soul, or rock, not finding something to like in the music of Robert Randolph.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Awesome Pedal Guitar..........., December 27, 2004
This review is from: Live at the Wetlands (Audio CD)
My husband and I had never heard of Robert Randolph before watching him on the Crossroads Guitar Festival on our local PBS station. We watched in awe.... this young man makes the steel guitar sing in a way most regular guitar players can't begin to master. Nobodys fingers should be able to move that fast! We chose this CD because it was done live, and thought it would show his artistic freedom to soar to unknown heights that wouldn't be captured in the studio. He didn't let us down. He obviously loves what does and as a listener you can't help but be caught up in it. I may not know all the "correct" musical qualities to look / listen for, but I do feel that if you want to hear one of the most talented, innovative young people around today, you owe it to yourself to invest in at least one of his CDs, and this is a good place to start.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Randolph blew Eric Clapton offstage!!!!!!, April 30, 2004
This review is from: Live at the Wetlands (Audio CD)
Hi everyone. I'm an EC fan since 1967, and for me he can do no wrong. The man is an accomplished musician of the very highest order. I went to the EC 40-year celebration concert at the Manchester MEN Arena. Eric and the band were simply fabulous.
....Robert Randolph and his band were the support. OUCH!! WHERE THE HELL DID THESE GUYS COME FROM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????
Robert and his band simply blew everyone away!!! What an incredible experience. I've not been genuinely as excited about a band for many many years. Robert and the boys - thank you. It was an education in guitar virtuosity. I bought the 'Live at the Wetlands' CD immediately following the concert and have played a hole in it already. Word to the world audiences in 2004 - go and see EC you will NOT be disappointed! But the sheer joy of listening to Robert Randolph and the Family Band will completely frazzle your brain. This man & his band are going to be a huge stars - and the world better watch out & be ready for them! They are absolutely FABULOUS!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars -, July 6, 2005
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This review is from: Live at the Wetlands (Audio CD)
Some may say they are trying to be like the Allman Brothers and I could care less. Bottom line, they can play. I literally get chills every time i listen to the cd and I've had it for about 3 years now. Word of advice, seem them live... I saw them open for OAR and they were incredible and then this summer at DMB robert randolph stopped by. Bothe shows were made much better by his presence
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like the sparks from Vulcan's Forge, April 30, 2002
This review is from: Live At The Wetlands (Audio CD)
Remember how music used to be fun to listen to before the incursion of stance and attitude and angst shoved its way to the forefront during the musical hell of the `90s? Well, Robert Randolph makes music fun to listen to again, playing pedal steel like he was Vulcan hammering on his forge intently creating armor for Zeus.
"Live at the Wetlands" is a breathtaking live set is gritty and focused. This magical outing could not have been replicated or captured in a studio. The four-piece ensemble rocks the house with measured, joyous playing. Randolph tears it up on pedal steel like no one else and Ginty flat out wrings the Hammond organ for all its worth. Let's not forgot the crisp, solid drums and bass that anchor and propel each cut, holding the whole jam together.
If you aren't in motion by the time the finale Tears of Joy gets in high gear, then you are not conscious. Randolph and company ascend to another plane, and if you turn up the volume, they will bring you along for the joy ride.
If you liked "The Word" (and who didn't?), you will want to snatch this CD, too. Though there are only six tracks, this recording, like Streetwalker's excellent "Live at the BBC," should be judged on the quality not the quantity.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, fresh and original, March 13, 2003
This review is from: Live at the Wetlands (Audio CD)
I saw Robert Randolph & The Family Band in New Orleans...and was utterly blown away. I have not seen a gig that good since The Black Crowes in Brixton, London, several years before. What Robert does with a pedal steel is utterly beyond belief! I have never seen anything like this and man, that sound!! I think Jimi would have more than approved of the bands takes of several Hendrix classics. If you can see them live, do so - if not BUY THIS CD - it's great - not nearly enough material, but hell, its not often you'll hear something quite like this. FANTASTIC...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what music was meant to sound like, September 28, 2004
This review is from: Live at the Wetlands (Audio CD)
I had already owned this album, have heard (but not owned) most of what is on the studio album. I was psyched when I got tickets to see them here in Chi-town just a few nights ago. I have been a concert goer for over 15 years, having seen some really great artists in my time, including Peter Gabriel, Prince and Sting. This show tops them all. It was by far the best live performance I have ever seen. The musicianship was top notch, the energy was unbelieveable and they literally tore the roof off and then some. When they come to your town, run, do not walk, to get tickets. You will not be sorry. Robert Randolph is going to have a long long career. Even though he is the new kid on the block and still largely an unknown artist to many, he has already opened for Eric Clapton and was scheduled to open for Lenny Kravitz (before the tour was cancelled due to a death in Kravitz' family). When a legend like Eric Clapton sings your praises, you know you are doing something right.

As far as the album, this live album does not capture the ferver of an actual RRFB live performance. On CD, the tracks just simply seem to go on too long. But when you hear these extended jams in person, you wish they would never end. From what I have heard of the studio album, this also seems to be the case. The CD tracks need to be condensed to keep the albums momentum.

Robert likes to steal little sound bits of other popular songs from other artists and encorperate them into his sets. When "Shake Your Hips" starts you recognize the obvious hook from ZZ Top's La Grange. During his live show I was at, he opened his show with Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough". Further on in the concert, he threw in some Eurythmics and even some Stevie Wonder. His rendition of the classic "People Get Ready" was absolutely moving. I can not wait until that show gets rebroadcast on the sponsering radio station here.

His two albums he has released leave the listener begging for more. In a years time, he will be so huge you will have to fight to get tickets to his show. Do not miss the opportunity. You do not hear talent like this every day. It is craaaazzzzy how talented this group of musicians are.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Experience, January 7, 2003
This review is from: Live At The Wetlands (Audio CD)
The only legitimate gripe one could lodge with this amazing album is that it is too short. Otherwise it simply blows you away. The vibe and energy that come out of tracks like "Uncle Ted's Jam" and "Tears of Joy" are simply unparalleled anywhere else. The Family Band melds funk, blues, gospel, rock, and pure adrenaline into one of the best live albums in a long while. Marcus Randolph's rock solid foundations on the drums lay the groove out, and coupled with Danyel Morgan's super funky bass work forms an increadibly tight pocket. John Ginty makes the Hammond Organ sing, and Robert Randolph is blessed with the ability to somehow channel his soul through the fingerboard of a peddle steel guitar. The music is unlike anything I've ever heard, and remains fresh and new throughout the entire album. Other highlights include the more laid back groove of "The March", the spiritual "Pressing My Way", and the rockin' closer "I Don't Know What You Come To Do". The best part about the album though is that it is merely an appetizer to the full palete of Randolph's ever expanding full repetoire. So once you buy this album, which I highly suggest, be sure to check out some of the bands other work on bootlegs, and some of RR's other work with "The Word" and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. One things for sure, when Rob says he wants to "Tear the roof off" the Wetlands, he meant it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cd you MUST own!, April 9, 2002
By 
Andre M. "brnn64" (Mt. Pleasant, SC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Live At The Wetlands (Audio CD)
I saw Robert Randolph and his Family Band in Charleston (SC) and Charlotte last winter where they played most of the songs on this CD. This was the most exciting show and the most exciting new music I've heard in some time! The crowd (myself included) was in awe as we watched the most exciting new live act since James Brown, Elvis, or Jimi Hendrix! Brother Randolph makes his steel guitar sing with support form John Ginty, who makes his organ sound if he poured kerosene on it and lit a match and his cousins on bass and drums. I had a friendly chat with Randoplh afterwards and bought this CD. I have to play it sparingly to avoid overplay. "The March" is a very well-crafted jam. "Ted's Jam" is phenomenal, as the bluesy ballad "Pressing My Way." I told Robert Randolph after his Charleston show, "If you guys aren't the next big thing by next year this time, then there is TRULY no justice in this land!" Everyone I've played this CD to loves it! Buy this (and "THE WORD" as an excellent companion piece) and you'll see what I mean. The future of REAL (non-synthetic) music is in great hands with these guys!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing performance, January 31, 2006
This review is from: Live at the Wetlands (Audio CD)
An apperance on Austin City Limits prompted the purchase of this album. Without a doubt, this is an unforgetable concert. Robert Randolph has an intensity and style like Stevie Ray Vaughn at his peak and the rest of the band is equally as tight. This captures the energy of their live shows and is well worth the purchase.
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Live at the Wetlands
Live at the Wetlands by Robert Randolph and the Family Band (Audio CD - 2002)
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