Colorblind

Colorblind, the third album from New Jersey pedal steel guitar wiz Robert Randolph & The Family Band, is more of a slickly produced album than either his raw live debut, Live at the Wetlands, or his first studio record, 2003's Unclassified


For one thing, the album has more guest stars than previously, including Eric Clapton, labelmate R&B singer Leela James, and Dave Matthews. Also, parts of the album seem designed to give Randolph's music more of a contemporary pop edge.


But nothing can distract from Randolph's raw talent. His guitar playing, as well as the undeniable chops of The Family Band, make Colorblind a highly enjoyable album. Randolph's take on the familiar classic rock chestnut "Jesus Is Just Alright" takes what could be an obligatory nod to rock familiarity and turns it into a gospel and guitar hero workout with Clapton trading licks with the younger guitarist. It's a powerful performance and one of the album standouts.


Elsewhere on the CD, Randolph ventures into snappy horn-driven R&B territory with the song "Diane." He also delivers a pre-emptive strike on those perplexed by his genre-bending approach to music with his album opener, "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That."


Colorblind doesn't deliver a whole lot of lyrical message in its eleven songs and it bogs down when it slows down, but the high points make up for the dips in the road.

Mike Sauter, WYEP Music Director