Standing Room Only

  • 2005
  • Standing Room Only
  • Roomful Of Blues
  • Alligator Records

Description

How long can one band excel? A very long time, as exemplified by Roomful of Blues, whose reign as one of the best blues ensembles in the world now extends more than 35 years. Their latest album represents another feather in their cap.

The 8 musicians in the band are at the top of their game. Following in the footsteps of stellar former lead guitarists Duke Robillard and Ronnie Earl, Chris Vachon provides tasteful and tangy fretwork. (At the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise in 2004, Vachon played one solo which was so passionate and soulful that jaws dropped and the crowd gave him a standing ovation.) Mark DuFresne plays harmonica and supplies powerful lead vocals. The rhythm section is solid, and the 3 horns are superb: they consistently win the Blues Foundation award as best horn section each year.

The album features rockin’ blues tunes such as “Boomerang” and “Jona Lee,” a jazzy instrumental, “Straight Jaquette,” and a few plaintive blues wails; most are band originals, but 2 Little Milton songs and another by Lowell Fulson also shine. There’s not one clunker in the bunch. This is without controversy one of the best albums of the year.