If you’ve been longing for a return to the jam-heavy, free-wheeling, good-time tunes which marked Robert Randolph & the Family Band’s debut, Unclassified, and the live albums which preceded it, your prayers have been answered. After a mild misfire in Colorblind and the band’s decision to explore the roots of soul, blues and rock in the accomplished but decidedly more serious We Walk This Road, the family is back with Lickety Split and this is one hell of a tasty, funky party.
From the ripping and rocking opener “Amped Up” to the more gradual build of the epic jam “Blacky Joe,” Randolph, the prodigious pedal steel guitar virtuoso, leads the charge with more verve and energy than we have ever seen from him on a studio record. “Born Again” and “Get Ready” have a hip-shaking, Gospel rock vibe that are undeniable, while “Take the Party” is a dance rock party set to dance-in-the-streets-until-your-feet-fall-off. The funky rocker “Brand New Wayo” features Carlos Santana and solos from every member of the band, and is the perfect example of the freedom and joy Randolph felt while making this record because he sounds like he’s having a hell of a time when he calls out for each person to do their thing.
Randolph and Co. haven’t sounded this alive in years. Apart from a glaring misstep in the form of a tired cover of “Love Rollercoaster,” Lickety Split fires on all cylinders.