Blues Festival Guide Homepage

Roomful of Blues :: 45 LIVE

August 1, 2013

For nearly half a century, Roomful of Blues has been delivering its signature blend of swing, rock ‘n’ roll, jump, blues and R&B to euphoric audiences all over the world. To commemorate and celebrate their 45th anniversary, the band hosted a three-day party in March of 2013 at one of their favorite haunts, The Ocean Mist, in Matunuck, Rhode Island. The band blew the doors off the packed club, playing to roaring ovations each night. Happily, the proceedings were recorded and the resulting album, 45 Live, is among Roomful of Blues’ crowning achievements. The album is a lightning-in-a-bottle blowout, showcasing the larger-than-life vocal and instrumental power of the band.

45 Live, produced by bandleader/guitarist Chris Vachon, features fourteen songs (over an hour of music) spanning the entirety of the band’s history. The tracks were carefully chosen by Vachon, who included some of the group’s best known originals, like Dressed Up To Get Messed Up, Turn It On, Turn It Up, and That’s Right!, as well as tunes the band had previously recorded or performed with blues giants Joe Turner (Crawdad Hole), Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson (Somebody’s Got To Go) and Earl King (It All Went Down The Drain). 45 Live is a flawlessly blended mix of rocking guitar, punching horns, room-filling vocals, serious musicianship and unbridled creativity. The results are a non-stop, hip-shaking party. It’s clear why The New Yorker described a Roomful concert as “thunderous performances that get feet stomping and hands clapping.”

While Roomful of Blues has always been one of the tightest, most joyful blues ensembles in the world, they have never sounded fresher or stronger than with the current line-up. Along with Vachon and Lataille, the band includes vocalist Phil Pemberton, long-time tenor and baritone saxophonist Mark Earley, trumpeter Doug Woolverton, bassist John Turner, drummer Chris Rivelli and keyboardist Rusty Scott.

Since Roomful joined the Alligator Records family in 2003, their popularity has continued to increase. Their first Alligator CD was the Grammy-nominated That’s Right! in 2003, followed by Standing Room Only in 2005, Raisin’ A Ruckus in 2008 and Hook, Line & Sinker in 2010. All four albums received massive amounts of critical and popular praise and kept old and new fans flocking to see them live. Blurt magazine raves, “No group has kept the spirit of early rock and roll alive better than Roomful of Blues. The heat burns red hot...they are pure fun to listen to. 
They are one of America’s musical treasures.”

With 45 Live, Roomful of Blues has fully captured the frenetic energy and musical power of their live show. The band will hit the road hard once again, so people can see and hear for themselves why The Chicago Sun-Times said, “This is a band on top of its game, sliding easily from big-band jazz-blues to guitar-drenched urban blues...let the party begin.”