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Roomful of Blues

Hook Line and Sinker

(Alligator Records; US: 18 Jan 2011; UK: 17 Jan 2011)

A jumpin' good time, as predicted

You know exactly what you’re going to get with Roomful of Blues. You should know because the band has been around for 43 years, playing its brand of high-energy, horn-inflected dance-blues with few deviations from its original template. The new album brings with it new singer Phil Pemberton, but few other changes. Uptempo good-time numbers like “That’s a Pretty Good Love” and “Ain’t Nothin’ Happenin’” predominate, and even slower numbers like “Kill Me” and “Win With Me, Baby” never stray too far from the party-on-the-dance-floor vibe. The piano-based “Time Brings About a Change” is the only tune here that might be described as deep blues.


The biggest knock against the band is its consistency, which is of course its biggest selling point for fans. If you’re looking for something unexpected or new, you’ll want to walk a mile to avoid these guys. However, if you want a dose of impeccably played, entirely predictable jump blues, this record will do nicely.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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