Dance All Night
I remember first hearing about Roomful of Blues from Big Joe Turner and Lloyd Glenn who had raved about them after being been backed by them. When their first album came out, I was impressed by their faithfulness to the originals, although they were derivative. In the decade and a half since, there have been some personnel changes, but they have maintained their commitment to the jump blues.
Today, the band exhibits more personality and individuality in its music. This is evident in the new album. Fronted by vocalist and harp player Sugar Ray Norcia, the album shows their incorporation of modern urban blues into their repertoire with nice versions of Little Milton’s That Will Never Do and Little Walter’s Up the Line. The Buddy and Ella Johnson classic I’m Just Your Fool and Lillie Mae, derived from a Smiley Lewis recording, are given first-rate readings.
Sugar Ray contributes some strong originals, and his relaxed delivery, reminiscent of Junior Parker, evinces his development as a fine blues vocalist. Chris Vachon ably handles the guitar, Matt McMabe pounds the 88s, and the horns of Bob Enos, Carl Querfurth, Greg Piccolo and Doug James rip through the ensemble parts and solos. This simply is superb jump blues.
I likely received my review copy from the record label. This is still available as a CD or download. This review originally appeared in the July-August 1994 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 193). Here is "Up The Line" from this album.