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Roomful of Blues Profile

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Roomful of Blues

Roomful of Blues

Photo courtesy Roomful of Blues

Roomful of Blues Profile:

Formed: 1967 in Providence RI.

For over 40 years, Roomful of Blues has carried the torch for a big band blues sound, and the list of talents that have passed through the band's doors throughout the years is a veritable who's who of successful blues artists. Although they began as a conventional blues-rock band, Roomful of Blues quickly evolved into a traditionally-oriented, R&B influenced jump blues band with a horn section that blew like nobody's business, and a run of superior guitarists that would be the envy of any other band.

The Knickerbocker Years

Guitarist Duke Robillard and pianist Al Copley formed Roomful of Blues in 1967 with drummer Fran Christina and bassist Larry Peduzzi. The band began playing the NE club circuit, but really caught on with audiences after Robillard added a pair of sax players in 1970, and another in '71, moving the band's sound towards the jump blues.

After a couple of years of onstage practice, the band landed a residency at the Knickerbocker Cafe in Westerly, Rhode Island. As the club's house band, Roomful of Blues knocked out nightly sets of their own infectious tunes as well as backing touring blues artists performing at the club. The band would use the Knickerbocker as its home base for 15 years.

Paving The Way

Famed songwriter Doc Pomus helped Roomful of Blues grab a record deal; the band's self-titled debut album was released in 1977. Two years later they followed up with the acclaimed Let's Have A Party. Although Robillard would leave to pursue a solo career, the band's moderate success on record and overwhelming popularity as a live draw paved the way for later bands like the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble.

Roomful of Blues also earned a reputation as a top-notch studio band, performing on albums by Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Big Joe Turner, Earl King and even Pat Benatar.

Regardless of the changes in personnel, the basic Roomful of Blues sound has remained remarkably the same over the years. Talents as diverse as guitarist Ronnie Earl, singer Lou Ann Barton, and vocalist/harpist Curtis Salgado paid their dues with Roomful of Blues.

Recommended Albums: The lively R&B big band sound of Let's Have A Party is virtually a Roomful of Blues trademark, but the 2008 romp Raisin' A Ruckus proved that the band could still jump-n-jive with the best of them.

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