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[Off The Record]
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Roomful of Blues

A Roomful of Blues disc usually means a roomful of horns. But bandleader Chris Vachon’s guitar work gets at least as much play as the much vaunted horn section on the dozenth reliable disc in the 24-year recording history of Providence’s blues jammers. Roomful have a good history with guitarists, of course — Duke Robillard and Ronnie Earl held the job for extended runs. And Vachon, the 11-year veteran of the band who produced this disc, is a fine player, though perhaps not as distinctive as those other two. He stings and swings in a style somewhere between the Vaughan brothers on the instrumental shuffle " Backlash, " and his rhythm work helps carry the set-opening flag waver, " Roll Me Over. "

The horns are not entirely lost, of course. Senior Roomful citizen and tenor-sax player Chris Lataille is among those taking a star turn on a mellow blues à la Ellington, " Where’s Bubba " ; and the hard-working horn section is essential to the New Orleans R&B strut on Fats Domino’s " Wait and See, " which is also one of vocalist Mac Odom’s shining moments. The road may have worn through twice as many Roomful alums as are in the eight-piece group, but the band just keep rolling along.


Issue Date: June 28 - July 5, 2001

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