Unclassified

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Plucked from the House of God Church, a Pentecostal denomination that's known for its roof-raising incorporation of pedal steel guitar into its worship, Robert Randolph continues to spread his ecstatic gospel with Unclassified. Not that Randolph specifically invokes Christianity on this album. But the soul-shocking power of his music is undeniably sourced in the church, and his mainstream success may just be the biggest boost that gospel's gotten since Ray Charles took spirituals to the top of the pop charts in the '50s. Backed by the Family Band, which includes his cousins Danyell Morgan (bass and vocals) and Marcus Randolph (drums), Randolph conducts his shows and ...
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August 5, 2003 CD New in new packaging. Originally released: 2003.

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August 5, 2003 CD New in new packaging. Originally released: 2003.

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August 5, 2003 CD New in new packaging. Originally released: 2003.

Ships from: Kingsport, TN

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Plucked from the House of God Church, a Pentecostal denomination that's known for its roof-raising incorporation of pedal steel guitar into its worship, Robert Randolph continues to spread his ecstatic gospel with Unclassified. Not that Randolph specifically invokes Christianity on this album. But the soul-shocking power of his music is undeniably sourced in the church, and his mainstream success may just be the biggest boost that gospel's gotten since Ray Charles took spirituals to the top of the pop charts in the '50s. Backed by the Family Band, which includes his cousins Danyell Morgan (bass and vocals) and Marcus Randolph (drums), Randolph conducts his shows and recordings like a church service -- or a jam band -- with each song reaching higher and higher, harder and louder, before pulling back. The flirtatious call-and-response is at the root of rock and goes deeper, encompassing all African-derived rhythms, some of which Randolph samples on Unclassified. The Sly Stone┬ľstyle funk of "Soul Refreshing" and "I Need More Love" meets Latin rock on "Calypso"; "Run for Your Life" counts on the pedal steel's country associations to drive its point home; while "Why Should I Be Lonely" roars forth straight from the church. Randolph's knees-weakening playing holds it all together, taking the music higher and higher, thanks to his deep arsenal of licks, judicious use of effects, and a simply inspired way with his unique instrument. One listen to Unclassified, and newcomers will join the choir in praise of this dynamo.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
The second full-length from sacred steel genius Robert Randolph & the Family Band delivers, from the studio, the same promise, grit, grease, and sweat that Live at the Wetlands did. Randolph pulls out the stops in the studio, using his own band, without any of the hotshot guest stars who he's appeared with in the last two years. Unclassified features a road-tested, studio-savvy band using all of its collected gifts with producer Jim Scott to make a record that is as much about soul, funk, hard rock, folk, and jam band intensity as it is about the gospel music that first inspired the unit. On first listen, listeners might be taken aback by "So Refreshing," with its soul groove and tight gospel arrangements and a greasy P-Funk bass running alongside Randolph's razor-wire and switchblade steel. But contrast it with the in-the-pit wail of "Squeeze," with organs and syncopated rhythms playing counterpoint to the steel and bass, or the Stevie Wonder-esque hard funk of "I Need More Love," with keyboards rollicking along the groove as the bass literally pops around a chorus that delivers the call-and-response choir in full-on, Sunday church, Funkadelic effect. Unclassified is, in all of its varied approaches to gospel music and the sacred steel tradition, incontrovertible proof that they can deliver from the booth as well as they do on a stage and with more variety. This is a free-sounding record, given how so much of it feels live with its intensity and its focus on shape-shifting rhythmic and harmonic structures in the improvising, yet all within the context of "song." "Smile" features tender lyrics and gorgeous harmonies, while "So Refreshing," with its Sly Stone Fresh-era open R&B pockets of easy melodic invention and rumbling funky overtones, gives the vocalists lots of room to bring home the atmosphere of the tune; it's summery, free, and full of light. These two tracks stand in sharp contrast to the jam sensibilities that much of the rest of the album operates on, but they are wondrously multi-dimensional portals into the band's collective psyche. While it's true that Randolph's steel, which is immediately recognizable everywhere here, is supplanted by the fattest, gnarliest bass this side of Bootsy Collins, the instrumental attack of the Family Band is in its ability to change its sound on virtually every track. "Calypso," with its flights-of-fancy explorations into the realms of jazz-rock and Santana-esque Latin jam consciousness, opens up the American gospel palette infinitely, and the shattering country gospel -- via New Jersey nightclub rock & roll infusion -- of "Run for Your Life" that caps the disc is a summation of the journey; that journey is spiritual and full of humor, empathy, and expansive notions of what music is, and how it plays a role in the relief of suffering in everyday life. This is multivalent music, full of the message of joy, passion, and realization, and it is played in such an enlightened manner, so completely unburdened by the rigidities of context and category, that it exists on its own plane. How many times can you say that about a pop record in the 21st century? Unclassified is truly awesome and inspiring; it provides a guidepost for sacred steel music in the future and will hopefully enter the mainstream -- though that's doubtful -- of American popular culture.
Rolling Stone
Randolph sings expressions of devotion to a lover or a higher power with a believer's conviction, then relies on his wailing, writhing, soaring-at-eagle-altitude guitar lines to bring his point home.
Entertainment Weekly - Chris Willman
[Randolph's] signature sound... suggests Sly's own Family meeting the brothers Allman and Doobie at a gospel throwdown. (B)

Randolph sings expressions of devotion to a lover or a higher power with a believer's conviction, then relies on his wailing, writhing, soaring-at-eagle-altitude guitar lines to bring his point home.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/5/2003
  • Label: Warner Bros / Wea
  • UPC: 093624847229
  • Catalog Number: 48472

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Going in the Right Direction - Robert Randolph (3:33)
  2. 2 I Need More Love - Robert Randolph (3:42)
  3. 3 Nobody - Robert Randolph (4:32)
  4. 4 Soul Refreshing - Robert Randolph (3:42)
  5. 5 Squeeze - Robert Randolph (5:46)
  6. 6 Smile - Robert Randolph (4:54)
  7. 7 Good Times (3 Stroke) - Robert Randolph (3:47)
  8. 8 Why Should I Feel Lonely - Robert Randolph (4:26)
  9. 9 Calypso - Robert Randolph (4:07)
  10. 10 Problems - Robert Randolph (4:25)
  11. 11 Run for Your Life - Robert Randolph (4:55)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Robert Randolph & the Family Band Primary Artist
Neal Casal Background Vocals
Candace Anderson Background Vocals
Daniel Morgan Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals
John Ginty Piano, Hammond Organ
Lenesha Randolph Background Vocals
Robert Randolph Acoustic Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Indexed Contributor
Marcus Randolph Drums
Technical Credits
Jim Scott Producer, Engineer
Rick Fowler Duet
Daniel Morgan Composer
Mike Buckman Art Direction
Gene Grimaldi Mastering
John Ginty Composer
Ryan Hewitt Engineer
Lenesha Randolph Duet
Robert Randolph Composer
Marcus Randolph Composer
Robert Randolph & the Family Band Producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Robert Randolph And The Family Band Hits The Right Notes.

    When Robert Randolph And The Family Band took the rock scene by storm
    in the early-2000's and became another star on the Jam Band circuit, he
    would be hailed by the music press as a fresh and diverse voice in rock
    and roll which would result with a highly successful recording contract
    with Warner Brothers. Starting with his dazzling debut live CD Live At
    The Wetlands in 2002, the band's rise to fame would be complete as the
    album became a blockbuster success as it topped the rock chats--and the
    band would be selected by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the Best New Artists To Look Out For In 2002. Then with the release of their studio
    album Unclassified in 2003, the future of Robert Randolph and his band
    was finally solidified when the CD topped the rock rock charts while it
    again showcased Randolph's electrifying steel pedal or guitar solos and
    the band's high-rocking energetic tone during their explosive rise to
    fame.
    So if you are interested in great high-swinging rock and roll with an
    energetic tone, then I would strongly suggest that you pick up both Live At The Wetlands and Unclassified. With five CD's added to their credit,
    including Above The Rest (2005), Colorblind (2006) and their upcoming CD
    in 2009, we will be hearing a lot more of Robert Randolph And The Family
    Band for a long time. The band is unique!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    REMINDS ME OF HOME

    I grew up with listening to tunes like this in church. We had 2 pedal steel players in our church, growing up, although they have moved away from using these dynamic instruments in today's services. But I miss kind of musicianship being in our services. BUt this music is HOT and makes it hard to listen and be still, its a real mover!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    great cd

    great cd...and that's great pedal steel, my dear..nonetheless one of the best live performances you'll ever catch nowadays...backing vocalist , neal casal, is def worth checking out in his own right...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    MUSICAL HEROINE

    THE SONGS ON 'UNCLASSIFIED'CAN DIG INTO YOUR BRAIN. TOO WELL. AFTER ONE LISTEN, ESPECIALLY ON "I NEED MORE LOVE", YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'VE ENJOYED THE SONG FOR A YEAR. AND UNLIKE MOST MODERN MUSIC, LISTENING WILL MAKE YOU FEEL HAPPY. BEST PART: WHEN IT SEEMS LIKE THE SONG IS DRAGGING ON, ROBERT RANDOLPH'S ROARING GUITAR PARTS YELL AT YOU FOR FULL ATTENTION. YOU MUST BUY THIS.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great disc!

    Great slide guitar....legendary! I would hardly classify this under the religious music because it is way more jam, although they have connections to many soulful tunes. Wonderful show at Bonnaroo! Do not miss!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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