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Shows with Room Full of Blues in them
Roomful Of Blues is an American blues and swing
revival big band based in Rhode Island. With a recording career that
spans over 40 years, they have toured worldwide and recorded many
albums. Roomful of Blues, according to The Chicago Sun-Times, “Swagger,
sway and swing with energy and precision. Since 1967, the group’s blend
of swing, rock and roll, jump blues, boogie-woogie and soul has earned
it five Grammy Award nominations and many other accolades, including
seven Blues Music Awards (with a victory as Blues Band Of The Year in
2005). Billboard called the band “a tour de force of horn-fried
blues…Roomful is so tight and so right.” The Down Beat International
Critics Poll has twice selected Roomful of Blues as Best Blues Band.
Roomful of Blues was born in Westerly, Rhode Island in 1967 when guitarist Duke Robillard and pianist Al Copley started a band that played tough, no-holds-barred Chicago blues. They soon began exploring the swinging, jumping blues, R&B and jazz of the 1940s and 1950s, and added a horn section (including Rich Lataille) in 1970. They established a devoted fan base in New England. In 1974, they performed with Count Basie, and a few years later songwriter Doc Pomus helped them land their first record deal, and produced their debut with co-producer Joel Dorn. In 1977, Roomful of Blues’ self-titled debut album on Island Records (reissued on Hyena Records as The First Album) brought them to national attention.
Founding member Duke Robillard
left the band in 1980, and guitarist Ronnie
Earl replaced him. Singer Lou Ann Barton joined the band at this
time, sharing vocals with sax man Greg Piccolo. By now the band was
touring nationally, attracting bigger and bigger crowds. Roomful
recorded the Hot Little Mama for their own Blue Flame label and two
successful albums for the Varrick label during the 1980s. In 1994, they
released Dance All Night, their first featuring guitarist Chris Vachon
(who joined the band in 1990) and harpist/vocalist Sugar Ray Norcia.
Their 1995 album, the Grammy-nominated Turn It On! Turn It Up!, a mix of
big band swing and rock and roll, brought the band its greatest radio
and sales success to date. Roomful of Blues joined Chicago-based
Alligator Records with the Grammy-nominated That’s Right! in 2003,
followed by Standing Room Only in 2005 and Raisin’ A Ruckus in 2008.
Down Beat described Standing Room Only as “bold, brassy and highly
danceable jump blues with contemporary energy and
sophistication...swings with a vengeance.”
Throughout four decades of continuous touring and recording, the band's line-up has experienced many changes. It is said that more than 50 musicians have been playing in the band. Some of them have achieved a successful solo career. Of note, Porky Cohen, whose career began in the 1940s and included playing in the bands of Charlie Barnet, Artie Shaw, Lucky Millinder, Tommy Dorsey and others, was in the band. Rich Lataille, alto and tenor saxophone, is the only remaining member from the original line-up.