45 LIVE, produced by bandleader/guitarist Chris Vachon, features 14 songs (over an hour of music) spanning the entirety of the band's history. The tracks were carefully chosen by Vachon, who included some of the group's best known originals like Dressed Up To Get Messed Up, Turn It On, Turn It Up, and That's Right!, as well as tunes the band had previously recorded or performed with blues giants Joe Turner (Crawdad Hole), Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (Somebody's Got To Go) and Earl King (It All Went Down The Drain).
For nearly half a century, Roomful of Blues has been delivering its signature blend of swing, rock ‘n' roll, jump, blues and R&B to euphoric audiences all over the world. Blues Revue says, "Roomful of Blues is a sheer joy...contagious, finger-popping, head-bopping grooves...the horns blast loud and proud...explosive and electrifying." The band has earned five Grammy Award nominations and a slew of other accolades, including seven Blues Music Awards. Twice, the prestigious DownBeat International Critics Poll selected them as Best Blues Band. With their masterful combination of jumping, horn-heavy blues and R&B, it's no wonder why the great Count Basie called them "the hottest blues band I've ever heard." Billboard simply says, "Roomful is so tight and so right."
DownBeat magazine declares Roomful of Blues "are in a class by themselves." The band has been led since 1998 by Vachon, who according to Guitar Player, "burns with explosive solos and a delightfully greasy sense of rhythm." Roomful of Blues has always maintained its signature sound through great musicianship and a stellar horn section -- featuring Rich Lataille, who first joined the band in 1970 on tenor and alto saxophone (and clarinetist on 45 LIVE's Jambalaya) Lataille's masterful playing can evoke either the fat-toned honking sax of the glory days of early rock or the cool elegance of big band swing jazz.
While Roomful of Blues has always been one of the tightest, most joyful blues ensembles in the world, they have never sounded fresher or stronger than with the current line-up. Along with Vachon and Lataille, the band includes vocalist Phil Pemberton, long-time tenor and baritone saxophonist Mark Earley, trumpeter Doug Woolverton, bassist John Turner, drummer Chris Rivelli and keyboardist Rusty Scott.
Roomful of Blues came together in Westerly, Rhode Island in the late 1960s when guitarist Duke Robillard and keyboardist Al Copley began exploring the swinging, jumping blues, R&B and jazz of the 1940s and 1950s. They added a horn section (including Rich Lataille) in 1970. The band's ability to ignite a sedate crowd into a dancing frenzy solidified their reputation as the best "little big band" in New England and expanded their following into New York and Washington, D.C. In 1974, they performed with Count Basie, and a few years later legendary songwriter Doc Pomus helped them land their first record deal. In 1977, Roomful of Blues' self-titled debut album on Island Records (reissued on Hyena Records) brought them to the attention of fans and critics from coast to coast.
Over the years there have been more than 50 Roomful of Blues members, each bringing his or her own unique talent and vision to the mix. Famed alumni include guitarist Ronnie Earl, vocalist Lou Ann Barton, vocalist/harpist Curtis Salgado, saxist/vocalist Greg Piccolo and harpist/vocalist Sugar Ray Norcia. Recording for Rounder Records' Bullseye Blues and Varrick labels between 1980 and 2001, the band cut nine albums that won them international fame and major rock radio airplay. They've gigged with stars ranging from bluesmen B.B. King, Otis Rush and Stevie Ray Vaughan to rockers Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana. The band has performed in cities from coast to coast, and traveled abroad to 22 countries including Lebanon, Poland,Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey and Russia.
Since Roomful joined the Alligator Records family in 2003, their popularity has continued to increase. Their first Alligator CD was the Grammy-nominated That's Right! in 2003, followed by Standing Room Only in 2005, Raisin' A Ruckus in 2008 and Hook, Line & Sinker in 2010. All four albums received massive amounts of critical and popular praise and kept old and new fans flocking to see them live. Blurt magazine raves, "No group has kept the spirit of early rock and roll alive better than Roomful of Blues. The heat burns red hot...they are pure fun to listen to. They are one of America's musical treasures."
With 45 LIVE, Roomful of Blues has fully captured the frenetic energy and musical power of their live show. The band will hit the road hard once again, so people can see and hear for themselves why The Chicago Sun-Times said, "This is a band on top of its game, sliding easily from big-band jazz-blues to guitar-drenched urban blues...let the party begin."