For the recording, the band hosted a three-day party in March of 2013 at one of their favorite haunts, The Ocean Mist, in Matunuck, Rhode Island. They packed the club to capacity, playing to roaring ovations each night. The resulting album, 45 LIVE, is among Roomful of Blues' crowning achievements. The album is a lightning-in-a-bottle blowout, showcasing the larger-than-life vocal and instrumental power of the band.
According to Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer, “They sound like no one else on the blues scene, reviving the spirit and energy of the R&B horn bands of the late 1940s and early 1950s without being copycats. It’s guaranteed to rock the house.”
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. 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."
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 Johnny 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, saxophonist/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. They’ll continue touring heavily in support of 45 LIVE.