August 08, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it a B

Pedal-steel guitarist Randolph is the jam-band circuit’s unlikeliest hero, having emerged from the House of God denomination’s ”sacred steel” tradition, though the veiled quality of his religious lyrics makes this New Jersey native’s hyper-tempoed tunes just as suitable for parties as for Pentecostal meetings. As a singer, he’s a heck of a steel player, and his group’s first non-live album just occasionally matches their stage rapturousness. But there’s only so much the studio can do to constrain a signature sound that suggests Sly’s own Family meeting the brothers Allman and Doobie at a gospel throwdown.

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