The literal family in Robert Randolph & the Family Band
is drummer Marcus Randolph and bassist Danyel Morgan (both cousins) and singing sister Lenesha Randolph. Metaphorically it's the family of man embodied in Robert's sacred, steel-centered House of God Church. But ultimately it's Sly and the Family Stone, a musical model for their heavy funk, rock and gospel, and a paradigm for their heavier mission: Free the body and the soul will follow. On this year's Colorblind
, they cover Sylvester Stewart's "Thankful 'N Thoughtful," and if the homage only illustrates Randolph's temerity as a songwriter and singer, it also shows that Sly never had a guitarist who could reinvent and resurrect sound with such ecstatic abandon but then again, few players shy of Jimi Hendrix ever have.