Marcus Randolph and My Peeples Peeple – Transplant (2017)

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The drummer for Robert Randolph & The Family Band has just put out a record of his own. And yes, it does deserve the same attention given to records by the Family Band, because Marcus — who also composes, sings, and plays guitar — made in his first time out the best Family Band record Robert Randolph never made. Transplant is a testament to the talent and musical power of that band Marcus Randolph co-founded with his cousin Robert, because he made what is essentially a Family Band without its iconic leader. And there’s hardly any letup.

Besides, it’s not the Family Band, Marcus Randolph leads My Peeples Peeple, but some of the names are familiar: ex-Family and B3 powerhouse John Ginty is there, as is current Family band guitarist Rayfield “Ray Ray” Holloman and several other musicians who also know a few things about mixing roots rock, RnB, gospel and down home funk. The title is a straightforward explanation of why Randolph is able to make this music in the first place: a kidney transplant in 2011 (his wife was the donor) gave him a new lease on life and the personal triumph and gratitude exudes all over this record, starting with the “Transplant” intro where he preaches about his salvation resulting from that medical procedure against the downpour of Ginty’s B3 organ. That sets the tone for rest of the record.

Transplant is heartfelt but also very loose, and it’s both of those qualities together make it a fun listen. “Lift Me Up” is a laid-back swamp groove, “In My Heart” is rollicking soul emanating from Randolph’s acoustic guitar with a little steel guitar tossed in for good measure. Sooner or later, the funk was gonna come and it arrives at “She Came With Everything,” with the swagger of James Brown and the syncopation of the Meters and “Fast Cash” is funk that just rocks harder.

“Sucka” crunches like the Rolling Stones and preaches like a Sunday morning revival; that steel guitar you hear isn’t Robert’s, it’s Marcus Randolph raising this hell. He doesn’t stop there; his steel guitar on “Momma Sang” is almost as much Hawaiian as it is blues and “63 Hog Drive” is an instrumental strut on a mission to show off more of Randolph’s gritty steel guitar slide.

Randolph’s passion is equally strong in his voice as it is with his My Peeples Peeple band. Confrontational lyrics are delivered with an emotional edge for “Think About It,” a folksy tune with timely advice about not “believing everything you see.” Randolph rap-sings over a Cream-heavy rock riff for “Mad At The World” as he rails against at the social ills facing the country today.

To end this strong fare of songs, Marcus Randolph finds a way to slide hip-hop organically into a piano-based, pretty melody of “Digging Me a Hole.”

Transplant is now available to the public courtesy of American Showplace Music.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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