‘I Need More Love,’ Robert Randolph and the Family Band

Robert Randolph with his pedal steel guitar.

Robert Randolph with his pedal steel guitar.

And while we’re on the subject of David Letterman … New Jersey’s own Robert Randolph and the Family Band made its network television debut on “Late Show with David Letterman” in 2003, playing a typically dynamic version of “I Need More Love,” from its then-new Unclassified album.

Randolph, who primarily plays pedal steel guitar (though he also plays regular guitar), grew up in Essex County and learned his craft playing in the House of God church in Orange; House of God churches have a tradition of using pedal steel music, which they call Sacred Steel, in their services.

Randolph first developed a following on the jam band circuit, at clubs such as the Stanhope House in Stanhope. Though he is deeply rooted in gospel, “I Need More Love” has more in common with the funk of Sly & the Family Stone and George Clinton’s Parliament and Funkadelic ensembles.

In 2003, Rolling Stone included Randolph on its list of the 100 greatest guitar players of all time. He was the only person on the list primarily known for his pedal steel guitar playing.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.


Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


Custom Amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $20.00

Explore more articles:

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter