Thursday , May 23 2024
Keb' Mo' and his band prove they can handle funk, country blues, a bit of psychedelia, ballads and traditional blues without ever breaking a sweat.

Music Review: Keb’ Mo’ – ‘Live – That Hot Pink Blues Album’ [2-CD Set]

Keb’ Mo’ loves his audiences and they love him. For 25 years, he has been delivering the blues.

This new release is titled Live – That Hot Pink Blues Album because, as Mo’ says, “Why Not?” It captures him at his best on his 2015 tour. The 16 tracks on two discs were recorded in nine different cities across the country, including Sturgis, South Dakota, Charleston, South Carolina, and Kent, Ohio.

Courtesy WIkimedia Commons/R Moore
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/R Moore

Thankfully, there are no fancy effects interfering with the laid-back, comfortable blues Keb’ Mo’ delivers. Mo’ is backed by his usual touring trio, Michael B. Hicks on keys, Casey Wasner on drums, and Stan Sargeant on bass. Mo’ handles guitar and lead vocals himself, of course, in the style that has taken him successfully through 25 years and countless concerts. The songs are from different stages of that career and were written or co-written by Mo’ – the writing credit says “K. Moore,” for Kevin Moore, the name Mo’s parents gave him.

The first song, “Tell Everybody I Know,” is from his 1990 debut album as Keb’ Mo’ – having previously released a 1980 record as Kevin Moore – and it sounds just as happy and uplifting now as it did then. It is followed by the loping electric blues of “Somebody Hurt You,” from the latest (2014) studio album, BLUESAmericana. “Henry” is a beautiful ballad, while “Life Is Beautiful” adds a bit of country to the blues. “She Just Wants to Dance” provides some Ray Charles-style soul. “The Worst Is Yet to Come” and “Government Cheese” are psychedelic funk.

The second disc starts off with a couple of mellow songs about male-female relationships, “Come on Back” and “France.” The mellow mood continues until we come to “The Old Me Better,” which is just a brilliant song in which a woman makes a man better in every way, except that he likes the way he was before a whole lot better. It is pure humorous genius. This disc also includes the only real extended blues jam on the album, “Dangerous Mood.”

Overall, this album showcases a master entertainer who does not need pyrotechnics to hold the attention of some very happy audiences. Mo’ and his band prove they can handle funk, country blues, a bit of psychedelia, ballads and traditional blues without ever breaking a sweat. This hot pink album is a pure joy from start to finish.

About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, Southern Crossroads: Georgia Bluesand Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.

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