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Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Keb' Mo'

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Album Review

The occasion of the series of television films broadcast under the umbrella title The Blues in the fall of 2003 provided the opportunity to compile the highlights of Keb' Mo''s recording career thus far into a single-disc collection. One might argue that, with only four regular albums under his belt (there was also a children's album, Big Wide Grin), Keb' Mo' wasn't quite ready for a best-of, but those albums attracted a wide audience among blues fans; each one lodged in the Top Five of Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart, and the second and third, Just Like You and Slow Down, won Grammys for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Actually, it's the self-titled first album from 1994 that is the most impressive (as well as the least "contemporary"), and six tracks from it have been excerpted here, with three from Just Like You, four from Slow Down, and one from the fourth album, The Door. "Crapped Out Again" appeared on the Tin Cup soundtrack in 1996, and the final track, "Piece of Mind," is a new recording. While Keb' Mo' covers Robert Johnson twice here, he generally uses traditional blues only as a touchstone, preferring to write his own songs in a blues-influenced but essentially pop style, and play them in the same manner. The film series wasn't a chronological documentary in the manner of Ken Burns' Jazz, but if it were, Keb' Mo' would have come at the end as an example of the kind of music blues has evolved into, for better or worse. He is a part of the story, but, at least on the basis of this compilation, not a major figure in it as yet. (Happily, the compilation was not released at a major price. Like the other titles in the series, it was given a mid-line list price of only $11.98).

Biography

Born: 03 October 1951 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Guitarist/vocalist Keb' Mo' draws heavily on the old-fashioned country blues style of Robert Johnson while keeping his sound contemporary with touches of soul and folksy storytelling. A skilled frontman as well as an accomplished sideman, he writes much of his own material and has applied his acoustic, electric, and slide guitar skills to jazz- and rock-oriented bands. Born Kevin Moore in Los Angeles to parents of Southern descent, he was exposed to gospel music at a young age. At 21, Moore joined...
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Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Keb' Mo', Keb' Mo'
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