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Big Wide Grin

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Album Review

The rise in the number of titles in the children's music category around the turn of the century was accompanied by a shift in the approach to such recordings. As baby boomers, who remain loyal record buyers, have become parents, the artists who appeal to them have turned to children's music, but it often seems as though the records are still being made for the boomers, not their children. Though the recordings often concern the subjects of childhood and parenting, it is often hard to imagine a child actually enjoying the music. Such is the case with the Keb' Mo' children's album, Big Wide Grin, which is better regarded as a regular Keb' Mo' album on the theme of family rather than an album for children. The singer covers a number of pop evergreens from the late '60s and 1970s — the O'Jays' "Love Train," Bill Withers' "Grandma's Hands," the Winstons' "Color Him Father," Sly and the Family Stone's "Family Affair," Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," and Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" — and he reaches back even further for the swing-era standard "The Flat Foot Floogie" and "America the Beautiful." All of these are likely to be familiar to parents of a certain age, and most have something to do with family issues, but only a couple are likely to appeal to children. This is not to say that, to be a children's album, a record must be filled with singalongs for the preschool set. But albums like this belong to a recent subset of the children's market that should perhaps be labeled "parents' music." In the case of Keb' Mo', the recording serves to ease him even more in the direction of being a folk-pop interpreter, an approach he has embraced increasingly since initially coming across as a new-style folk-blues singer.

Customer Reviews

Just another great album by Keb Mo

Just another great album by Keb Mo. His treatment of Isn't She Lovely is gentle, as it should be for a pseudo lullaby. You can feel a strained passion in America the Beautiful. And I really enjoyed the zydeco feel of Everybody Be Yo'self. Overall a good listen for a country side drive, an afternoon read, or anytime you just want to feel some peace.

Not just a children's album

This is a fantastic mix of original and cover tunes. If "America the Beautiful doesn't bring you to tears, you should check your pulse. This recording shows what an unbelievably warm, cool person Keb is. The variety is just awesome and it's a cool departure from his more traditional roots music.

Biography

Born: October 3, 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...
Full Bio