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Live & Mo'

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Album Review

Keb' Mo' has gotten a bit of flak now and again for being a crossover blues artist, but with three Grammys in his pocket, he gets the last laugh. Like Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, and his contemporaries Alvin Youngblood Hart and Corey Harris, he uses the blues as a template for a musical vision that includes jazz, funk, rock, R&B, and pop. It is perhaps that last category that causes much of the carping; still, there's no denying the blue heart at the center of his art, or his expertise as a songwriter, singer, instrumentalist, and showman. Mo' left Sony Music in 2004 after a decade on their various labels, and Live & Mo' is his first album for his own Yolabelle label. It's a solid outing that blends a few choice items from his back catalog with new tunes cut both live and in the studio. He opens the set with "Victims of Comfort," the ironic blues tune that was one of the highlights of Keb' Mo', his 1994 debut. His jazzy guitar fills and the subtle drumming of Kevin Moore II add to its laid-back feel. "Perpetual Blues Machine" is a Chicago-style kiss-off to a faithless woman, with stinging leads from Mo' and the big B-3 of Jeff Paris dropping plenty of grit into the groove. Mo' shows his folk roots on the swingin' country blues "Hole in the Bucket," which features his multi-tracked guitar, harmonica, and chiming mandolin blues picking. Mo' gets serious on the closing tracks "Government Cheese" and "A Brand New America." "Cheese" is a funky rocker with a catchy staccato guitar figure and Memphis-flavored horns that addresses the plight of the underemployed with his usual wry humor. "America" is an inspirational tune that nods to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. It's a love song to the nation, perhaps inspired by Obama's election, a soulful salute to the land we all love. The children's choir that Mo' tacks onto the end of the track is a bit over the top, but there's no denying the tune's subtle power. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Customer Reviews

A beautifully put together compilation of live and studio recordings

Wow! Wow! Wow! Keb' Mo' continues to produce amazing music; whether he's re-recording one of his songs (Victims of Comfort) or playing a song in a totally different way (Perpetual Blues Machine), he never ceases to amaze with his endless talent. Mr. Mo' clearly spent a lot of time picking which songs to include and which to ommit as the album flows organically from song to song. Something must also be said about the album's production -- the live recordings as well as the studio have a certain clarity that in my opinion is the signature of an album produced by Mo' himself. Live & Mo' is an experience not to be missed!

Finally! Mo' Live music!

This album puts me in the front row again! I love the quality of the recordings and the choice of songs on Live & Mo'.... just wish they could've included 3 or 4 more songs to fill it out better. A double CD might have made Keb fans Mo' happier- especially the songs that makes us smile & laugh in his concerts. But I do think these songs were the best pick for the album. Love that 'A Brand New America' and ''Victims of Comfort' were included- not just beautiful songs but thought provoking as well.

It's Like Sitting in the Front Row!

I sat in the front row at a recent Keb' Mo' concert and was in seventh heaven. Now, I feel like I am sitting in the front row every day! I am no music critic, but I like what I like, and I like "Live & Mo'" - my own personal heaven on earth!

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
Live & Mo', Keb' Mo'
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Blues, Music
  • Released: Oct 14, 2009

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