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Blues - Released May 31, 1996 | Okeh - Epic

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On his second album, Keb' Mo' begins to expand the borders of his Delta blues by recording with a full band on a couple of tracks and attempting more expansive, rock-based song structures. The attempts aren't entirely successful and it's ironic that he decided to try rock-oriented material after he received such praise for his traditionalist debut. Still, there are a few songs on the album that rank with the best on his first album, which suggests that Just Like You is merely a sophomore slump. © Thom Owens /TiVo
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Blues - Released May 12, 1994 | Okeh - Epic

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Keb' Mo's self-titled debut is an edgy, ambitious collection of gritty country blues. Keb' Mo' pushes into new directions, trying to incorporate some of the sensibilites of the slacker revolution without losing touch of the tradition that makes the blues the breathing, vital art form it is. His attempts aren't always successful, but his gutsy guitar playing and impassioned vocals, as well as his surprisingly accomplished songwriting, make Keb' Mo' a debut to cherish. © Thom Owens /TiVo
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Blues - Released June 14, 2019 | Concord Records

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Faithful. 25 years since his career began, Kevin Roosevelt Moore – a.k.a Keb’ Mo – has always remained deeply faithful to the blues. A righteous path which has never kept him from adding his own stone to a building which already has many, many builders. Oklahoma in that sense is an original project – a stone of his own, if you will. There are no links between him, his story and that state which borders Colorado and Kansas to the north, Missouri and Arkansas to the east, New Mexico to the west and Texas to the south. In 2013, Keb’ Mo, along with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, travelled there for a disaster relief fund concert, following a deadly tornado. Friendships were born, along with a need to create something which would be anchored to that region. Keb’ Mo’s blues is intertwined with country, native American and folk music; Robert Randolph and his impressionistic lap steel playing came along, with Rosanne Cash, as well as Taj Mahal – with whom he wrote the album TajMo in 2017. True to himself, his lyrics scrutinize America’s internalized suffering as well our era’s new set of problems.© Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Blues - Released January 17, 2017 | Epic - 550 Music - Okeh

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Blues - Released October 16, 2005 | Epic - One Haven - Red Ink

On Suitcase, his eighth studio release, Keb' Mo' (Kevin Moore) reunites with John Porter, the producer of Moore's critically lauded first album, and the result is a pleasant, midtempo suite of songs dedicated to the emotional baggage everyone carries with them as they plow through increasingly complicated lives in search of peace, love, and some measure of personal redemption. Moore covers this ground with a wink and a grin in his voice, though, and Suitcase emerges as a wry commentary on modern life that still manages to sound bright and positive, beginning with the effervescent, sprung reggae rhythm of the opening track, "Your Love," one of the best cuts here. Other highlights include the lovely ballad, "Still There for Me," a celebration of the little man and his private victories, "I'm a Hero," and the soothing, hopeful shuffle that closes things out, "Life Is Beautiful." Moore is generally classified as a blues player, but the truth is, aside from his first album, he has actually done very little true blues material, and it is probably more accurate to call what he does blues-informed, but even that ignores the point that he is probably much closer in tone, theme, and feel to James Taylor than he is to Robert Johnson or any other blues figure. He does turn to the blues here, though, on the title track, "Suitcase," and morphs it into a wonderfully engaging song about what people bring into a romantic relationship and what they take away in the end, making full use of the "emotional baggage" connection inherent in the title. It is Keb' Mo' at his best, drawing on his ability to synthesize roots forms like the blues into completely contemporary commentaries on the struggles, travails, and blind faith in personal redemption that accompanies people as they slog their way daily ever deeper into the 21st century. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Blues - Released August 25, 1998 | Okeh - 550 Music

At the beginning of his career, Keb' Mo' appeared to be a clever update of the acoustic bluesman, one that managed to recall country-blues but offer a contemporary spin on tradition -- sort of like a '90s version of Taj Mahal. With each new album, however, it became clear that authenticity was not a concept that troubled Keb' Mo'. He was more concerned with offering a nice, smooth bluesy pop that was perfect for the House of Blues, not for seedy roadhouse. That's not necessarily a bad thing -- it's just the kind of thing that would irritate blues purists who may have placed hope in him in the first place. Slow Down, Mo's third album, will nevertheless be the kind of album that will please listeners who like laid-back, polished blues, not gritty Chicago or Delta blues. Approaching Slow Down with this knowledge is helpful, since it isn't a bad album -- it's well-constructed and professionally performed, emphasizing Keb' Mo's ability to craft good, slick blues-rock. If you like that sound -- the sound of post-Robert Cray blues, with no trace of Stevie Ray Vaughan pyrotechnics -- Slow Down may be just your pace. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Blues - Released September 5, 2003 | Epic - Legacy

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). © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Ambient/New Age - Released October 18, 2019 | Concord Records

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The inherent friendliness of Moonlight, Mistletoe and You buoys the first holiday album from veteran blues singer Keb' Mo' through its periodic shifts in tone and style. Keb' Mo' has long been known for dabbling in a variety of different American roots music, so the intermingling of blues, jazz, and Tin Pan Alley pop comes as no surprise. His easy touch ties together these shifts in sound, but his warmth can sometimes be suppressed by the crisp, clean production that veers just a little bit too close to antiseptic on occasion. Despite the digital gloss of "Merry Merry Christmas" and the bouncy "Better Everyday," Moonlight, Mistletoe and You still winds up as a cozy listen, all due to Keb' Mo''s emphasis on sweetness and good humor. The entire album is a celebration -- when he's lamenting the holiday on "Christmas Is Annoying," his tongue is firmly in cheek -- and that's what makes it an appealing soundtrack for the season. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Blues - Released April 22, 2014 | Kind Of Blue Music

The title is a tip-off that after the soul excursion of The Reflection, Keb' Mo' is getting back to the blues, but also that he's concerned with not limiting himself to just that genre. It's clear Keb' Mo' has a broad view of the blues, seeing it as the backbone of American music, a generous definition he makes plain on BLUESAmericana. As the record rolls through its ten tracks, it amiably drifts across the country, touching upon the careening New Orleans stomp of "Old Me Better" as well as the soulful thrum of Memphis on "For Better or Worse." Keb' Mo' takes plenty of stops along the way, favoring a bit of Chicago grind and low-key Texas shuffles, but usually he pours it all into a relaxed, friendly groove that leaves plenty of space for his warm, cheerful vocals. Such an emphasis on feel means that beneath its sly anthropology, BLUESAmericana is essentially mood music, a soundtrack for good times on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and if that seems like slight praise, it also means that the album ultimately proves Keb' Mo''s point; blues can be heard in every thread of the musical fabric of America. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Blues - Released February 10, 2004 | Epic - Okeh

Keb' Mo' is less a blues singer than a performer who works from that conceptual base, not in the way Taj Mahal does, knowingly carrying a tradition forward, half teacher and wise elder, but more as a populist, the James Taylor of blues, say, or a less recalcitrant J.J. Cale. To criticize him for not being Skip James or Robert Johnson sort of misses the point of what Keb' Mo' is shooting for, and like Bonnie Raitt discovered, bringing a modern pop-blues to a wide audience sure beats playing authentic for purists. Either path is as fake or as real as the other in a post-postmodern age where the blues creaks along as a single DNA strand in a world of rap, metal, and neo-soul. All of which makes the blues a strange career path to use to get straight out of Compton, yet that's exactly what Keb' Mo' has done, rising out of one of toughest urban landscapes in the world by covering Robert Johnson songs on his National steel guitar. So enough about whether he's a real bluesman or not, because in the end he has to put supper on the table, and he does it by crafting a warm, wry, blues-informed version of pop Americana that wrestles with contemporary problems like how to pay the mortgage, the high price of coffee, or how to afford a vacation in France. "France," the lead track on Keep It Simple, pretty much states the case with the lines "Wake up Mama/Don't you fret/I found two cheap tickets/On the Internet," which Keb' Mo' sings in a honey-tinged voice over a patented and tasteful blues shuffle. Later, in "House in California," he sings, "Better have good money/If you're looking for a house/In California," and again, he uses a shuffle to hang the news on, looking no further into the past than necessary to put the song across. Keb' Mo' is a solid guitar player, and is a master of the easy, nuanced vocal, and he makes like Denzel Washington on this album, commenting on the little problems and travails of contemporary life with a winning grin and an assured stance that you can't help but like. Is this a great album? No, just a good one, all of a piece with his earlier work, and his debut release, simply called Keb' Mo', is still probably your best bet for a first purchase. That's the album the critics like best because it stays closest to the Delta definition of the blues, and it is a good album, but Keb' Mo' didn't trade Compton for the Delta just to stay there. He's looking for a house in California and a plane ticket to France. Aren't we all? That's the blues, folks. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Miscellaneous - Released February 12, 1998 | Sony Wonder

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. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Blues - Released June 14, 2019 | Concord Records

Faithful. 25 years since his career began, Kevin Roosevelt Moore – a.k.a Keb’ Mo – has always remained deeply faithful to the blues. A righteous path which has never kept him from adding his own stone to a building which already has many, many builders. Oklahoma in that sense is an original project – a stone of his own, if you will. There are no links between him, his story and that state which borders Colorado and Kansas to the north, Missouri and Arkansas to the east, New Mexico to the west and Texas to the south. In 2013, Keb’ Mo, along with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, travelled there for a disaster relief fund concert, following a deadly tornado. Friendships were born, along with a need to create something which would be anchored to that region. Keb’ Mo’s blues is intertwined with country, native American and folk music; Robert Randolph and his impressionistic lap steel playing came along, with Rosanne Cash, as well as Taj Mahal – with whom he wrote the album TajMo in 2017. True to himself, his lyrics scrutinize America’s internalized suffering as well our era’s new set of problems.© Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Pop - Released September 21, 2004 | Okeh - Epic

Peace...Back by Popular Demand finds Keb' Mo' covering nine classic protest and peace songs from the 1960s and early '70s, and what is immediately apparent is how well these songs translate forward into the current political milieu. This is an album where the songs themselves are the stars, and Keb' Mo' wisely takes a low-key and measured vocal approach to each of them, letting the messages take hold over light soul-jazz backings, with just enough funk in the horn charts to give the arrangements some push. It's hard to argue with the song selection, but as an interpreter, Mo' seldom makes any of these tracks his own, and behind each stands the ghostly but clear memory of the original version. Perhaps that would be unavoidable under any circumstances, because songs like John Lennon's "Imagine" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Happening Brother" are so perfectly realized in the original recordings, but if the idea here is to give the messages of these songs a new cachet in a new era, then only a couple of them are given a redefinition by Mo' that would allow it. One that does work in a new guise is the opening track, a spunky, light soul rendition of Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth." The song seems to have gained wisdom and import as the years have passed, and in the hands of Keb' Mo' it becomes both universal and danceable. Less successful is Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding," which is also given a heavy makeover, emerging in a swampy string band version that makes the song feel somehow less urgent. The cover here of Gaye's "What's Happening Brother" works because Mo' stays close to the original template, and given that Gaye pretty much invented the jazzy soul approach on his classic What's Going On album (an album that hardly needs redefinition to be vital in a contemporary setting), this is a wise choice. Delivering a perfectly nuanced vocal on Donny Hathaway's "Someday We'll All Be Free," Mo' brings out the hard-earned wisdom and hope inherent in the song's lyrics, as well as preserving its natural elegance. The simple vocal-and-piano approach to Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" strips the song of its defiant swagger, replacing it with a kind of cautious -- but hopeful -- resignation that is surprisingly effective in shining a different kind of light on the lyrics. There is one Keb' Mo' original on the album, "Talk," which takes as its premise a one-on-one talk with the President of the United States, a notion that will seem like science fiction for most listeners. Obviously Mo' isn't trying to top the Hit Parade with anything here, and his effort to bring these important songs into a new light is laudable. Peace...Back by Popular Demand is not a major album, but it does have some major things to say, or re-say, in this case, and it serves as a reminder that every era could use (and deserves) some peace. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Blues - Released August 2, 2011 | Yolabelle International

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Soul - Released October 14, 2009 | Yolabelle International - One Haven Music

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Blues - Released August 2, 2011 | Yolabelle International

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Blues - Released April 22, 2014 | Kind Of Blue Music

The title is a tip-off that after the soul excursion of The Reflection, Keb' Mo' is getting back to the blues, but also that he's concerned with not limiting himself to just that genre. It's clear Keb' Mo' has a broad view of the blues, seeing it as the backbone of American music, a generous definition he makes plain on BLUESAmericana. As the record rolls through its ten tracks, it amiably drifts across the country, touching upon the careening New Orleans stomp of "Old Me Better" as well as the soulful thrum of Memphis on "For Better or Worse." Keb' Mo' takes plenty of stops along the way, favoring a bit of Chicago grind and low-key Texas shuffles, but usually he pours it all into a relaxed, friendly groove that leaves plenty of space for his warm, cheerful vocals. Such an emphasis on feel means that beneath its sly anthropology, BLUESAmericana is essentially mood music, a soundtrack for good times on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and if that seems like slight praise, it also means that the album ultimately proves Keb' Mo''s point; blues can be heard in every thread of the musical fabric of America. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Blues - Released April 15, 2016 | Kind Of Blue Music

Pink isn't a color usually associated with blues but That Hot Pink Blues Album doesn't have a sound usually associated with Keb' Mo'. Sure, there are elements of the acoustic slide guitar that has been his signature since his 1994 debut, but the live album emphasizes his softer, soulful side, sometimes pairing the bluesman with sympathetic strings. In this respect, That Hot Pink Blues Album feels like a cousin to the mellow 2011 set The Reflection, but these 16 songs were cut on the 2015 supporting tour for 2014's BLUESAmericana, a record that was designed to touch on as many different American roots sounds as possible. Compared to that, That Hot Pink Blues Album is a little more streamlined, containing a dual focus on mellow grooves and sensitive reflections. He's attempted this in the studio, but his interpretations breathe and sigh on-stage, which is what makes That Hot Pink Blues Album warm and enveloping in a way few other Keb' Mo' records are. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Blues - Released July 14, 2021 | Rounder

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Blues - Released March 19, 2021 | Concord Records

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