KEB’ MO’ – Keb’ Mo’ (1994)

Review by: Roland Bruynesteyn
Album assigned by: Nina A

Keb’ Mo’, or Kevin Moore, as his mother knows him, hit the stage in 1994 with this, his debut album. It’s mostly an acoustic blues album. Keb’ has a nice deep voice and knows how to play the guitar. His voice and the album sound quite a bit like some earlier Taj Mahal albums.
“Come On in My Kitchen” and “Kindhearted Woman Blues” are Robert Johnson covers, the others are (co-)written by Keb’. I won’t describe all the songs, but give you a feeling of what you’ll find here instead.
A lot of the songs are solo performances, with Keb’ accompanying himself on guitar, with a little harmonica thrown in for good measure. “Every Morning” and “Love Blues” illustrate this perfectly. In some songs his guitar sounds a bit like a dobro, a nice touch.
Other songs, while still acoustic are less bluesy in sound and overall atmosphere. In “Victims of Comfort” and “Anybody Seen My Girl” for instance, he uses his voice to great effect but they do sound like nice Eric Clapton pop songs circa Reptile. The same goes for “City Boy”, although that mostly features a piano rather than guitars.
Some songs, mostly full band performances, sound happy, although still steeped in the blues (“Tell Everybody I Know” and “Angelina” are good examples).
“Don’t Try to Explain” is totally different: it’s more keyboard based (both piano and organ) and could have been sung great by both Greg Allman or Steve Winwood. Nice somewhat gospel like song, but it does not really fit the album (or it adds to the variety…).
Just like Robert Cray would move from (rather slick) blues albums into a more soul and r’n’b  direction, Keb’ would move in a more singer-songwriter direction on later albums (including collaborations with Jackson Browne, for instance). But he sure can write a song, he can play the guitar and he has a nice, somewhat melancholic voice. His debut album is a nice modern blues album and as such I strongly recommend it. 

Author: tomymostalas


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