Keep It Simple

( 5 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
There comes a point in a committed artist’s career when he knows just what he wants, and how to get it. Planning the sound of his upcoming album, contemporary bluesman Keb' Mo’ realized that he could act as his own producer, so definite was his vision of the music. His hunch was correct, for Keep It Simple is among the most immediately gratifying of Mo’s acclaimed recordings. Personal though the album may be, Mo’ doesn’t go it alone. He’s brought in some heavy hitters to enrich his sound, including bluegrass virtuoso Sam Bush on mandolin, and studio giants Nathan East on bass and Greg Philinganes on keyboards. An instrumental highlight is the tasty guitar work ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
There comes a point in a committed artist’s career when he knows just what he wants, and how to get it. Planning the sound of his upcoming album, contemporary bluesman Keb' Mo’ realized that he could act as his own producer, so definite was his vision of the music. His hunch was correct, for Keep It Simple is among the most immediately gratifying of Mo’s acclaimed recordings. Personal though the album may be, Mo’ doesn’t go it alone. He’s brought in some heavy hitters to enrich his sound, including bluegrass virtuoso Sam Bush on mandolin, and studio giants Nathan East on bass and Greg Philinganes on keyboards. An instrumental highlight is the tasty guitar work provided by Robert Cray and Robben Ford on “Riley B. King,” a tribute to B. B. King co-written by Ford and Mo'. Amy Grant and Vince Gill also pitch in with supporting vocals on “House In California.” Still, there’s plenty of the celebrated vocals and guitar picking and expert songcraft that have made Keb' Mo' a modern legend of the blues. With Keep It Simple, he continues to bring the genre into the warmth of a new day.
All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/10/2004
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998640825
  • Catalog Number: 86408
  • Sales rank: 120

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 France (2:51)
  2. 2 Let Your Light Shine (4:07)
  3. 3 One Friend (3:04)
  4. 4 Shave Yo' Legs (4:14)
  5. 5 Prosperity Blues (3:26)
  6. 6 Closer (4:17)
  7. 7 Keep It Simple (4:57)
  8. 8 Riley B. King (5:17)
  9. 9 House in California (2:43)
  10. 10 Walk Back In (5:22)
  11. 11 I'm Amazing (3:14)
  12. 12 Proving You Wrong (3:46)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Keb' Mo' Primary Artist, Synthesizer, Banjo, Bass, Guitar, Harmonica, Mandolin, Percussion, Vocals
Robert Cray Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals, Soloist
Sam Bush Mandolin
Amy Grant Background Vocals
Robben Ford Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals, Soloist
Jeff Paris Organ, Harmonica, Mandolin, Piano, Keyboards
Alex Brown Background Vocals
Chad Cromwell Drums
Nathan East Bass
Steve Ferrone Drums
Paul Franklin Dobro
Vince Gill Background Vocals
John Hobbs Electric Piano, fender rhodes
Phillip Ingram Background Vocals
Munyungo Jackson Percussion
Ricky Lawson Drums
Reggie McBride Bass
Greg Phillinganes Piano, Keyboards, Electric Piano
John Porter Guitar
Willie Weeks Bass
Andrea Zonn Violin, Background Vocals
Bobette Harrison-Jamison Background Vocals
Shannon Curfman Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Mickey Hart Composer
Bob Weir Composer
Robben Ford Composer
Bill Medley Composer
Jeff Paris Composer
Gary Nicholson Composer
Darrell Scott Composer
Jenny Yates Composer
Keb' Mo' Composer, Producer
Zuriani Composer
David Bett Art Direction
Ok Hee Kim Engineer
Jason Wormer Engineer
Stephen Marsh Mastering
Eric Lynn Composer
Kevin Meeker Engineer
Andy Brohard Engineer
Mark Johnson Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great CD

    Love this CD. Every song is good!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Upbeat Blues

    This is an incredibly mellow, but uplifting album. I am constantly amazed how his very simple, straightforward lyrics can convey strong emotion and solid stories. This is his best album yet. Spread the word!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Keep It Simple

    I have heard Keb Mo's music performed by others, but it is by far better from him. This CD takes you on an emotional ride that is enjoyable and soothing. Keb Mo is a great artist and story teller.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Keep It Simple

    I have heard Keb Mo's music performed by others and enjoyed it. This CD takes you on an emotional journey that is enjoyable and soothing. Keb Mo is a great artist and story teller.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great new release!

    This was my first album of Keb Mo but it certainly won't be my last! Nice instramental and smoooth vocal.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews