Picks and Pans Review: Keep It Simple

updated 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Keb' Mo'

CRITIC'S CHOICE

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As bluesmen go, Keb' Mo' (real name: Kevin Moore) is relatively easygoing. He never gets as self-obsessed, tight or anxious as his blues forebears. This album, his sixth, even includes an almost upbeat tune called "Prosperity Blues," hardly the stuff of Lead-belly or Bessie Smith. "Shave Yo' Legs," too, shows some wit and self-deprecation, with Mo' telling a woman, "You don't have to shave your legs for me." Vocally, Mo' sounds like a cross between Otis Redding and Robert Cray, and his relaxed guitar-playing calls to mind Bonnie Raitt or Eric Clapton more than such hardcore blues guitarists as Charlie Christian or Stevie Ray Vaughan. While in the past Mo' has covered such tunes as "The Flat Foot Floogie" and Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," this disc contains only original material. More's the pity, since Mo' has displayed the ability to tap the blues roots in many genres of music, collaborating with everyone from Willie Nelson to Jackson Browne. Still, it's hard to complain about blues that makes you feel this good.

GOSPEL

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