Album Reviews

The Bo-Keys – Got To Get Back!




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The Bo-Keys
Got To Get Back!


Scott Bomar—producer (Cyndi Lauper’s Grammy-nominated Memphis Blues CD) and film composer (“Hustle & Flow”)—creates spare, stylish arrangements for his muscular Memphis soul-jazz band, the Bo-Keys. He’s assembled seasoned sidemen from the heyday of labels like Stax and Hi, plus rising, young session players, building an authentic, modern soul-funk-R&B crew.

This analog studio recording will appeal to Sharon Jones fans, especially since Bomar has peppered the stew with four veteran vocalists. On the title tune, Otis Clay expertly bends notes, moaning about a delayed flight. Mississippi bluesman Charlie Musselwhite sings with manly confidence on “I’m Going Home.” Percy Wiggins’s voice graces “Catch This Teardrop,” and William Bell, a creator of the Stax-Volt sound, reveals his “Weak Spot” with compelling vulnerability.

The Bo‑Keys themselves include Ben Cauley (trumpet; lone survivor of the crash that killed Otis Redding and his band), Howard Grimes (drums; from Al Green’s rhythm section), Floyd Newman (baritone saxman of the BB King Orchestra), Charles “Skip” Pitts (guitar; played on Isaac Hayes’s “Theme from Shaft”).

This band is testifying, tight and terrific on all 12 cuts. A slow strut called “Sundown on Beale” stands out as Pitts’s supple, singing guitar converses with Al Gamble’s insinuating keyboard, while Cauley and Marc Franklin gossip through their horns.

—Annie Dinerman

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  1. […] Set your calendars for March 27th, as dozens of the country’s most talented blues artists will descend on Bethlehem, PA for the 2015 Blast Furnace Blues Festival. This three-day celebration of all things blues music, presented by Highmark Blue Shield, will feature headliners like Tommy Castro, Shemekia Copeland, the Heritage Blues Orchestra, and John Németh & the Bo-Keys. […]