Sunday, November 26, 2006

"Whole 'Nother Thang" / Keb' Mo'

I can't even remember how I first got turned onto Kevin Moore, who records under the name of Keb' Mo' -- I reckon the abbreviation is meant to suggest an old-timey bluesman, and yes, the blues are alive and well with this guy. But what gets me about Keb' is his sly sense of humor, totally 2006 -- he'll refer to logging onto the internet or skydiving or investing in the stock market or driving an Escalade, all the while with a langorous hip-shifting groove that's part Delta and part Chicago and one-hundred-percent intoxicating.

I saw him last summer in Central Park opening for Bonnie Raitt; most of the crowd was there for Bonnie, but man, I was there for Keb', and he did not let me down. Skinny as a whippet and black as night, hat perched at a lazy angle on the back of his head, he has this great complicit grin that pulls you right in. He puts himself across as a man who really LIKES women, likes them for being smart and sassy and natural and full of juice, and I for one find it damn easy to imagine having a fine time with him.

This track is from his new album, Suitcase, a pretty irresistible CD if I do say so. The premise of this song is simple: he runs through a list of vices that he doesn't have..."but women? that's a whole 'nuther thang." Now, ladies, which one of us doesn't want to be a man's only weakness? And believe me, every one of us is included: "I like 'em big tall short fat thin and in between / I like 'em when they're gentle and I like 'em when they're mean / I like them when they whisper but I love them when they scream -- " Yee-OW!!

His guitar line strolls along confidently, punctuated with a brassy horn section and a wailing sax, and there's a sort of a wink in Keb's supple voice that brings you in on the joke, no matter how suggestive it is -- we're all adults here, right? As Keb' puts it in the next verse, "Only one thing makes me throw my money away: That's a little TLC and a little [ba-da-boom] T & A." In a world that seems to celebrate only skinny blond sexpots, the rest of us -- and that's most of us -- have this man to appreciate us. It's genuinely sexy -- and ain't that what the blues is all about?

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