Keb Mo – Moonlight, Mistletoe & You
Bluesman Keb Mo (Keving Moore) has laid down 10 Christmas tunes for the upcoming holiday season, half of which are originals. It’s a fine effort with Keb and a variety of different artists in support.
The classic “Please Come Home for Christmas” kicks things off. He gives this one a bluesy and jazzy presentation with nice keys by David Rogers and Akil Thomson on some smooth electric guitar. Next is the title track; Gerald Albright is on sax and gives a nice solo and there is some pretty strings that are nicely arranged. Smooth and flowing, it’s more jazz than blues but well done. “Better Everyday” is another original with some horns and organ and keys and backing vocals to make things rounded out and cool. “Santa Claus, Santa Claus” gets a dirty sounding work over with stinging guitar by Thompson in support of Keb. The amusing “Christmas is Annoying” is next, an original done with just Keb in trio format with Scott Mulvahill on upright bass and Neil Tufano on drums. Less is better as he bops through things in a bouncy and lilting manner.
Koko Taylor’s “Merry, Merry Christmas” gets a well done and fresh update with Thompson and Rogers in support. “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” brings the strings and horns back with pretty piano by David Rogers helping out along with Mike Pachelli’s guitar and Melissa Manchester sharing the vocals. “Santa Claus Blues” is an old 1931 Charlie Jordan tune that Keb works over nicely with some piano and a little acoustic slide. “When the Children Sing” feature Keb on guitar and vocals with The Children of NIA House Montessori School, a beautiful and uplifting cut. “One More Year With You” is a smooth and jazzy original that might be a Tony Bennett song if it were not Kevin Moore delivering with his emotive pacing. Cool horns, piano and keys make this special.
Okay, it’s not all blues and there is a tad of schmaltz here and there, but this is a nice Christmas album mixing some slick jazz and Keb’s always thoughtful vocals. If you need some new Christmas music to make the season bright, then you might think about picking this up!