Our top 10 Keb’ Mo’ songs list presents a fabulous musical artist who took the genre of blues music and added a fresh feel and sound to the blues while still staying true to its organic roots. Born in 1951, Keb’ Mo’ would have his parents instill him with an appreciation for gospel and blues music from a tender age. As a result, he became an accomplished guitarist by the time he hit adolescent age. Keb’ Mo’ had his music career start with playing drums in a calypso band. At twenty-one years of age, he was hired by violinist Papa John Creach of the band Jefferson Airplane, with whom he started recording music. This would have him appear in four of Papa John Creach’s albums. Here Keb’ Mo’ would receive his first gold record thanks to the song “Git Fiddler,” which he co-wrote with Creach. The song was featured on the album Red Octopus which was released by Jefferson Starship, rising to the top of the Billboard 200 Album chart in 1975.
Keb’ Mo’ later signed with Chocolate City Records, where he released his debut album Rainmaker (1980). His love for blues grew even deeper following a long spell in Whodunit, which was headed by producer Monk Higgins. Keb’ Mo’ enjoyed the company of iconic artists such as Big Joe Turner and Albert Collins, helping him emerge as an inheritor of a guarded blues tradition. Later in 1994, he would release an eponymous album that featured two Robert Johnson covers, stating later that Robert Johnson was one of his influences. With his art gaining attention from blues lovers, Keb’ Mo’ was compelled to release the album Just Like You in 1996. Just Like You (1996) ushered him to new levels of success, having him win a Grammy Award, thanks to the awe-inspiring songs in the album. The album featured guest artists such as Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne.
Two years later, he would be signed by German rock star Peter Maffay in a multi-artist project where they performed tons of songs, including a version of his ballad “Am I Wrong.” The artist ushered in better days with his album Slow Down (1998), winning him his second Grammys Award. Keb’ Mo’ went a step further to release Big Wide Grin (2000), a children’s album which featured his childhood experiences. Later, he would win a third Grammy Award with his 2004 album Keep It Simple, cementing his position as a reputable and indispensable pillar in the contemporary blues music genre.
Throughout his career, Keb’ Mo’ receive tons of nominations, winning five Grammy Awards, among other accolades. His post-modern blues style draws influences from jazz, country, folk, pop, and rock music. While there’s much to say about Keb’ Mo’, we can barely exhaust all from this legendary blues artist. Our top 10 Keb’ Mo’ songs will give you a taste of his special musical style and art in the blues genre.
#10 – I See Love
Opening our top 10 Keb’ Mo’ songs is the uplifting ballad “I See Love.” The song was co-written by Keb’ Mo’ and singer-songwriter Josh Kelley, having it released in the album Suitcase. “I See Love” was used as the opening theme song for the American sitcom Mike & Molly. Josh Kelley revealed that he had previously called Keb’ Mo’ in 2004, telling him that he would love to collaborate with him in writing a song. After a mutual agreement, Josh Kelley would drive to his home where the two penned down the ballad “I See Love.” Chuck Lorre loved the hit, only to choose it as his preferred theme song for Mike & Molly.
#9 – Soon As I Get Paid
“Soon As I Get Paid” is a humorous original from his Grammy Award-winning album Slow Down. The song finds Keb’ Mo’ serving some of the best licks and melodies in the blues music scene. “Soon As I Get Paid” brings on some old-school blues vibes that has Keb’ Mo’ compared to legendary B.B. King. He also goes on to show his mastery of the guitar, thanks to some uplifting riffs delivered as the song begins. The song has its lyrics allude to an overdue credit card, inability to raise cash for drinks, and ruinous tax returns.
#8 – I Remember You
Bluesman Keb’ Mo’ continues to amaze even at his old age thanks to magnificent album releases such as Oklahoma (2019), which included appearances by Robert Randolph and Rosanne Cash. One of the album’s favorites is the hit “I Remember You,” a sizzling song that finds Keb’ Mo’ dealing with the enduring power of memory. The song’s lyrics tell the story of a man and his haunting experience with a charming lady he spotted in a bar sipping on a margarita. Sadly, the man was no match for the classy lady. And when she was gone out of the bar, all he was left with was an enchanting memory that haunts him to date. Other artists such as Skid Row and Frank Ifield have released a song under a similar title (but different lyrics).
#7 – Everything I Need
Slow Down (1998) is a Grammy Award-winning album that had Keb’ Mo’ solidify his ground as a reputable contemporary blues artist. Keb’ Mo’ collaborated with Charles Edward Streetman to release the song “Everything I Need” for this album. We all need lots of stuff to make life feel like it is worth living. If nothing big on our list, at least having the basic/fundamental needs fixed sets us at a leverage position to reach the goals that we have set. However, how many would still march on to pursue their goals without their basic needs fulfilled?
While not many would do so, Keb’ Mo’ quotes that he has all he needs in his timed struggle to reach success. All he needs and already possess is his heart and soul! He reminds the world that he is not getting any young and must push forward in his pursuit of a lifetime dream, and all he asks for is to be heard when he calls. Kutless, Quinn XCII, The Wallflowers, The Wilsons, Trevor Hall, Marizu, Skylar Grey, Daniel Merriweather, and Pressure are other artists to have released a song under the same title, “Everything I Need.”
#6 – More Than One Way Home
The moment you listen to the song “More Than One Way Home,” it becomes evident why Keb’ Mo’ won the Grammy Award for the Best Contemporary Blues Album in 1997. Unlike his previous two albums, Just Like You (1996) featured deep blues-pop and blues-rock vibes. Keb’ Mo’ collaborated with John Lewis Parker in penning the lyrics to the song. The song lyrics seem to channel the message that we are fine no matter the path we take in life since there’s more than one road to lead us home (metaphoric for happiness and a contented life).
#5- Just Like You
Number five on our top 10 Keb’ Mo’ songs list is “Just Like You,” the album titled song for his third studio album. Keb’ Mo’ would once more collaborate with John Lewis Parker to pen the song’s lyrics. Like the number six on our top 10 Keb’ Mo’ songs, you can feel the shift from his initial Delta blues to some modern blues vibes that blend in some pop and rock vibe. The song features some somber acoustic blues vibes. “Just Like You” channels the message that under the skin, we are all the same. Keyshia Cole had her sophomore album going under the same title, Just Like You.
#4- Put a Woman in Charge ft. Rosanne Cash
Keb’ Mo’ featured country singer Rosanne Cash in releasing his song “Put a Woman in Charge.” The song was released in 2018 as the lead single to the album Oklahoma. “Put a Woman in Charge” is an anthemic blues song famed for addressing the political and gender imbalance crisis. The song’s lyrical content and a lively, upbeat tune add to the reason why it features as one of Keb’ Mo’s best songs. Keb’ Mo’ outsourced the help of Beth Nielsen Chapman and John Lewis Parker in penning the lyrics to the song. The song’s video was dedicated to Keb’ Mo’s mother, a strong and influential leader, who passed away at the age of ninety-one. “Put a Woman in Charge” peaked at number ten on the Billboard Blues Songs Chart.
#3- The Whole Enchilada
While the album The Reflection might not have won a Grammys, it featured some of the best Keb’ Mo’ songs, such as “The Whole Enchilada.” Keb’ Mo’ sought to return to the blues music scene since his last release in 2006 with his debut album on his Yolabelle International Record label. With “The Whole Enchilada,” Keb’ Mo’ showcased to the world how much gifted he is by delivering some poignant vocals spiced up with bluesy licks.
The singer revealed that the song was penned by John Lewis Parker. Its lyrics allude to when a man gets the woman of his dreams, posing a question of his readiness to handle the blessing that he now holds. Its slow tempo adds to its bluesy feeling, making the song whet your appetite for more blues vibes from the artist.
#2- Am I Wrong
“Am I Wrong” is a song from Keb’ Mo’s eponymous album that finds him questioning if he is wrong for loving a woman who seems to have been in a toxic relationship. Allow me to exclaim that every woman needs her Keb’ Mo’ thanks to how expressive he gets when it comes to love matters. The song “Am I Wrong” was sampled by BTS, who remade it in a bid to comment on a serious political issue in Korean society. BTS version was a criticism of the corrupt administration of President Park Geun-Hye of South Korea. Nico & Vinz released their pop version of “Am I Wrong” in the album Absolute Music 73.
#1- Life Is Beautiful
Amid trying times, it is rare to have someone confess about the beauty of life. However, Keb’ Mo’ reminds us of the beauty of life in the number one hit on our top 10 Keb’ Mo’ songs, “Life is Beautiful.” He goes on to remind us that life should be spent with people we treasure and love. Keb’ Mo’ delivers this song in heartfelt lyrics accompanied by charming illustrations making the song one of his best performances. The hit was featured as the final song in his ninth studio album, Suitcase.
Top 10 Keb’ Mo’ Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021