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Keb'Mo' - "Just like you"

An audiophile-non-audiophile recording

[Italian version]

Artist: Keb'Mo'
Album details: "Just like you" - 484117-2 Okeh/Epic - 1996
Genre: way coooool Blues :-)
Label: Okeh - Epic (Sony Music)
Approx. cost: €/$ 20 (YMMV)
Reviewer: Lucio Cadeddu - TNT Italy
Published: October, 2003

Keb'Mo' - Just like you

This is not the first time we write something about Mr. Kevin Moore (a.k.a Keb'Mo'). Scott and Geoff wrote a very fine review of his debut album (on Okeh/Epic) a couple of years ago here on TNT-Audio, when that album, originally published in 1994, was reissued on 180-grams vinyl by Absolute Analogue.
I'm not here to tell you something about the latest album by Mr. Moore, "The door", no, I'm here to tell you how damn good and nicely recorded is his "Just like you" album.

From a purely musical and artistic point of view I should just report the fact the album won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album and stop here.
For those of you familiar with his debut album..."Just like you" won't come as a surprise as it follows, more or less, the very same footprints. Damn coool blues Music, that's the key ingredient. Then add some pop/R&B and you're done. These 13 songs (12 originals from Moore, 1 cover) unveil the real talent of Keb'Mo', a fine guitarist and a gifted singer who knows how to use his "instruments" to caress the intimate strings of our souls.
"Just like you" is 46 minutes of deep and real emotions that flow so quickly you can't help but put the player in repeat mode one more time. Over and over.

Technically, this is no-audiophile recording. It is nothing you will find at specialized HiFi stores or Shows. It will be hard to listen to it while visiting a HiFi Fair, unless I'm around :-)
These are the only details on the recording that can be found on the CD booklet: Producer: John Porter, Engineer: Joe McGrath, Assistant engineers: Howard Willing, John Strother, Mixing by John Porter, Mastering: Vlado Meller.
The final result is outstanding, for a non audiophile recording: clarity and detail in spades, with a bass range to die for.
Clearly, the album appears more "mature" than the previous "Keb'mo" in the sense that it sounds more like a "studio" one. Everything is where it should be, including the virtual stage, a quite uncommon feature on commercial albums.
The overall balance tends to be on the warm side, as the Music itself requires. This is an album that can be played at insanely high listening levels, to get a kind of "live" experience, provided your system is capable of performing at such levels :-)
Actually, take care not to overload the woofers as the low level of overall distortion may invite you to turn the volume up, much more than your speakers can handle.

One of the best sounding tracks is the title track ("Just like you") where you can find even Jackson Browne lending a hand (actually, his voice) to Keb'Mo'.
With a good HiFi you should be able to follow each instrument separately (the rythm of the drum kit, the strings of Keb'Mo's guitar and the thumpin' bass lines). At the same time, everything should sound "as a whole"! It is quite common, on lesser systems, to detect the bass playing off-tempo when a recording has a powerful bass range.

I'd have preferred a slightly more dynamic recording, though. Not that this album sounds compressed but I know better blues recordings, from this point of view. The fact is hard to notice on songs with few instruments but becomes evident when the going gets rough, as in "Standin' at the station", for example.
Don't get me wrong, I'd thank God every minute if the standard of commercial recordings was as high as in this "Just like you"...but we are here to criticize, aren't we? :-)


Instead of buying musically-questionable audiophile recordings, try some good real Music instead :-) And when good Music is so nicely recorded as this "Just like you" ...well, you start to understand why you spent so much money on a good HiFi system.

© Copyright 2003 Lucio Cadeddu - www.tnt-audio.com

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