Bob Malone: Mojo Deluxe Review

The bluesman archetype has for so long embodied a guitarist crooning emotional lyrics that we sometimes forget how powerful other instrumentation in this genre can be. On Bob Malone’s new album Mojo Deluxe, the keyboardist whacks listeners’ ears to attention with the skill he has honed over a lifetime of playing blues, soul and rock ‘n roll, reminding us that real blues music comes not from the instruments but from the feeling behind each note.

In addition to its 10 original tracks, Mojo Deluxe contains tributes to Ray Charles and Muddy Waters. On “Hard Times,” Malone keeps much of Charles’ original arrangement intact, leaving his own fingerprints on the track with keyboard flurries added here and there. For “She Moves Me,” Malone swaps the guitar portions of Waters’ original with keys, securing the heavy blue note feel of the song on his own turf. Though his covers are strong, a few of his original tracks are even stronger. The album starts with “Certain Distance,” a rollicking tune that calls to mind modern blues styles for its speed, instrumental interplay and dance-ready rhythm. The album continues gaining strength with “Toxic Love,” a song about an unhealthy relationship that works a resonator guitar into Malone’s light keyboard framework. As the record continues, Malone mourns absent love in “Paris,” reflects on the mysterious and stealthy nature of the blues in “Looking for the Blues” and considers the likelihood of guardian angels in “Watching Over Me.” In “Chinese Algebra,” Malone gets his chance to let loose, his fingers racing across the keys with ease and grace. Through it all, his talent for playing piano shines through, leaving no doubt that his skill is as sharp as ever.

Set for release on August 21 through Delta Moon Records, Mojo Deluxe arrives as Malone’s eighth solo album, the first of which was released 14 years ago. When he’s not working on solo projects, the Los Angeles-based artist can be found supporting musician friends onstage, including John Fogerty, whom Malone has toured with for four years. As the release of Mojo Deluxe creeps closer, Malone is expected to bring his music to the people with tour dates scattered across the U.S. and in the UK.

The Review: 8/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Certain Distance
– Toxic Love
– Hard Times
– Looking for the Blues

The Big Hit

– Toxic Love

Review by Meghan Roos

Buy the album: Amazon

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