Bo-Keys to return on June 21 with all-star help

bo-keysSoul music lovers and crate diggers will eagerly await the June 21 release of ‘Got To Get Back!’ on Electraphonic Recordings from Memphis soul music standard bearers the Bo-Keys, their first in seven years. New converts to the genre via Sharon Jones and others will embrace it upon first listen. Powerhouse guest vocalists join the band, including Stax Records hit-maker William Bell, soul/gospel great Otis Clay, classic Atlantic Records singer Percy Wiggins, and blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, who also blows some of his signature harmonica.

In describing the band in a nutshell, The Memphis Flyer puts it best, "[The] Bo-Keys pair great Stax/Hi-era session players with a younger generation of local session aces." While the band’s debut, the all-instrumental ‘The Royal Sessions’ earned them raves from NPR ("A Memphis tour-de-force [and] a fine soul stew"), the new album features a lineup with soul greats among the new additions: Trumpet master Ben Cauley was the only surviving member of the crash that killed Otis Redding and the rest of his band; Drummer Howard Grimes comes from the Hi Records rhythm section that most famously backed Al Green; and baritone sax man Floyd Newman is the only surviving member of the BB King Orchestra (the 1955 big band that King handpicked after he had his first hits) besides King himself. Founding members include Charles "Skip" Pitts, who was Isaac Hayes’ guitar man for over 35 years (including on "Theme From Shaft"), and bassist/producer Scott Bomar, who recorded ‘Got To Get Back!’ to analog equipment at his Electraphonic Recordings studio in Memphis.

Since then, the band has attained numerous accomplishments: The Bo-Keys have become a house band for the Ponderosa Stomp festival; performed at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night’s Swing; appeared on screen in the film "Soul Men," starring Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac; backed Cyndi Lauper on her GRAMMY-nominated album as well as on the Late Show with David Letterman (CBS); and earned a rave concert review from the New York Times ("The band’s set was a marvel of discipline and dirt, keeping its dance grooves close to the ground, never overplaying or letting solos spiral beyond their tight spaces") and a photo spread from tastemaker blog Brooklyn Vegan:

Heads up, Memphians: the Bo-Keys will play a matinee on May 5 at BB King’s Blues Club and will open for Mavis Staples at
Minglewood Hall on May 27. Look out for more tour dates to come.

The Bo-Keys are:

Scott Bomar – Bass and percussion

Charles "Skip" Pitts"- Guitar

Howard Grimes- Drums and percussion

Willie Hall- Drums  and percussion on "Weak

Archie "Hubbie" Turner- Keyboard

Al Gamble – Keyboard

Marc Franklin- Trumpet

Ben Cauley- Trumpet

Kirk Smothers – Tenor and Baritone Sax

Derrick Williams- Tenor Sax

Floyd Newman – Baritone Sax

Jim Spake- Baritone Sax


1 Hi Roller

2 Got to Get Back (To My Baby) featuring Otis Clay

3 Just Chillin’

4 Catch This Teardrop featuring Percy Wiggins

5 Jack and Ginger

6 Sundown on Beale


1 Weak Spot featuring William Bell

2 90 Days Same As Cash

3 I’m Going Home featuring Charlie Musselwhite

4 Cauley Flower

5 Work That Sucker featuring Charles "Skip" Pitts

6 Got to Get Back (To My Baby) PT 2 featuring Otis

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