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Released: Sept. 21, 2004

Rating: 3.658 (average of 5 ratings)

Genre: blues

Quotable: “As comfy as a warm cup of hot chocolate on a chilly day.” – Hal Horowitz,

Album Tracks:

  1. For What It’s Worth (Stills)
  2. Wake Up Everybody (Carstarphen/ McFadden/ Whitehead)
  3. People Got to Be Free (Brigati/ Cavaliere)
  4. Talk (Moore/ So)
  5. What’s Happening Brother (Gaye/ Nyx)
  6. The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Dylan)
  7. Get Together (Powers)
  8. Someday We’ll All Be Free (Hathaway/ Howard)
  9. What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding? (Lowe)
  10. Imagine (Lennon)

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated --


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • --

Notes: --

Peace…Back by Popular Demand
Keb’ Mo’
“The velvety voiced Mo’ shifts away from his usual matters of the heart to matters of the world on this disc of predominantly covers” HH of “classic protest and peace songs from the 1960s and early ‘70s.” SL Keb’ Mo’ has “abandoned his bluesier roots” HH on these songs and “wisely takes a low-key and measured vocal approach to each of them, letting the messages take hold over light soul-jazz backings, with just enough funk in the horn charts to give the arrangements some push.” SL

“This is an album where the songs themselves are the stars” SL – “a protest album for the double-latte crowd, most of whom can hum along to chestnuts from the Rascals (People Got to Be Free), John Lennon (Imagine), and Bob Dylan (The Times They Are A-Changin’).” HH On the latter, he “strips the song of its defiant swagger, replacing it with a kind of cautious – but hopeful – resignation that is surprisingly effective in shining a different kind of light on the lyrics.” SL

Overall, though, “as an interpreter, Mo’ seldom makes any of these tracks his own, and behind each stands the ghostly but clear memory of the original version.” SL He connects best “when he raids the soul vaults.”

His comfort with soul music is especially apparent in two cases. “The cover here of Gaye’s What’s Happening Brother works because Mo’ stays close to the original template, and given that Gaye pretty much invented the jazzy soul approach on his classic What’s Going On album (an album that hardly needs redefinition to be vital in a contemporary setting), this is a wise choice. Delivering a perfectly nuanced vocal on Donny Hathaway’s Someday We’ll All Be Free, Mo’ brings out the hard-earned wisdom and hope inherent in the song's lyrics, as well as preserving its natural elegance.” SL

One of the more rock-oriented tunes “that does work…is the opening track, a spunky, light soul rendition of Stephen Stills’ For What It’s Worth,” SL originally recorded by Stills’ group Buffalo Springfield. “The song seems to have gained wisdom and import as the years have passed, and in the hands of Keb’ Mo’ it becomes both universal and danceable.” SL

“Less successful” SL is the “jaunty banjo- and fiddle-flecked version of the Nick Lowe-penned What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding (popularized by Elvis Costello).” HH It “uses a questionable rearrangement to convey the song’s message.” HH The “swampy string band version…makes the song feel somehow less urgent.” SL

“There is one Keb' Mo' original on the album, Talk, which takes as its premise a one-on-one talk with the President of the United States, a notion that will seem like science fiction for most listeners.” SL

“Obviously Mo’ isn’t trying to top the Hit Parade with anything here, and his effort to bring these important songs into a new light is laudable. Peace...Back by Popular Demand is not a major album,” SL but it “is immediately apparent…how well these songs translate forward into the current political milieu.” SL This collection has “some major things to say, or re-say, in this case, and it serves as a reminder that every era could use (and deserves) some peace.” SL It makes for “a pleasant, subtle, and always professionally performed detour that’s as comfy as a warm cup of hot chocolate on a chilly day.” HH

Review Sources:

Last updated September 15, 2009.