(Excerpt from the article in July 14's Scene. Read the full story here.)
The Bo-Keys began when Memphis bassist and producer Scott Bomar needed a band to back up Sir Mack Rice, a noted songwriter and singer who had recorded for Stax Records. As a member of the Memphis quartet Impala, Bomar had provided the soundtrack for John McCarthy's 1995 surrealist rockabilly movie Teenage Tupelo, and would go on to score director Craig Brewer's acclaimed Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan.
"That's the film that Craig Brewer heard my music in and thought, 'Hey, maybe this guy can do the music for my movie,' " Bomar says of Tupelo. Working as an assistant to famed Memphis producer Willie Mitchell, who died in 2010, Bomar began formulating his concept of a soul band whose repertoire would combine instrumentals and vocal tunes — just as Mitchell's had during the '60s and '70s. ...
Got To Get Back! may be less profound than, say, the superb O.V. Wright records [drummer Howard] Grimes cut as part of Mitchell's' famed Hi Rhythm Section, but Bomar's instrumentals demonstrate a sophisticated take on blues, complete with atmospheric organ and jazzy saxophone solos. Grimes sounds lazy even as he swings the beat, while the horn section boasts former Bar-Kays trumpeter Ben Cauley and baritone saxophonist Floyd Newman.
The record is faithful to a musical aesthetic that has nearly vanished, and proves that so-called "light entertainment" can be funky, profound and complex — not to mention deeply idiomatic. It's in the tradition of Willie Mitchell, who knew how to stay cool even when deeply engaged. As Grimes says of Mitchell, "He never was a man that was in a hurry or pushin' things. He taught me how to set the time. Willie was a very difficult person to move, but if you saw his feet move, he was listening."