Tag Archives: “Got to Get Back”

‘Got to Get Back’ to the Bo-Keys

Skip Pitts (left) and Howard Grimes of the Bo-Jeys
Skip Pitts (left) and Howard Grimes of the Bo-Keys

By Barry Gilbert

Listening to the Bo-Keys on Friday night at the latest Wood House Concerts show was absolutely sublime.

This retro but modern take on classic Memphis soul – the grit of Otis Redding, the groove of the MGs, the brass of the Memphis Horns – was just a joy to hear. And I couldn’t help thinking how much poorer we are for the corporatization and lack of adventure in modern radio, as the Bo-Keys reminded me of the days when you could snap on an AM radio and hear Aretha and the Animals, and Sinatra and the Stones, and keep up with the Joneses, Booker T and George. (Repeat after me, St. Louis: Thank God for KDHX 88.1 FM.)

The Bo-Keys have been together as a recording unit for only a decade, but some of the members of this interracial and intergenerational band go back to the glory days of Memphis soul. Co-founder Charles “Skip” Pitts played the signature guitar parts on Isaac Hayes’ “Theme From Shaft” and the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing.” Drummer Howard Grimes kept the beat at Hi Records during the heyday of Al Green and can be heard on his great single “Love and Happiness.”

The band performed all three songs last night, with Pitts growling through Hayes’ part and the terrific singer Percy Wiggins standing in for Green and Ronald Isley.

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