Their name isn’t just a nod to the quintessential Memphis soul groups The Mar-Keys and The Bar-Kays, members of the Bo-Keys were in those bands. With labels like Truth & Soul and Daptone pumping out incredible recordings by young musicians like The Expressions, Menahan Street Band, and El Michel’s Affair, a new generation has been turned on to the golden age of soul. But no doubt, during some formative moment for many of those New York based musicians, someone in the Bo-Keys was blasting out their speakers.
The Bo-Keys’ original members include the late Ben Cauley, the sole survivor of the tragic plane crash that killed Otis Redding and the Bar-Kays, and the late Charles “Skip” Pitts who was the band leader for Wilson Pickett’s Midnight Movers, wrote the riff for the Isley Brother’s “It’s Your Thing” and played the iconic wah-wah guitar on Isaac Hayes‘ title track from the 1971 film Shaft among many other huge contributions to soul. The list could go on maybe indefinitely, but to say the least, the Bo-Keys don’t have to try very hard to conjure the sound of 60’s Memphis. Nonetheless, the Bo-Keys have plenty of new blood in their lineup as well, like bandleader Scott Bomar. Its a great combination of established masters taking younger musicians under their wing; working together to preserve the sound and knowledge of their legendary city.
The Bo-Keys just released their latest record Heartaches By the Number, check out a live sample of it at the bottom of the page.