"It's a universal souuuuuuud.......everbody GET DOWN"......!!!
It Still makes me cry when I think of just how badd they were back in the day & to see how they ended up....:(
Kool & the Gang to me were the ultimate "soul-jazz" band. They took the genre to new heights by actually having the nerve to have hit records that people could dance to !!
I first saw them perform live back in 1973............when they ROCKED the gymnasium at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. It was quite a show to see these broha's all decked out in what would now be called "afrocentric garb" .....with Muslim names..singing:
"Hollywooooooodd.......Hollywood Swingin..." or "....THIS is a SOUUUUUUL Vibration....." to a beat that was so FUNKY that you couldn't help but dance !!
I mean these dudes were the joint........I danced thruought the entire show that night. The bump was the dance at that time.....& I actually did the bump with a "Big Fat Woman"...that night (and yes I was in pain the next morning.......LOL)
But it was worth it to be able to experience Kool & the Gang live at what they used to call a "dance concert" !!
Kool & the Gang were the FIRST important FUNK and horn band of the seventies, predating even the JB’s . Kool & the Gang stared out in the 1960’s as a “soul review”. Most of the major soul acts of the time carried large bands that verged on being orchestras, in which the most prominent instrument was the saxophone. At gigs, while waiting for the crowd to pour in, the band would often warm up by playing whatever pop/jazz cuts were popular at the time.
Kool & the Gang with their obvious affection for Jazz , added a party atmosphere to such instrumentals that gave their songs a “deranged” flavor, the horns stutter a staccato riff, while in the background, band members whoop and holler with delight. After having some local (NYC) success with instrumentals, they soon added vocals to the mix.
Kool & the Gang are perhaps best known as a “party band” . This is something I can personally attest to, having seen them in concert several times during their heyday in the early to mid 1970’s. During that period, perhaps only Earth Wind and Fire enjoyed a greater following among fans of the FUNK !!!
How many of you remember tearing up the dance floor on this one ??? Well It sounds just as good today as it did back in 1973...
Kool and The Gang..From humble beginnings in a Jersey City housing projects.. to one of funkiest bands of jazz-funk... Kool and The gang go from mellow jazz.. "Summer Madness"..to just downright funky with "Funky Stuff"..
1. Funky Stuff. .released 1973
2. Who's Gonna Take The Weights?
3. Rhyme Tyme People
4. Hollywood Swinging
5. Love The Life You Live
6. Give It Up
7. Chocolate Buttermilk
8. Jungle Boogie
9. Let The Music Take Your Mind
10. Open Sesame
11. Kool It..(Here comes the fuzz)
12. Summer Madness..(live version ) parts 1&2
14. Love and Understanding
15. Spirit of the Boogie
Some of my favorites were:
Rhyme Time People, Funky Stuff, Jungle Boogie, Hollywood Swinging, Kool & the Gang (an instrumental that was their very first single), Love & Understanding......
Hollywood Swinging, Summer Madness then Light Of Worlds with again Summer Madness, Higher Plane, Street Corner Symphony, Thyme Tyme People, then one you guys forgot which was one of my favorites Open Sesame,and where would we be without Ladies Night??? and last but not least Something Special with Get Down On It. You know of course i still have my whistle LMAO but it don't get any use now though. Like i've told you they don't know how to parrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrty like we used to back in the day boy we used to get down in our high heeled shoes LMAO i'd kill myself now if i tried to wear those things LMAO
I guess they must have only been popular in New York ???
Do you feel they "sold out"..when J.T Taylor came on board and their style changed ?
I don't remember the parties; I wuz a widdle kid then, but they were soooo funky. "Wild and Peaceful" was always playin' back then.
I do think that K&TG sold out around the time that "Joanna" and "Celebrate" came out (if I hear that song one more time). I remember saying that when the Sinbad concert came out two years ago on HBO because they haven't produced the same grooves that they did twenty years ago. Perhaps they call it "changing with the times according to popular demand I can't wait to see the replies to this one.
Its also happening to music such as the Blues and Jazz. I feel this type of music is becoming "watered down" due to artist trying to appeal to a mass audience.
I really liked early K&TG music (Hollywood Swinging, etc.) but when "Celebration" and "Joanna" came out I didn't walk, run....heck I never got up out my chair to go buy it....LOL
Just out of curiosity ..Would you give up your funk for what’s behind the door ???
I play it often and turn the the radio up when I hear it.
This is one bad jam...I was driving to work listening to it the other day..looked down and the speedometer said 80 !! I was off in my own little "Summer Madness"....lol To me this song represents the "real" Kool and the Gang....
That 8-track was put to some very good use as well....:)
I agree with your assessment that it's one of the greatest instrumentals of all time !!!
They went from a band which had afrocentric album covers (Spirit of the Boogie) and hard core Nation Of Islam philosophies in their music (Light Of The World).
During the mid 70's Kool & the Gang was a band which to me was the embodiment of the inner city & they were very successful and had a large following.
They were in fact right near the top & I was certainly a big fan of theirs. I have seen them perform live in concert 3 times back in the day and they used to perform wearing afrocentric garb and actually discuss politics, religion/spirituality from the stage.
Then they broke my heart......they didn't just "go disco" they went completely over the edge by pandering to a totally new audience, while leaving the old one behind.
To that old audience Kool & the Gang is something that approaches a joke & you know what ??? I don't feel sorry for Kool & the gang in the least !!!
"you reap what you sew"......lol
Being from NY I am ashamed of them, for what they did...they should know that ya gotta keep it "real".
I also think that the beggining of the end for Kool & the Gang was when they brought JT Taylor in to the group. His mediocre singing talents made them perfect for their "new audience"
Kool & The Gang sold out all right and in selling out they broke the hearts of many funkateers (myself included).
What made it worse was that they did a complete "180 degree flip flop" and completely left behind their core audience. If they hadn't already been so sucessful maybe I could have understood.
Just imagine what could be done with all that time....:)
I know. .I sadly put them up there with. .you know who...(Lionel Ritchie)..and you know how I feel about him !!!!
As I sit and listen to Kool and the Gangs early music.. I wonder "Do they ever listen to what they made and wonder themselves why they "sold out" ???
80 minutes of "Summer Madness" that certainly was a song that I "can't get enough" of...........
just out of curiosity.....
What other songs did yiou have on that long running 8 track format ?????
I wish I still had them, but ALL my 8-tracks are long gone...:(
One thing I will bring up here about that concert was the GREAT posters that they gave away at the show at CMU remember ? They were silver and worked very nicely in a "black light setting....lol
I was underage at that time........:)
I don't know if you will remember this or not but there is one other "Pittsburgh Connection" that comes to mind when I think of Kool & the Gang.
Back in 1974 when the honorable Elijah Mohammehed passed away they had a memorial service for him at Soldiers and Sailors hall. The memorial service lasted all day, was free & open to the public (non muslims were permitted) & since I didn't have anything else to do that day I attended. During the service there were many speakers eulogizing..... .....their dead leader some of whom were interesting & some of whom were actually pretty boring.
In between each speaker they played cuts from "Light Of The World" - Kool & The Gang. Sound strange anyone ???
Well it shouldn't .......the album "Light Of The World" was not only popular at that time but it was also an album that is almost complertely influenced by the teachings of the Nation Of Islam. At that time as part of their publicity Kool & The Gang made it VERY well known that they were "students of the messenger" !! If you have the album...... ....take a close listen to songs like "Fruitman" and see if you don't agree !!
They certainly went pretty far away from those kind of roots in the 80's didn't they ??
"Eat naturally & you WILL see the difference....."
"H&G Whitting", Ah yes.......the "fish song"......lol
These guys were "stone cold" Nation of Islam back in the day....I sure hope they got enough money for SELLING OUT !!
(I’m no longer a busshead!!)