Kool and the Gang – Twice As Kool

Whenever I hear Kool and the Gang on oldies radio, I always think, why don’t I have any in the Asbo Library?  It turns out there’s no good reason and I figured I wasn’t going far wrong with a 1983 double Lp subtitled The Hits of Kool & the Gang, especially as it set me back only 50p. And though I didn’t expect it from this UK capitalise-on-their-recent-string-of-pop-hits best of, I could’ve used a few more from their early 70s pre-Doedato/James Taylor records (no, not that one), which are highly regarded by Soul Jazz types. Often the hits album signals the end of the chart reign; it wasn’t quite the case here, they still had a couple more monsters (1984’s In the Heart and 1985’s Emergency which included “Joanna” and “Fresh” respectively).

Incidently, saw tha Gang at the Ohio State Fair in 1988 and they were still awesome.

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Published in: on January 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. ha! thrifted this one too last year, never got around to posting it. wicked collection!!

  2. as they tend to be aimed at the great unwashed, greatest hits compilations often have a habit of featuring the 45 edit versions (or at least truncated ones), so it was a pleasant surprise to find the full 8-minute version of “Open Sesame” (probably their best in my opinion) in all its glory on this.

    when that track first came out, for some bizarre reason kool & co didn’t have a major UK deal, so perhaps somewhat naively the full version was released on 45 on (very) independent label Contempo that specialised in soul releases and had links with the UK soul fans magazine/bible “blues and soul”. although it was great to hear it in its entirety, of course the bad news was that the sound quality suffered as the grooves were so compressed (this was released before the advent of commercial 12″ singles, for which it would have been ideal). Contempo also licenced Crown Heights Affair material (another US Delite act) at that time, and their also-excellent but lengthy “Dancin'” suffered in the same manner (i think i picked up both of them aat the same time for around 25p each in a ex/non-chart bargain bin, and the pair were very important pointers in my musical education).

    most david bowie followers consider anything released after “scary monsters” as “past its sell-by date”, and it wouldn’t surprise me if kool fans have a similar opinion on any post-deodato/JT stuff. i have a kool-fanatic friend who was so appalled at the direction they took after enrolling their frontman that to this day he only refers to mr taylor as “that singer”! my own shark-jumping moment came when they released “Celebration”, which of course became their biggest hit in the UK by far… but the plebs were welcome to it!

  3. Perhaps it’s most fair to think of them as two different bands, who happen to share the same name. Like Oasis. 🙂

    One day I’ll get the early stuff–probably full-price vinyl re-ish. But I do like “Celebration”, no apologies.

    And tho’ I like “Blue Jean”, I’m with most Bowie fans on that one.

  4. were kool and his chums worried about alienating their fanbase when they decided to modify their musical approach? yes – worrying all the way to the bank!

    btw, i’ve just remembered my aforementioned friend telling me that he’s going to have “open sesame” played at his funeral as the coffin goes through the doors to the furnace – i hope i outlive him just to be there to witness it!

  5. I think there comes a times when you just say “fuck it, let’s go ‘mersh*”. Sometimes it works, as in the present case, and other times, I can’t think of examples offhand, it doesn’t.

    *to paraphrase Minutemen.

  6. With the group produced several more hits including the singles Take My Heart You Can Have It if You Want It Get Down on It and Big Fun and the albums in 1981 and a year later. After left the fold in late 1982 Kool the Gang proved their success wasnt solely due to him they had two immense hits during 1984-1985 Joanna and Cherish as well as two more Top Tens Misled and Fresh. They continued well throughout the 2000s releasing 2001s Gangland 2004s The Hits Reloaded and 2007s Still Kool recorded after the 2006 death of co-founder Charles Smith .


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