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Best of Kool & The Gang: 1969-1976
Kool & the Gang
Best of Kool & The Gang: 1969-1976
Genres: Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

The acid-jazzers of the '90s could learn a thing or five from the pre-"Ladies Night" Kool and the Gang. They were one of the tightest funk acts around, and this best-of finds them leaping from highlight to highlight. While...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Kool & the Gang
Title: Best of Kool & The Gang: 1969-1976
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Island / Mercury
Original Release Date: 5/18/1993
Release Date: 5/18/1993
Genres: Pop, R&B
Styles: Funk, Soul
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 731451482229, 0731451482229, 0731452245823, 0602498489994, 602498489994, 643346017815, 060249848999

The acid-jazzers of the '90s could learn a thing or five from the pre-"Ladies Night" Kool and the Gang. They were one of the tightest funk acts around, and this best-of finds them leaping from highlight to highlight. While their lyrics are sometimes just (admittedly sage) chants like "Love the Life You Live," the Gang also earn A-plusses for brashness ("Jungle Boogie," "Spirit of the Boogie"), tongue-in-cheek self-aggrandizement ("Hollywood Swinging"), and surreal antiheroin ranting ("Rhyme Tyme People"). --Rickey Wright

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CD Reviews

The Absolute CREAM!
Campbell Roark | from under the floorboards and through the woods.. | 04/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is it- if you love the funk. I'm the Robot from Lost in sPace waving jointless arms and intoning, "STOP. GO NO FURTHER." Real funk, like real women, be hard to come by. This is the Spot. Only Kool and the Gang can do strings as funky as this- strings I say! Hey now- it's got Jungle Boogie. Bang. It's got the blissed out funk. It's got breakdowns the likes of which you have never heard! It's got the banging instrumentals (Chocolate Buttermilk, Give it up). It's got the laid back mellowness (Summer Madness- revamped by the fresh prince half a generation ago for 'summertime,' and immortalized in Rocky a generation and a half ago). IT"S GOT THEM DRUMS- the hop, skip and a bump, slamminest, bamminest beatfest. And the bass to wedge a pneumatic drill into your hips. It's got the kind of sax that could percolate the La Brea Tar Pits into some lavalamp waterbed of funk! Just stretch out on `em and nod along with those sabre tooth tiger skeletons! Yeah cat!One minor thang- many of the songs are the shorter versions. Oh well. Can't have it all. Anyway. This is the best of Kool and the Gang before JJ Taylor drove the band into the everlovin' ground. (Think Cherish. Think Celebrate. Think Joanna- my wife's middle name is Joanna. I still hate that name. Mr. Taylor's saccharine ass music done ruined my wife's middle name for me). Buy it for the drums. And the sax. and the bass. And the cowbells. Just buy this damn album. Don't make me beg! And don't listen only to the five samples that amazon has allowed to be up in here. they won't do much for you, the better tracks are the later ones.And hey- If you love hip hop, or if you own Paul's Boutique, the Beasties best frikkin album and maybe the world's as well- I can place at least ten samples to this album. Check it out!!!!!!!"
Nipping at the Godfather's heels
Dave Wade | NYC | 06/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was a funk and R&B child. In the 70's, my dad had the good sense to expose me to some stellar stuff...Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, The Chi-lites, Barry White, Aretha, Marvin, Jackson Five, Soul Brother #1 (of course) and also some lesser know acts such as Bohannon, BT Express, Eric Gale, and Johnny Guitar Watson to name a few. For whatever reason, I don't remember hearing any early Kool & the Gang wafting through the house. Dad was slipping! It wasn't until my early 20's that I picked up this essential collection. Listening to it, I felt utterly ashamed...What took me so long? It was like hip-hop sample headquarters. While listening, I must have yelled out "Hey..I know that bit! " at least half a dozen times. Funk is a played-out term nowadays. Slap bass and/or a heavy beat doesn't necessarily make something funky. Funk is about timing and nuance. It's about exploiting the possibilities. That's why Led Zeppelin (not a funk act) could, at times, be just as funky as say, The Meters (bonafide funk hall-of-famers). I will say this....after James Brown, there is Kool and the Gang. They are second only to him (James even says so in the liner notes and I agree). The only thing Kool and the Gang didn't possess was the secret weapon....James himself. K&TG drummer George Brown is theirs. A canny, dynamic percussionist who is one of the greats...right up there with Maurice White (EW&F), Greg Errico (Sly), Clyde Subbelfield/Jabo Starks (JB drummers) and Harvey Mason (Headhunters). Add to that Kool's lewd, throbbing bass and the most sparkling brass you'll ever hear and you have funk nirvana. Here's one good example among many...When purchased, put on the headphones and turn up "Love the Life You Live." Pay special attention to the last minute and a half, right after the solo rhythm guitar part. It is total bliss. If you're into funk, soul or hip-hop, you cannot be without this. It'll make you cringe every time you hear "Joanna.""
Let the music take your mind
Jacob Weisman | San Francisco, CA | 09/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mention Kool and the Gang and everybody's image is of J.T. Taylor, the lean, youthful singer who fronted the band between 1979 and 1988. Taylor's hold on on the band was so complete that most people assumed he was Kool instead of the band's leader, bass player Robert "Kool" Bell. Taylor's vocals were smooth, well polished and always, always upbeat.

But before Taylor's arrival the band had another incarnation as a leading soul band, boasting a handful of Top 40 hits as well as many lesser hits bubbling under the Top 100. This band had no lead singer. They used a large variety of horns to propel their music and held it together with Bell's strutting baseline as they took turns singing as needed.

As a missing link between the proto-funk of James Brown and Sly Stone and the full-blown sound of Parliament and Funkadelic, this album is absolutely indispensible."