Mar 19, 2016

RhoDeo 1611 Grooves

Hello, the Formula 1 circus starts this weekend with still a comfortable lead for Mercedes so it seems, even considering Rosberg crashing his car in qualifying training one. Wet weather interfered with qualifying training two, it will be interesting how the qualifying pans out under the new rules. Rules that already have been announced temporary, bit of a marketing stunt then.

Today, the final post American jazz, R&B, soul, funk and disco group, originally formed in 1964 as the Jazziacs based in Jersey City, New Jersey. They went through several musical phases during their recording career, starting out with a purist jazz sound, then funk and R&B, progressing to a smooth pop-funk ensemble, and in the post-millennium creating music with a modern, electro-pop sound. They have sold over 70 million albums worldwide  ... N'joy

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Formed as a jazz ensemble in the mid-'60s, Kool & the Gang became one of the most inspired and influential funk units during the '70s, and one of the most popular R&B groups of the '80s after their breakout hit "Celebration" in 1979. Just as funky as James Brown or Parliament (and sampled almost as frequently), Kool & the Gang relied on their jazz backgrounds and long friendship to form a tightly knit group with the interplay and improvisation of a jazz outfit, plus the energy and spark of a band with equal ties to soul, R&B, and funk.

Robert "Kool" Bell and his brother Ronald (or Khalis Bayyan) grew up in Jersey City, NJ, and picked up the music bug from their father. A professional boxer, he was also a serious jazz lover and a close friend of Thelonious Monk. With Robert on bass and Ronald picking up an array of horns, the duo formed the Jazziacs in 1964 with several neighborhood friends: trombone player Clifford Adams, guitarists Charles Smith and Woody Sparrow, trumpeter Robert "Spike" Michens, alto saxophonist Dennis Thomas, keyboard player Ricky West, and drummer Funky George Brown (all of whom, except Michens and West, still remained in the group more than 30 years later).

The Bell brothers' father Bobby and uncle Tommy were boxers. They moved to New York to train and lived in the same apartment building as Thelonious Monk who became Robert's godfather when he was born. Miles Davis would drop by because he wanted to be a boxer.[5] They played occasionally with McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders and Leon Thomas.

The growing earthiness of soul inspired the Jazziacs to temper their jazz sensibilities with rhythms more akin to R&B, and the newly renamed Soul Town Band began playing clubs in Greenwich Village. After a mix-up with a club owner resulted in the group being billed Kool & the Flames, they moderated the title to Kool & the Gang and found a leg up with the tiny De-Lite Records. Three singles from their self-titled debut album hit the pop charts, and although the position wasn't incredibly high, Kool & the Gang became a quick success on the R&B charts. Always a staple of their appeal, the group's live act was documented on two 1971 LPs, Live at the Sex Machine and Live at P.J.'s, including left-field covers of "Walk On By" and "Wichita Lineman" (as well as the not so unusual "I Want to Take You Higher").

Studio albums followed in 1972 and 1973, but it was with Kool & the Gang's sixth LP, Wild and Peaceful, that they hit the big time. "Funky Stuff" became their first Top 40 hit at the end of 1973. Then both "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging" reached the pop Top Ten. During the next four years, however, Kool & the Gang could only manage an occasional Top 40 hit ("Higher Plane," "Spirit of the Boogie"), and though they did win a Grammy award for "Open Sesame" (from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack), the rise of disco -- a movement centered around producers and vocalists, in direct contrast to the group's focus on instrumentalists -- had appeared to end their popularity.

Then, in 1979, the group added two new vocalists, Earl Toon, Jr. and, more importantly, James "J.T." Taylor, a former Jersey nightclub singer. Kool & the Gang also began working with jazz fusion arranger Eumir Deodato, who produced their records from 1979 to 1982. The first such album, Ladies Night, was their biggest hit yet, the first of three consecutive platinum albums, with the Top Ten singles "Too Hot" and the title track. Celebrate!, released in 1980, spawned Kool & the Gang's only number one hit, "Celebration," an anthem favored by innumerable wedding receptions since. With Deodato, 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 Something Special in 1981 and As One a year later. After Deodato left the fold in late 1982, Kool & the Gang proved their success wasn't 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." The group's string of seven gold or platinum records continued until 1986's Forever, after which James "J.T." Taylor amicably left the group for a solo career.

Although Taylor did reasonably well with his solo recordings (many of which were produced by Ronald Bell), Kool & the Gang quickly sank without him. They replaced Taylor with three vocalists, Skip Martin (formerly of the Dazz Band), Odeen Mays, and Gary Brown, but failed to chart their albums Sweat (1989) and Unite (1993). Taylor finally returned to the group in 1995 for the release of a new album, State of Affairs. They continued well throughout the 2000s, releasing 2001's Gangland, 2004's The Hits: Reloaded, and 2007's Still Kool (recorded after the 2006 death of co-founder Charles Smith). They often collaborated with new and well-known younger talent.

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During their eight-year reign as one of the premiere R&B/funk bands, Kool & the Gang, featuring James "J.T." Taylor on lead, had one Top Ten hit after another and quite a few number one hits. This album did not spawn any number one singles, but it did house two festive Top Ten numbers in "Big Fun" and "Let's Go Dancin' (Ooh La, La, La)." The former has a rapid, groovin' bassline accentuated by some jittering horns. The latter is Caribbean-flavored single ideal for a popular party/cook-out dance called the electric slide. Respectively, they peaked at six and seven on the Billboard R&B charts. Though it appears that the lyric to the title song depicts a relationship between a man and woman, it is actually speaking of the band as an unit. The nine-piece outfit also pays homage to the great bandleader Cab Calloway with the rhythmic number "Hi De Hi, Hi De Ho." Aside from the two released singles, this album does not have that constant spark like some of their more accomplished efforts.

Kool and The Gang - As One  (flac 191mb)

01 Street Kids 5:51
02 Big Fun 5:03
03 As One 4:42
04 Hi De Hi, Hi De Ho 4:01
05 Let's Go Dancin' (Ooh La, La, La) 6:43
06 Pretty Baby 4:56
07 Think It Over 4:37

    (ogg  mb)

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By the time 1983's In the Heart hit the streets, Kool & the Gang had left the fast lanes of funk for the smoother ride of the adult-oriented R&B expressway. Nevertheless, their grasp of 1980s soul sonics ensured that the band continued to top the charts with a verve and style that left their early influences firmly behind. With Ronald Bell temporarily stepping off the stage to shoulder the production, the band entered yet another fruitful era. With the monster hit "Joanna" setting the pace, Kool & the Gang powered their way through a set that seemed light to some, but still had enough force to push In the Heart into gold disc territory. Best heard across the aforementioned number one hit and, also, on the urgent, but still smooth "Tonight," the band also excelled on "September Love," a sleepy ballad that holds forth with a tender touch.

Kool and The Gang - In The Heart  (flac  177mb)

01 In The Heart 3:53
02 Joanna 4:16
03 Tonight 3:51
04 Rollin' 3:11
05 Place For Us 3:40
06 Straight Ahead 3:30
07 Home Is Where The Heart Is 3:43
08 You Can Do It 4:06
09 September Love 4:36

  (ogg mb)

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This album marked the end of Kool & the Gang's 15-year association with De-Lite Records. Impressively, the group charted each of those 15 years, including ten number one singles. Emergency continued that tradition, and was responsible for two of those number one singles. The first release, "Misled," with its crackin' bassline, led the charge; it peaked at number three on the Billboard R&B charts. "Fresh," an invigorating dance single with melodic verses and accented chorus chants, followed and surpassed "Misled," claiming the top spot. Mostly known for their funk and dance songs, the nine-piece band hit on a more tranquil note with "Cherish." With its adult contemporary appeal, the tender-flowing single eased its way to the top of the charts. All three of the aforementioned singles were also Billboard pop Top Ten singles. The final chapter in the group's De-Lite Records catalog came with the release of the title track, "Emergency," a rock-flavored single that crested at number seven on the Billboard R&B charts.

Kool and The Gang - Emergency  (flac 208mb)

01 Emergency 5:15
02 Fresh 4:20
03 Misled 4:57
04 Cherish 4:45
05 Surrender 4:56
06 Bad Woman 5:35
07 You Are The One 7:00

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Kool & the Gang's penultimate album, and vocalist James "J.T." Taylor's last with the band before he left for a solo career, 1986's Forever marked the group's final Top Ten hit. And, while it was still a slick slab of competent R&B, Forever was a far cry from the driving funk grooves of Kool's earlier material. Having been fully in the grasp of the mainstream since the beginning of the decade, Kool & the Gang popped a further three songs into the Top 20 in late 1986/early 1987. Both "Victory" and "Stone Love" are sharp, synthesized pop, while "Holiday," though heavy on lyrical clich├ęs, is graced by a wonderful bassline -- sorely missed from much of the band's latter-day repertoire. The title track, meanwhile, emerges as an elegant ballad by 1980s standards, while elsewhere the band combines both elements across "Peace Maker" and the melancholy "Broadway," which hides power ballad rock guitars deep in the mix. Long past their classic funk prime, Kool & the Gang were also fast teetering on the precipice of wearing out their pop welcome as well. Despite some rocky moments, best forgotten, Forever remains a competent last hurrah for Taylor, and indeed for the band itself.

Kool and The Gang - Forever  (flac 249mb)

01 Victory 4:37
02 I.B.M.C. 4:19
03 Stone Love 4:31
04 Forever 5:03
05 Holiday 4:12
06 Peace Maker 4:35
07 Broadway 3:40
08 Special Way 5:26
09 God's Country 5:04

Kool & The Gang - Forever (ogg  92mb)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rho, could you please reup Kool & The Gang's Emergency and In The Heart? Thanks, Mike