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I have a somewhat eclectic taste in music and it's not unusual to find Guns N Roses in my CD player at the same time as boy band music and cheesy 80's pop. I'm particularly fond of Soul, Motown & Funk with a healthy dollop of Disco thrown in. My latest addition to my CD collection, in the disco/funk feel at least, is The Kool & The Gang Collection and it was an absolute bargain at £2 from my local Somerfield store, it can also be found on Amazon for £5.99 new or from 59p Used.
The Kool & The Gang Collection is a 13 track CD featuring all the bands biggest hits, recorded live in concert. It's a wonderful collection bought to life by the fact that it is recorded live, you get a real concert sound with none of the over produced instrument sound and no tweaked vocals that you would find on studio produced work, you are also treated to the banter of the band and crowd interaction, giving the feel that you could actually be there at the concert. The songs for the most part flow from one to the next with no discernable gaps in between tracks, it's only where you would have had the interval that there is a silence between 2 tracks and the very final track "fresh" fades out before it would usually end.
You might think that being recorded from a concert that the sound quality would not be so good or that the artists voices may not sound great but that is where the true talent of these older artists come in, when they sound as good live as they do on studio recorded and produced tracks you know you have a real talent. The songs do get the concert treatment and are arranged slightly differently than they would have been on original release, this would have made the concert going experience all the more exciting for the fans back then and gives us listeners today a new look, or should that be listen, at the songs. I love hearing the individual instruments used and you can really pick them out amongst the singing and cheers, the drummer especially shines and provides a real backbone to the music, of course my real soft spot is for base guitar which in this style of music really provides the heart, soul and funk.
I won't go into a detailed song description, most of us would have heard of at least one of the bands tracks, "celebration" and "ladies night" in particular, needless to say all the best Kool & The Gang tracks are included. However the track listing is as follows-
1-Take my heart
6-Ooh la la la (lets go dancing)
7-Get down on it
The tracks are so well put together it's amazing, you can listen to the whole album with no thought that it doesn't flow quite right, starting with the upbeat "Too hot" and "celebration" you are really put in the groovy mood, full of the excitement of the tracks that are to come, it has a real party feel to it and you can't help dancing along. You are romanced for a while come track 5 with the beautiful and soulful "cherish" before the album reaches its funkiest point at track 7 which is perhaps one of my favourites of the group "get down on it" you just know if you'd been at this concert you'd be having the time of your life, the standard remains high until the end of the album and comes to an end with the fantastic hits that are "ladies night" and "fresh"
If you haven't guessed by now I just love the album, I hadn't heard of "emergency" and "victory" before buying this album but they are now firm favourites of mine and of course combined with "get down on it" "fresh" "ooh la la la" and all the rest you have a thoroughly enjoyable album. Rarely do you find a CD that you can play from start to finish without kipping once but for me this album achieves just that, I even go back for second helpings once it's finished. My only complaint and it's a small one is that the end track "fresh" ends before it should, fading out as no doubt there were a lot of instrument solos, crowd noise etc as a result of it being live, "fresh" is my absolute favourite Kool & The Gang track and I would have loved to hear the whole song, still it's only a minor problem and makes no real difference to my enjoyment of the CD.
I can highly recommend this CD to fans of the group or music genre, I know it's not for everyone but I love it!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Take My Heart
3 Too Hot
6 Ooh La La La (Let's Go Dancin')
7 Get Down On It
8 Hollywood Swinging
12 Ladies Night