Dad of Divas' Reviews: CD Review - Kool & the Gang: Kool for the Holidays

Monday, December 23, 2013

CD Review - Kool & the Gang: Kool for the Holidays

Kool for the Holidays
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About the CD
In keeping with the resurging popularity of 70s and 80s sounds, legendary groovemeisters of the period, Kool & The Gang (, are releasing their first ever holiday CD, "KOOL FOR THE HOLIDAYS" (ATO/Caroline Distribution).

The Kool & The Gang holiday CD fare, featuring six original songs and eight standards, follows on the heels of their wildly-successful 50-plus city tour in 2012 with Van Halen and equally impressive 2013 tours with Kid Rock and the Dave Matthews Band.

Its melody flipped slightly, “Winter Wonderland” pulsates to a dance beat and a tasteful rap while “Little Drummer Boy” segues from jazzy to funky and “Joy to World” carries a contemporary R&B groove. As beloved as the CD’s original songs are—the Kool and The Gang-written holiday originals are bound to become classics on their own.

Their music has been created by the same core of players for over four decades: Robert "Kool" Bell, his brother Ronald Khalis Bell, their longtime friends Dennis "DT" Thomas and George "Funky" Brown.

As reported in Billboard during the Van Halen Tour: “One unqualified success was the experiment of Kool & the Gang's opening set. If some — actually many — wondered how the R&B group would fare in front of Van Halen's hard rock crowd, doubts were dispelled quickly with the breezy lite funk of the 11-piece outfit's 50-minute set, which had the T-shirted, beer-drinking, fist-pumpers dancing exuberantly.”

Unique pairings for Kool & The Gang don’t exist only on stage; their bulletproof funk and jazzy arrangements have also made them the most sampled band of all time.

With the explosion of hip-hop in the ’90s, Kool & the Gang’s incredible catalog of grooves has made them DJ favorites, and they are second only to R&B icon James Brown as sources of rap-music samples. The Hits Reloaded album found the band collaborating with such acolytes as Lil’ Kim, Sean Paul, Ashanti, and Blackstreet, among others.

Selling over 70 million albums worldwide the band influenced the music of three generations. Thanks to songs like Celebration, Cherish, Summer Madness and Open Sesame, Kool & The Gang has earned two Grammy® Awards and seven American Music Awards and amassed 34 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits and 31 gold and platinum albums. They have performed continuously longer than any R&B group in history.

“We are not over yet, we have other things we want to do—when my legs won’t run to those airports anymore then I might give up,” says band co-founder Ronald Khalis Bell.

As the purveyors of such booty-rocking standards as Jungle Boogie and Hollywood Swinging, the gang never fails to flex their funk – on both old-school workouts and hip-hop jams.

Along with the its original foursome, other band members include, Clifford Adams, Lavelle Evans, Larry Gittens, Timothy Horton, Shawn McQuiller, Michael Ray and Curtis "Fitz" Williams.

  1. Home for the Holidays
  2. Joy to the World
  3. Christmas Always
  4. Let’s Rejoice (Christmas is Here)
  5. Christmas Tyme (The Perfect Time for Love)
  6. The Little Drummer Boy
  7. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  8. Winter Wonderland
  9. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
  10. I Love The Holidays

My Take on the CD
The album was not what I expected. I am a big fan and was expecting some similar sounds to what I remember from the 70's and 80's but this was definitely updated. There were some songs that I really liked like Joy to the World and The Christmas Song, but then there were some pieces that included a type of rap that I just did not connect to the band and felt out of place to me, but that might have been me. I will say that is was great hearing some of the original singers again and I was happy that they finally came out with their holiday album!

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