KOOL & THE GANG – As One – (De-Lite) – 1982

Ooooh , I approached this album with trepidation. Disco and funk has it's place … but not in 1982.
Allmusic: 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.
Wikipedia: Kool & The Gang are an American jazz/R&B/soul/funk/disco group. They originally formed in Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A. in 1964.[1] They went through several musical phases during the course of their recording career, starting out with a purist jazz sound, then becoming practitioners of R&B and funk, progressing to a smooth pop-funk ensemble. They have sold over 70 million albums worldwide.
"Kool & The Gang" were the least experimental and most slickest of the successful black funk acts. Any early hard funk or jazz inclinations were subsumed into smoother and smoother disco sounds as the 70s progressed and by the time of this album there was beat, groove and style but very little of the attitude and inspiration one associates with the black funk genre.
This album leans very much to "funk pop" possibly in an attempt to capture some of The Jacksons (more so than Michael solo) success. Unfortunately in an attempt to capture that white market … pathetic white salesmen at suburban discos enjoying their five minutes of predatory sexuality before settling for a life of mediocrity … they have moved so far from their roots that I'm not surprised they haven't white-faced themselves up. They come across as only slightly more black than KC and the Sunshine Band (and not as danceable, at least not on this album).
This is dancing music … nothing more and nothing less, and though not as good as some of their 70s material it is competent and well, err danceable. In this age of  colour by numbers dance tunes this album of early 80s colour by numbers dance tunes is pleasant and hold its own, but it's not good. It is rarely inspired and there is some pop of the most maudlin kind … right out of a bad 80s romantic drama. If the stereotypes are right and good funk dance music is aggressive sex then this is strictly starfish stuff. And what's worse, in keeping with the genre conventions all the songs are between 4 – 7 minutes long, which only works when the songs are strong. Here they manifest themselves as a bad 10 hour blowjob, with teeth. 
Worse still, the introduction of some reggae beats to a couple of songs is unforgivable.
Oddly this was produced by Deodato (he also produced some other Kool & the Gang albums apparently) but has no trace whatsoever of any Brazilian sounds Deodato is otherwise associated with.
Best Tracks
  • Big Fun
And …
Nup ..not keeping this.

Chart Action

The Album:
1982   As One  R&B Albums #5
1982   As One  The Billboard 200 #29

The Singles:
1982  Big Fun   R&B Singles #6
1982  Big Fun   The Billboard Hot 100 #21
1982  Let's Go Dancin' (Ooh La, La, La)   R&B Singles #7
1983  Let's Go Dancin' (Ooh La, La, La)   The Billboard Hot 100 #30
1983  Street Kids   R&B Singles #78
Street Kids 

Big Fun

As One 
Let's Go Dancin' (Ooh, la, la, La)  

Pretty Baby  

Think It Over 
their big hit
ah yes I remember this at The  Underground. ( I could hear it coming through the windows from the footpath … remember they wouldn't let anyone in wearing black jeans)
(originally posted: 03/02/2010)

About Franko

Hi, I'm just a person with a love of music, a lot of records and some spare time. My opinions are comments not reviews and are mine so don't be offended if I have slighted your favourite artist. I have listened to a lot of music and I don't pretend to be impartial. You can contact me on franklycollectible@gmail.com though I would rather you left a comment. I also sell music at http://www.franklycollectible.com Cheers
This entry was posted in Soul, Funk & Disco and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply