Q - 10/03, p.1274 stars out of 5
- "...Their pop-oriented, brass-driven funk had produced a run of early-80s successes. SOMETHING SPECIAL kept the hits coming..."
Kool & The Gang: James "J.T." Taylor (vocals); Charles Smith (guitar); Khalis Bayyan (saxophone, keyboards, background vocals); Dennis Thomas (alto saxophone); Robert Mickens, Michael Ray (trumpet, background vocals); Clifford Adams (trombone, background vocals); Brian Jackson (keyboards); Robert "Kool" Bell (bass, background vocals); George Brown (drums, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Steve Greenfield (flute, alto saxophone, background vocals); Eumir Deodato (keyboards).
Something Sweet: Joan Motley, Cynthia Huggins, Kelly Barretto (background vocals).
Recorded at House Of Music, West Orange, New Jersey. Includes liner notes by Cleveland Brown & Harry Weinger.
All tracks have been digitally remastered using 20-bit technology.
Personnel: James "J.T." Taylor , Robert "Kool" Bell (vocals, background vocals); Clifford Adams (treble, trombone, background vocals); Charles Edward Smith, Charles Smith (guitar); Steve Greenfield (flute, alto saxophone, background vocals); Khalis Bayyan, Ronald Bell (saxophone, keyboards, background vocals); Dennis "D.T." Thomas, Dennis (alto saxophone); Michael Ray , Robert "Spike" Mickens (trumpet, background vocals); Deodato, Brian Jackson (keyboards); George "Funky" Brown (drums, background vocals); Kelly Barretto, Cynthia Huggins, Joan Motley (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Deodato; Gabe Vigorito; Jim Bonnefond.
Liner Note Authors: Cleveland "Clevie" Browne; Harry Weinger.
Recording information: House Of Music, West Orange, NJ; Kendun Recorders, Los Angeles, CA.
Editors: Harry Weinger; Kevin Reeves.
Photographers: Anthony Barboza; David Michael Kennedy .
With their long track record, Kool & the Gang have always offered dance-provoking rhythms and Something Special fits that bill, too. Featuring the number one single "Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It)," James "J.T." Taylor approaches the song in a cool, mesmerizing tone, closing out the vamp in his falsetto with a burst of energy while the background vocals chant the subtitle throughout the chorus. Not known to lead a song in falsetto, Taylor further utilizes this talent on the motivated rhythms of the nocturnal scenario of "Steppin' Out." It maintained a steady stride, rising to the number ten spot on the charts. The third single from the album was "Get Down on It." As the title indicates, this is a gritty funk track that worked its way up the charts to claim the number three position, selling more than 500,000 copies. Although there were no more charted singles from this album, the entire collection is deserving of recognition. On a slower note, "Pass It On" and "No Show" received regional airplay. The former encourages people to spread love to all children, and the latter is a sorrowful account of a man left standing in the rain, waiting for the love that never showed. Both singles have similar rhythm arrangements. As for inspirational songs, "Stand Up and Sing" is a moderately paced single with lyrics that are uplifting. ~ Craig Lytle