Entertainment Weekly - 5/28/93, p.65
"...endlessly booty-shakable..." - Rating: B
Q - 8/93, p.1134 Stars
- Excellent - "...a carefully selected cross-section of one of the most exciting New York bands of the early '70s..."
NME (Magazine) - 7/31/93, p.27
7 - Very Good - "...the Koolsters still strike timeless poses here...."
Kool & The Gang: Robert "Kool" Bell (vocals, bass); Amir Abdul-Salaam Bayyan (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Charles Smith (vocals, guitar); Khalis "Ronald Bell" Bayyan (vocals, flute, soprano & tenor saxophones, keyboards, percussion); Dennis "Dee Tee" Thomas (vocals, flute, alto saxophone); Robert "Spike" Mikens (vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion); Larry Gittens (vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn); Clifford Adams (vocals, trombone); Ricky "Richard Westfield" West, Caldwell MacMillan, Kevin "Ice" Lassiter (vocals, keyboards); George "Funky George" Brown (vocals, drums, precussion); Donal Boyce (vocals, sound effects); Woodrow "Woody" Sparrow (guitar); Otha Nash (trombone).
Producer: Kool & The Gang.
Compilation producer: Harry Weinger.
Recorded between 1969 and 1976. Includes liner notes by Cleveland Brown.
Personnel: Clifford Adams (vocals, guitar, trombone); Amir Abdul Salaam Bayyan, Amir-Salaam Bayyan (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Charles Smith, Charles Smith (vocals, guitar); Khalis Bayyan, Ronald Bell (vocals, flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, keyboards, percussion); Dennis "D.T." Thomas (vocals, flute, alto saxophone); Robert "Spike" Mickens (vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion); Larry Gittens (vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn); Kevin Lassiter, Caldwell MacMillan, Richard Westfield, Ricky West (vocals, keyboards); George "Funky" Brown (vocals, drums, percussion); Penni Phynjuar Saunders, Donal Boyce, Phynjuar Saunders, Robert "Kool" Bell (vocals); Woody Sparrow (guitar); Otha Nash (trombone); Beverly Owens, Kelly Barretto, Cynthia Huggins, Renee Connel, Joan Motley (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Cleveland "Clevie" Browne.
Recording information: 1969-1976.
Unknown Contributor Role: Joseph M. Palmaccio.
Arranger: Kool & the Gang.
THE BEST OF KOOL & THE GANG, 1969-1976 culls highlights from the band's creatively rich, pre-"Celebration" years. Given the album's concentration of intricate horn melodies and catchy synth lines, it's hardly surprise that 1969-1976 occasionally plays like an encyclopedia of contemporary hip-hop samples.
The party whistle that sounds just seconds into the opening "Funky Stuff" sets a celebratory tone that rarely lets up during the 74 minutes that follow. The 1976 B-side "Open Sesame, Pt. 2" is rife with frenetic horn colorings. On "Who's Gonna Take the Weight, Pts. 1 & 2," a short sample of crowd noise played in a loop throughout the song gives the track a carnival-esque feel. "Kool It (Here Comes the Fuzz)" is another studio track that features ersatz crowd noise, and the effect only adds to the festivities. The cooled-out and synthesizer-rich "Summer Madness" and the deeply grooved "N.T., Pts. 1 & 2" are downright infectious. Also included is the classic "Jungle Boogie," a song given new life as part of the PULP FICTION soundtrack. This essential collection makes clear how Kool & the Gang left its indelible imprint on the spirit of the boogie.