Kool and the Gang
Listen/Download – Kool & the Gang – Who’s Gonna Take the Weight Pts 1&2 – MP3
I hope everyone had a most excellent weekend.
Here in NJ (as I’m sure it was along most of the East Coast) we were rained on for most of the weekend, the result of the passing remnants of a dying hurricane. Better – I’m sure – than the hurricane itself, but still a drag.
I figured I’d get the new week started with something tasty that I picked up while down in DC a while back.
As I’ve recounted to my DJ buddies, the digging in DC is outstanding, as applies to both variety and price. I grabbed myself a couple of OG Kool and the Gang LPs in excellent condition. Oddly enough, for a relatively popular band from New Jersey, their LPs rarely show up around here, and when they do they are – in the parlance of the digger – skated. To locate a nice copy of ‘Kool and the Gang Live at the Sex Machine’, for the low, low price of a single, crispy US dollar, was indeed a treat.
It is thanks to that very find that I bring you today’s selection, the supremely funky ‘Who’s Gonna Take the Weight Pts 1&2’.
I don’t know how it is where you hang, but in my personal vinyl neck of the woods, Kool and the Gang MK1 (the band as it existed from it’s first recordings to it’s stylistic dilution somewhere in the late 70s) was one of the most reliably funky bands ever to take a stage (or prop themselves up in front of a microphone).
They managed to mix in a jazzy sophistication without compromising the funk, and ‘Who’s Gonna Take the Weight’ is a great example thereof.
The tune gets started with a little bit of preaching:
People, the world today is in a very difficult situation
And we all know it because we’re the ones to created it
We’re gonna have to be the ones to clean it up
We’re gonna have to learn to live together and love each other
Because I believe one day someone or something
Is gonna wanna judge who’s creating
All this corruption and death and pollution
And all these difficult situations on earth
And He’s gonna wanna know
Who’s gonna take the weight
Following which, Kool (and the Gang, of course…) firm in the knowledge that you can’t leave the audience hanging, winds up and knocks the whole thing over the fence.
The wah-wah guitar sets things up, and then – as is often the case with any Kool and the Gang record – the horn section takes the lead and makes it so that the listener simply must abandon his or her seat and step out onto the dance floor.
There’s a great breakdown toward the end of part one, where the drums and percussion bubble up to the surface for a moment, before the whole thing fades out into a wave of fake crowd noise. When the congas and electric piano come in to start off part two the groove is restored, if spread open a little bit wider than in Part 1. The horns are still there but the rhythm section is a little bit higher in the mix.
It’s solid stuff (sampled many times), and as always, I hope you dig it.