To Be Cool

To Be Cool

by Kokomo
     
 
Hux's 2004 release To Be Cool unearths a live rehearsal tape the sprawling British blue-eyed funk-soul band Kokomo recorded in 1974, just as the band was getting its sea legs. This was before they had released an album but while they were still an attraction on the U.K.'s pub rock circuit, where they were unquestionably the loosest and

Overview

Hux's 2004 release To Be Cool unearths a live rehearsal tape the sprawling British blue-eyed funk-soul band Kokomo recorded in 1974, just as the band was getting its sea legs. This was before they had released an album but while they were still an attraction on the U.K.'s pub rock circuit, where they were unquestionably the loosest and funkiest -- at least according to a strict musical definition of the term -- of the scene. Where other pub rockers actually rock & rolled, Kokomo settled into a mellow, soulful groove and rode it for a long, long time, and To Be Cool proves this better than any of their studio albums. In their liner notes, David Coleman and Nigel Cross also argue that this collection "captures the whole spirit of Kokomo better than previous records," and that does indeed seem to be true: these laid-back, elastic jams sound closer to what all observers at the time claim to have heard in concert in the mid-'70s. In that respect, To Be Cool is a valuable document, both for fans of the band and for pub rock fanatics trying to discern how Kokomo fit into the scene (after all, their studio albums always sounded too slick to be pub rock). But that doesn't necessarily mean that To Be Cool will be appealing to both camps. Kokomo's greatest attribute is also its greatest weakness -- and that would be its fondness for never-ending jams. To fans, this is what made the band special, since they had a loose, funky vibe that wasn't heard too often in the U.K., and they could occasionally turn familiar songs inside out with a clever arrangement, as they do here with Bob Dylan's "New Morning." Certainly, there's plenty of opportunity to hear all ten members of Kokomo stretch out here -- of the ten songs here, only one clocks in under five minutes, two weigh in at well over ten minutes, two others hover around the nine-minute mark, while the rest are around six or seven minutes. To those who dig the sound of this band, this is a dream, since you can hear them lay back and play in a way that no other record in the Kokomo catalog captures. But, to the unconverted and curious, a little of this stuff goes a long way. They don't have the grit or imagination of, say, Little Feat -- they are as smooth and party-ready as the Average White Band, who was musically their closest kin in the U.K. To some audiences, this is not a turn-off, and for fans of Kokomo, this is unquestionably the album that captures their spirit and intent the best. Yet for anybody who isn't already a fan, To Be Cool is basically a dull period piece documenting how slick and formless bands specializing in soulful jams could be in the mid-'70s.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/26/2004
Label:
Hux Records
UPC:
0682970000589
catalogNumber:
58

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kokomo   Primary Artist
Ian Thomas   Drums
Tony Beard   Drums
Dyan Birch   Vocals
Frank Collins   Vocals
Mel Collins   Flute,Saxophone
Snake Davis   Saxophone
Steve Gregory   Saxophone
Andy Hamilton   Saxophone
Neil Hubbard   Guitar
Glen LeFleur   Drums
Jody Linscott   Percussion
Paddy McHugh   Vocals
John McKenzie   Bass
Frank Mead   Saxophone
Chris Mercer   Saxophone
Trevor Morais   Drums
Jim Mullen   Guitar
Tony O'Malley   Keyboards,Vocals
Pino Palladino   Bass
Jeff Seopardie   Drums
Alan Spenner   Bass,Vocals
Terry Stannard   Drums
John Susswell   Drums
Neil Conti   Drums
Alan Derby   Guitar
Richard Simmons   Synthesizer,Piano
Mark Cooper Smith   Bass
Lawrence Cottill   Bass

Technical Credits

Bob Dylan   Composer
Aretha Franklin   Composer
Bill Withers   Composer
Bobby Womack   Composer
Herbie Hancock   Composer
Frank Collins   Composer
Neil Hubbard   Composer
Allen Toussaint   Composer
Nigel Cross   Liner Notes
Dave Coleman   Liner Notes

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >