Three full funky albums – and bonus tracks too! First up is Keep On Bumpin & Masterplan – the Kay-Gees' funkiest record ever – a set that's harder and sharper than anything else they'd ever record in years to come! Grabbing this one up is like finding a lost Kool & The Gang album from the early years – which is no surprise, since Ronald Bell of the group produced, and wrote a lot of the songs with the group – maybe acting as their mentor, and definitely giving the young group a great showcase for their boundless energy, and tight skills in the groove department!
The band are incredibly tight – with lots of hard drums, choppy guitar, and the rolling party feel that made Kool & The Gang so great during their best years – captured here with a similarly raw production style. There's some great horns that blast in and out, sounding very off-beat at the best moments – like the classic "Who's the Man With the Master Plan", sampled by YZ many years ago – or other funky cuts like "Ain't No Time", "Get Down", and "You've Got to Keep on Bumpin".
On Find A Friend, the Kay-Gee's are getting a little disco, but they also manage to lay down some nice funky tracks – in the best Kool & The Gang tradition of their early work! Ronald Bell of Kool & Gang is still working with the group – and he wrote a lot of material and also performs on the LP – which might be part of the album's strength – although the group have clearly got a very strong legacy on their own! The record shows signs of the direction that Kool & The Gang were taking at the time, with a move towards electric keyboards instead of raw funky guitars – but like Kool's work from the period, the use of these keyboards is nicely restrained, and adds some good jazzy elements to the sound, to create a more sophisticated style of funk. Cuts include "Waiting At The Bus Stop", "Mr. Nothin", "STP", "Be Real", "Keep On Saying", "Acknowledgement", and a number of versions of "Find A Friend".
On Kilowatt, The Kay-Gees are burning bright – in that razor-sharp approach to funk that made the group one of the best of their generation – able to strongly step on the dancefloor, but without losing any of the rawness of their funky 45 years! The balance is a bit like Fatback at their best – and that group is maybe one of the few we'd match next to the Kay-Gees at this point – and although the basslines are up a bit more than before, they never hit any sort of too-cliched or overdone modes, as in some of the other big funk groups of the period. Guitars riff mightily, lyrics are plenty catchy, and the rest of the instrumentation is right on the money – on cuts that include their "Kay-Gee's Theme Song", plus "Fat Daddy", "Celestial Vibrations", "Space Disco", and "Kilowatt/Invasion". CD features bonus tracks – "Hustle Wit Every Muscle", "Cheek To Cheek (12" mix)", "Kilowatt (12" mix)", and "Kilowatt (12" ext)". ~ Dusty Groove