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Live at the Sex Machine

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Editors’ Notes

Recorded in May 1970 at the Sex Machine club in Philadelphia, Kool & The Gang’s first live album is a stunning document of the era’s heavy R &B attitude. At this point in time the nine-man outfit was essentially a vehicle for its squadron of horn players: trumpeter Robert “Spike” Mickens, alto sax player Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, and tenor sax man Khalis Bayyan (a.k.a. Ronald Bell, co-founder of the ensemble). Depending on the tone of the song, they could spread out and weave (“The Touch of You,” “Trying to Make a Fool of Me”) or generate interlocking staccato patterns (“Pneumonia,” “Funky Man”). In the same family as Hugh Masekela’s “Grazing In the Grass” and Cliff Nobles’ “The Horse,” “Chocolate Buttermilk” is a horn-heavy instrumental that translates the sunny day optimism of the late ‘60s. On the flip side is the group’s reading of “Walk On By,” a smoldering reflection of the era’s tumultuous undercurrent. Live at the Sex Machine is not only a document of the young Kool & The Gang, but of a long-lost ghetto meeting place — the long-since vanished Sex Machine, which was located on 52nd and Market in the heart of West Philly.

Customer Reviews

Kool & The Gang, Live @ The Sex Machine

This is one of the all-time great house party albums. Kool & The Gang before the crossover, just great grooves from start to finish.


Formed: 1964 in Jersey City, NJ

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Formed as a jazz ensemble in the mid-'60s, Kool & the Gang became one of the most inspired and influential funk units during the '70s, and one of the most popular R&B groups of the '80s after their breakout hit "Celebration" in 1979. Just as funky as James Brown or Parliament (and sampled almost as frequently), Kool & the Gang relied on their jazz backgrounds and long friendship to form a tightly knit group with the interplay and improvisation of a jazz outfit, plus the energy and spark of a band...
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Live at the Sex Machine, Kool & The Gang
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