11 Songs, 48 Minutes

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.

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.

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