The TK Years affords the opportunity to revisit their unmistakable sound again.
Daryl Easlea 2009
Back in the mid 70s, if you wanted commercial, smouldering multi-racial soul and funk, Howie Casey, Rick Finch and their boys – KC & the Sunshine Band – were the undisputed heavyweights. Recording for Henry Stone's TK label, the group had cut their teeth producing and supporting artists such as Betty Wright and George and Gwen McCrae. As a result, they were finely honed by time they started cutting their own sides for the label.
This two-CD collection makes a rightful claim for their greatness. Five brief albums are collated on two discs, beginning with 1974's Do It Good and ending with 1979’s Do You Wanna Go Party. KC took off in Britain immediately with the chart successes Sound Your Funky Horn and Queen Of Clubs from Do It Good. Their self-titled second album is where it all matures; the hits can't stop coming – That's The Way (I Like It), Get Down Tonight (their first US No.1) and Boogie Shoes all tumble forth, one after the other, wrapped in a veneer of professionalism.
But it's not just that; the album tracks are mini-masterpieces of highly textured funk; Jerome Smith’s rhythm guitar – the one that so influenced a young Nile Rodgers – is close to metronomic perfection. To underline their popularity, Boogie Shoes was ensconced in disco's canon by its inclusion on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
Of course, it soon gets formulaic; you'd be amazed if it didn't. However, the last album here, Do You Wanna Go Party contained Please Don't Go, an old-fashioned ballad smash; the sound of teenage love and angst.
KC & the Sunshine Band are a prime example of a phenomenally successful and influential turn who have subsequently been wiped off the face of musical history or at best, reduced to two or three tunes. The TK Years affords the opportunity to revisit their unmistakable sound again.