Charles Sanders – Bass
Johnny Ray Barefield – Electric Guitar
Tyrone Sanders – Percussion
Kool and Together were a stubbornly productive Seventies-funk band from South Texas that never scored big but released one stone classic in “Sittin’ on a Red Hot Stove,” a 1973 single of saucy-Meters gait and big doses of Funkadelic voodoo in the vocals and wah-wah guitar. This album includes later rides on the disco bandwagon, but the meat of the tale is the stark swagger’n’roll of the early Seventies material, when Kool and Together were sounding a lot like a black Grand Funk Railroad with more limber in the rhythm and gospel suggestion in singer Tyrone Sanders’ high firm belting.
A Texas family who played what it called “Black Rock”: sludgy, mid-tempo funk vamps punctuated with noisy guitar solos. Shades of disco, carefree use of wah-wah. The songs aren’t really there and don’t need to be; they’d probably just get in the way of the grooves. Best, surprisingly, are the unreleased live and demo cuts — recordings so blown-out it sounds like the players are ripping right through the tape.
This collection of 21 tracks recorded between 1971 and 1977 unearths a trove of nasty, hard-rocking funk. Hailing from the small town of Victoria, Texas, Kool and Together were the Sanders brothers (Charles, Tyrone and Joe) + various other players that came and went. All of these tracks are gritty, guitar driven heavy funk/rock with some conga and other percussion mixing it up underneath. Kissing cousins to Detroit’s Black Merda, Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies, “Them Changes” era Buddy Miles and some of the gnarlier Ike & Tina Turner tracks of the era, Kool and Together play it loud and proud. Tracks like “I Know,” “Get Your Feet of the Ground,” “Peace is at Hand” and the outrageously heavy “Sittin’ On a Red Hot Stove” are funk at it’s heaviest, with liberal uses of both wah wah and HEAVY guitar.
Where Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys left off is exactly the spot where Kool and Together was born. For the Sanders brothers, the screams of Psychedelic Rock met with Motown’s funky Soul at a crossroads called Black Rock—a mixture of two genres that few were bold enough to attempt and even fewer possessed the technical ability to master. At the same time groups like Black Merda were crafting their take on Black Rock in Detroit, Kool and Together were blazing their own path with distortion pedals and lyrics about social turmoil in the most unlikely of places, a small, dusty town in South Texas.