I know, I know, things have been pretty quiet around here lately. Sorry. I’ve spent the better part of the Summer and beyond on the road and as much as I love writing about home, I always find it difficult when I’m not well ensconced in the Bayou City. Well, I’m here now and intend to keep the BCS faithful up to par with my general ramblings on what was once and the musical legends that roamed our fair city. -BK
Kool and Together’s story is so unsuspecting; it’s hard to believe it actually happened. Three brothers raised in the Southwest Texas town of Victoria, created an amalgamation of funk, soul and psychedelic rock and did so by their own accord.
Though the group wasn’t from Houston, they spent plenty of time here performing and recording the majority of their output for Huey Meaux’s Pacemaker imprint. When Heavy Light records sought out the master tapes to the single “Sittin on a Red Hot Stove” a funk number wound tighter than a coil and turned up an unreleased album of primordial psychedelia-infused soul, they did what any good label does and arranged to release it.
Heavy Light kindly asked me to write the liner notes for the release and so I put my nose to the grindstone. Reels of tapes were scrutinized for dates and names, trips to Victoria were made to interview band members and close to a year later, the album is out in stores today.
Here’s some more from the press release:
Where Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies 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.
This set collects the best of Kool and Together’s 1970’s recordings including material from their little-heard private press 45’s, demos and an explosive previously unreleased set of Black Rock. While searching for the reel for their Deep Funk classic, “Red Hot Stove,” a trove of unreleased material was discovered and Kool and Together’s true modus operandi became clear. Their impulse wasn’t to follow convention but to build an original, distinct soundscape. Songs like “Get Your Feet Off the Ground” and “I Know” represent a seamless, soulful fusion of Funk and Psychedelic Rock. A sonic revelation!
You can listen to the entire album and purchase it direct from their distributor, Light in the Attic here or go visit your local brick and mortar record store the good old fashioned way.
3 responses to “Kool and Together: The First Family of Texas Funk”
Pingback: Kool and Together: Black Rock from Texas « Deeply Fried
Pingback: Kool and Together: From Texas to Your Ears and Now to Your Eyes « Halsey Street Media
My name is Carl E. Franklin and i am one of the original Kool and Together band member. I am the one who lead off the lyrics on “Sitting On a Red Hot Stove”. Believe it or not!