Kool & the Gang

Good Times

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    5
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Good Times was a bit spotty compared to Music Is the Message, compromising Kool & the Gang's legendary funk instincts for a variety of digressions that don't turn out the way they should. There's much more good than bad though, beginning with the title track, a school's-out jam just in time for summer. "Making Merry Music" is in a similar mold and just as good, while the group leaps into wild, unhinged, horn-driven funk for "Rated X" and "Country Junky." The songs that make it less interesting are the maudlin ballad "Wild Is Love," a salute by music director and tenor Khalis Bayyan to one of his influences with "I Remember John W. Coltrane," and the meandering "North, South, East, West." The closer, "Father, Father," is a solid attempt at recording social-message soul along the lines of Curtis Mayfield, but for much of the time, Good Times sacrifices the group's hallmarks (deep-pocket grooves and fast, intricate ensemble playing) on the altar of artistic experimentation.

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