January 14, 1985 12:00 PM

Kool & the Gang

This frisky R&B group is tailor-made for the Top 40s. Make that Taylor-made; since singer James Taylor joined the group in 1979. Kool & the Gang has notched a string of Top 40 hits, including Ladies Night, Celebration and Joanna. J.T.’s voice is warm and insinuating. Whether he is purring on the smooth ballad Cherish or growling through the title track, Taylor is trumps. There’s nothing fancy about the band’s sound: Take a solid rhythmic hook and let Robert “Kool” Bell pound away on the bass. Lyrically, the group won’t keep you awake nights pondering deeper meanings (“She’s as heavy/ As a Chevy”), but when the Gang cranks up one of its party-hardy grooves, as it does on Fresh and Misled, it’s hard to resist. (De-Lite/ PolyGram)

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