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Click below for a Kokomo sample: 

I Can Understand It


Kokomo was a British group whose popularity primarily resides in the underground soul scene. Their membership came from a variety of backgrounds, which ultimately contributed to the band’s breakup as there was no consensus in terms of musical direction.

The large ensemble was comprised of musicians drummer Terry Stannard, saxophonist Mel Collins, Tony O’Malley on piano, Joan Linscott on percussion, guitarists Jim Mullen and Neil Hubbard and Alan Spenner on bass. This instrumental foundation was completed with vocalists Paddie McHugh, Dyan Birch, and Frank Collins. The singers had been in a pop group called Arrival, Spenner and Hubbard were veterans of Joe Cocker’s Grease band, and the others came to the group with varying levels of experience.

They formed in 1973 and recorded material that was not released until 2004. Instead they developed a fierceome reputation as a live act, where their authentically funky grooves were an absolute novelty among British bands.

Columbia was sufficiently impressed with Kokomo to offer them a recording contract, teaming them with producer Chris Thomas for their 1975 self-titled debut. Their cover of “I Can Understand It” was the single, and “Forever” and “Sweet Sugar Thing” were among the other strong selections. 

The first of many lineup changes happened after the album was in stores, and a revamped Kokomo released Rise And Shine in 1976. It was produced by veteran soul producer Brad Shapiro. Highlights from this disc include “Feelin’ Good,” “Angel Love,” and “Use Your Imagination.”

Further defections kept the group out of the studio until 1982, when they cut another self-titled effort. This album was helmed by James Mack and Leo Graham, who were famous for their work with the likes of The Manhattans and Tyrone Davis. The standouts were “Let Me Have It All,” “Stuck In The Groove,” and “Ain’t Never Heard The Boogie.”

Any future plans to reform ended with Spenner's death in 1991.

Kokomo's Deepest Grooves

Kokomo (Columbia, 1975)

Rise And Shine (Columbia, 1976)

Kokomo (Columbia, 1982)

To Be Cool (Hux, 2004)

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