Friday, June 23, 2006

Charles Smith, 1948-2006

Charles Smith, R.I.P.

I was checking in at the front desk of a California hotel several years ago when two genial strangers approached. They threw their arms around me while a third man snapped our picture and handed me the Polaroid. I thanked them, but I was totally confused by this seemingly random transaction. Later that evening, my boss informed me that the men were Robert "Kool" Bell and Charles Smith of Kool & the Gang. He'd tipped them off that I was a big R&B fan, and he was annoyed that I hadn't immediately recognized them. Smith, guitarist and founding member of the band, died Tuesday. He was 57. Rather than posting "Fresh," "Too Hot," or "Get Down On It," I'm offering an interesting track from Gang Land, an odd Kool & the Gang album from 2001. While most of Gang Land is attempt to embrace hip hop, "Jazziacs At the Kool Jazz Cafe" is a look back at the band's jazz roots. Smith's solo starts three minutes in.


Lee said...

Wow, this is light years from "Ladies Night."

Rest in peace, Mr. Smith.

Happy In Bag said...

Lee, according to the liner notes of a hits compilation, "Celebration"'s lyrics, were inspired in part by the Qur'an- something to ponder the next time you're trapped at a wedding reception.