Rising out of the London pub scene with precisely the kind of loose, frenetic brand of funk which other British bands had signally failed to achieve (let alone perfect), Kokomo
then defied even more laws of averages by turning out an album which recaptured their live feel with acres to spare. Bluntly, Rise and Shine!
stands as the finest British funk album of the 1970s, a set which counts only Roogalator among its rivals, but squeaks past by virtue of that group's failure to truly get it on in the studio. The opening "Use Your Imagination" has enough funkadelia around its edges to salve the most demanding palate, while "Little Girl" might borrow its vocal arrangements from something slick by Hall & Oates
, but nobody told the instruments that. Occasionally the sublime groove does fade -- "That's Enough" is a ponderous dirge, again looking towards Hall & Oates
for its impetus, and the strangely staccato ballad "Without Me" might have slipped off Bowie
's Young Americans. But the title track is insistently nasty, while "Do It Right" and "Feelin' Good" are primal growlers in solid Sly Stone mold. With only "Rise and Shine" breaking the five minute barrier, the album does err on the side of concise caution -- live, Kokomo
were capable of some truly gargantuan grooves, and it would have been rewarding to catch a couple on vinyl. But still it is a pulse-pounding package, plus it packs one of the most appropriate sleeves of the era as well. Kokomo
hit everyone with the force of an express train.