Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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K.C. & the Sunshine Band

  • Do It Good [T.K., 1974] B+
  • K.C. & the Sunshine Band [T.K., 1975] A-
  • Part 3 [T.K., 1976] B+
  • Who Do Ya (Love) [T.K., 1978] C+
  • Do You Wanna Go Party [T.K., 1979] B+
  • Greatest Hits [T.K., 1980] A-
  • The Best of KC and the Sunshine Band [Rhino, 1990] A-

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Do It Good [T.K., 1974]
Keyboard player (and now vocalist) H.W. Casey and bassman Richard Finch made so much moolah for T.K. prexy Henry Stone that he told them they could spend as much as $3150 on their own LP. What they come up with is the real Miami sound--the sensual Latin accents that really are sensual in New Orleans sound altogether more hyped-up here. "Queen of Clubs" was a smash in the Queen's clubs, while "Sound Your Funky Horn" and "I'm a Pushover" have creased America's soul charts, which makes three hooks right here. A weirdo and a sleeper. B+

K.C. & the Sunshine Band [T.K., 1975]
No matter what you label them, these otherwise meaningless dance tunes are as bright and distinct as the run of disco mush is dull--when it comes to formula, always opt for top forty, which compels innovation, over Muzak, which forbids it. The horns and vocals are less candidly soulful here than on their debut, and the result is an album that's poppier, lighter--almost airy. And though the songs do all sound alike, that doesn't mean they are. Far from it. A-

Part 3 [T.K., 1976]
I don't know how many KC albums the record lover need own. One may well be enough, but zero is certainly too few. This is less consistent than the second and more predictable than the first, but it's a close question: Casey and Finch are remarkably inventive within their unique little ambit. Like the others, this sounds so samey you think the riffs will never kick in--and then they do. B+

Who Do Ya (Love) [T.K., 1978]
They lead off side two with a cover of "It's the Same Old Song," and given the new ones it's a shame it isn't. C+

Do You Wanna Go Party [T.K., 1979]
The slight shifts in rhythmic and compositional strategy are dubious. But this band is like the Ramones--the hooks sneak up on you. What can I say? Not only do I love the title cut, but I find myself humming everything else on the record--the slow one, the cover version, the one in Spanish. B+

Greatest Hits [T.K., 1980]
Bubblegum funk, kvetch some. Right, bubblegum funk, kvell I--beats cocktail funk, avocado-and-sprouts-sandwich funk, TV-dinner funk. Thank God there's nothing suave or healthy or mass-produced about it--just sweet and silly. I need say no more because anybody reading this already knows what they sound like: except maybe for their brothers in crime the Bee Gees, nobody since the Beatles has concocted a sound more broadly familiar. They didn't sustain, and they could have been chewier, but if you've always thought they might be fun to play at parties, or feared that nothing so ebullient could escape oblivion, this is the investment you've been waiting for. A-

The Best of KC and the Sunshine Band [Rhino, 1990]
Just for fun, I pushed some buttons on my CD changer and played only the five songs that aren't--or weren't, rather--on the old 11-cut version, which suffered a tragic early death. And when they came up, they sounded almost as infectious, ebullient, catchy, dancy, et cetera as the hits. Explain to the historically minded that they were an important minor band and this is all that's left of them. Then have fun. A-

Further Notes:

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]