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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hump Day Slow Jam of the Week: Kool & the Gang, "Joanna"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 3:06 PM

The Singers: Founded by brothers Robert and Ronald "Kool" Bell, Kool & the Gang was one of the most successful funk acts of the '70s and '80s. Best remembered for dance-club hits like "Jungle Boogie" and "Ladies' Night," the group also had a slower side. Singles like "Cherish" and today's jam "Joanna" showed a softer, more sensitive side.The Song: With a vocal harmony part reminiscent of doo-wop, "Joanna" floats along like a glossy soap bubble. Singer James "J.T" Taylor (not to be confused with the Handy Man) has a voice to match the effervescent production, and that smooth trombone solo is icing on the cake.

The Video: Talk about taking liberties with a song's lyrics: who knew that Kool & the Gang were singing about a waitress at a greasy spoon? According to the video, Joanna is a middle-aged coffee-slinger who used to be a Cotton Club startlet in her youth. So perhaps when Taylor sings that "she never lets me down, especially at night," he's speaking to Joanna's skills with eggs and hash browns, not her amorous charms.

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