Kool & The Gang: Robert "Kool" Bell (bass); James "J.T." Taylor (vocals); Charles Smith (guitar); Dennis "D.T." Thomas (alto saxophone); Ronald "Khalis" Bell (tenor saxophone, synthesizer); Robert "Spike" Mickens, Michael Ray (trumpet); Clifford Adams (trombone); Curtis "Fitz" Williams (keyboards, synthesizers); George Brown (drums).
Additional personnel: Rick Iantosca (guitar); Kendal "Sheep" Stubbs (bass); Jimmy Maelen (percussion); Starleana Young (background vocals).
EMERGENCY continues the trend--begun on 1979's LADIES NIGHT and continued on albums like CELEBRATE! and IN THE HEART--of pushing Kool & the Gang's sound deeper into the smooth grooves of Adult Contemporary R&B. Though the band had long since relinquished the hardcore funk on which it honed its chops, EMERGENCY proves Kool & the Gang still capable of moving bodies on the dance floor, as the thumping "Misled," the album's lead-off single, attests. The hard-driving vibe of the title track, and the almost Prince-like "Surrender," should be enough to assure old-school Gang fans that they've still got the funk.
But it was the band's romantic pop that shot up the charts in the early '80s, and EMERGENCY contains its fair share of radio-friendly jams. "Fresh," with its simple bass line and clean arrangements was a hit (the band's long-practiced instrumental precision--with crisp rhythmic exchanges of guitar, bass, drums, keys and vocals creating seamless syncopation--can be heard here). A streamlined ballad in the classic adult contemporary mode, "Cherish" joined "Fresh" and "Misled" in the Billboard Top Ten, and solidified Kool & the Gang's claim to mainstream success.