Kashmere Stage Band

Record review

Reissues & Box Sets

Kashmere Stage Band

Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974 (Now Again)

While some ISDs cite the deterioration of high school band programs as the impetus for amateurish hip-hop immersion, few high school bands encapsulate the contemporary immediacy of teenage culture. Some 30 years ago, Houston's Kashmere High School emerged as a breeding ground for an orchestral funk so simultaneously raw and sophisticated that it screamed "I'm Superbad" every bit as authentic as any group of professional musicians. Under the guidance of bandleader Conrad O. Johnson, the Kashmere Stage Band embraced the black popular music of its time with an enthusiasm that made their instrumental proficiency a given on the competition circuit. Granting his students freedom to craft their own arrangements, Johnson kept the band engaged to the point that the reputation that sprung up around both their performances and recordings became legend. An institution with revolving members, the KSB consistently infused what has become known as break classics, such as the Soulful Strings' "Burning Spear" and Dennis Coffey's "Scorpio," with the sweeping genius of focused youthfulness. In addition to its litany of blazing covers, Now Again's 2-CD retrospective captures several Johnson-penned originals and live outtakes as it spans a good portion of the band's highly sought-after eight-album discography.****

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