FBI (Produced by Alvin Lee)

FBI (Funky Bands Inc) were a critically acclaimed 9 piece band led by Root Jackson, which were together from 1974 to 1978. They had a distinctive 'good time' sound with sharp horns and both male (Root Jackson and female (Bonnie Wilkinson) vocalists.

Root had previously had a few minor hits in late 60s under the name Root and Jenny Jackson. They started on the college, club and pub circuit and graduated to supporting major US acts like Kool and the Gang and The Temptations, touring with rock bands like Alvin Lee Band, whilst being semi-resident at Ronnie Scotts club. This their only album was recorded in 1976 at Alvin Lee's Hook End Manor studio near Reading and was engineered by Chris Kimsey, who went to produce reggae legends Jimmy Cliff and Peter Tosh and several Rolling Stones albums.

Due to a delay in releasing it and lack of promotion the album did not fulfil its full potential when released on the Good Earth label through RCA in the UK in 1977.

The album is mixture of hard driving funk 'FBI' and 'Bad Deal', Soul 'Let me love you' and a cover of JR Bailey's 'Love Love Love' with a Caribbean influence 'The time is right'. But the stand out track is the wonderful 'Talking About Love', surely one of the best soulful records ever made outside of USA.

It is this track which has made the album an underground in-demand £80 rated album for the past fifteen years. The album was re-issued in 1991 with a different sleeve on Root Jackson's Kongo Dance, the label responsible for discovering Omar and Vanessa Simon.

FBI have become in demand again thanks to footage of one of their appearances on the TV show 'Magpie' being featured in an episode of the BBC2 series 'I Love the 70's'.

The band have partly reformed under the name UFBI (Unfinished Business Inc) and plan a new album for later in 2001. In the meantime we are proud to re-present the original FBI album remastered from the original tapes and reunited with its original sleeve design, enjoy the good vibes !

Laurence Prangell Soul Brother Records February 2001





1. FBI.





Where Kokomo and Alvin Lee Intersect:

Who was Kokomo?

Kokomo were formed in May of 1973, directly from the ashes of two other bands,

“Arrival” and “Joe Cocker’s Grease Band”. Their name was taken from an Aretha Franklin song called “ First Snow In Kokomo”. Kokomo is a little town in Indiana, Illinois U.S.A.

The band was fronted by Tony O’Malley. Kokomo was an amazing live band during the 1970’s before they achieved great success and cross over appeal, even in the discotheques! 

It was great for dancing, especially during the late evening hours for unwinding sweaty dancers. The song “I Can Understand It” is a cover version of Bobby Womack’s and it became their smash hit from their first – self titled album, which was released in 1975.

Alvin Lee used the Kokomo singers to great success on his 1974 live “In Flight” album.

As for me, I hate disco, dance music and most cross-over music of any kind. But I found Kokomo to be formed of excellent musicians, good vocals, funky jazzy rhythms and just good time music in general. This band, was one of the top shelf bands to come out of the 1970’s.

Most of all, their music still holds up as well today as it did back then – which is so unusual and extraordinary. I’m impressed.

Record Mirror Magazine – May 29, 1976

Kokomo Opening For The Average White Band

At The Palace Theatre Manchester, England


An outstanding performance by the Average White Band, was given in Manchester’s Palace Theatre, on their first ever British tour. The all familiar chords of “Cut The Cake” opened the show, and cut more than a little piece of applause from the audience. This was followed by two tracks from the album, “Cut The Cake” – “Schoolboy Crush” and “If I Ever Lose This Heaven”. For the first time the band played their new single, “Everybody’s Darling”. A fairly heavy number, enjoyable, but did not quite reach the high standard of their previous hits. Then, a track from their new album, reverted to the almost unique flavour Average White Band give to their music. Their obvious enjoyment as they sang of tender loving care, “TLC”- reached the audience and created an electric atmosphere, which grew as the concert continued. Definitely, the most exciting number was their rendering of, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” – the encore to a standing ovation, which lasted eleven minutes. The crowd left their seats, and were invited to a “sing-a-long with Hamish” as he turned the microphone towards them. This almost slight touch of humour completed the feeling of sheer delight throughout the concert hall.

The support band “Kokomo” proved to be a pretty fine act, varied in their material and they certainly helped create the magnetic – “band / audience” involvement.

Review by Hon Perry


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