Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Electronic Music & Kool Gent Kent

Chicago radio DJ Herb “Kool Gent” Kent urged Simtec Simmons, the singer, guitarist and leader of aspiring Chicago R&B group the Tea Boxes to record a song with electronic drums. The drum effects came from a device called .The Maestro Rhythm King.

I'll quote Office Naps here:
"Tea Pot" features Simtec Simmons on guitar and two members of the Tea Boxes - his brother Ronald Simmons on bass and Bobby Pointer on the drum machine. Released on Maurice Jackson’s tiny Chicago soul label Maurci in 1967, “Tea Pot” was, strangely enough, a good-sized regional hit, its anomalous and quirky appeal sending robots all over the upper Midwest to their local record shops for something they could finally dance to." if you don't already, you definitely should visit Office Naps every week. www.officenaps.com

Mr. Kent had taken a strong interest in this early drum machine. But it wasn't Herbs first foray in to A&R. When he was at WGES, he so inspired Dee Clark that Clark rename his R&B vocal group called the "Kool Gents." Kent gave them his blessing to use the name, then scored them an audition for Vee-Jay records. Two other bands actually named songs after some of Kent's on-mic giberish. On Chess records J.C. Davis recorded an instrumental number named “Feznecky” in 1964 and just a year later the Dukays' cut a tune called “Mellow Fezneckey,” on Jerry-O Records. More here.

Herb started DJing in high school at WBEZ Chicago. By the late 1940s, he was spinnign records at WGRY Gary and lending his voice talents to radio dramas on WMAQ. He went on to do time on WBEE, WJOB, WHFC, WVON and WVAZ where he curently hosts the Saturday Morning Wake-Up Club. In the 1960s he was a vocal civil rights supporter. Herb Kent was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.