If I have a favourite band at the moment, it's probably Kokomo, 70s veterans who reformed in 2014 and, on the evidence of last nights Milton Keynes show, are still major players, soul pioneers who can effortlessly bring on shivers down the spine, put smiles on faces and bring on spontaneous outbreaks of dancing too.
Their shows are well worth looking out for, now featuring a combination of original members and new younger talent, perfectly exemplified by new recruit Charlotte Churchman, at 23 years showing bags of promise and fitting in perfectly alongside the band's elder statesmen Tony O'Malley, Neil Hubbard and Jim Mullen.
I first loved Kokomo in mid 70s when they appeared as part of a wave of homegrown grass-roots soul-funk practitioners that included the likes of The Average White Band, Jess Roden, Cado Belle, Ace, A Band Called O and Supercharge. I probably first heard them on John Peel and immediately recognised the sublime vocal harmonies that had evolved from Arrival, a group from earlier in the decade who had grazed the UK charts with their hit 'Friends'.
Kokomo never had a hit but become a touring outfit that quickly established a reputation for excellence and some dynamite live shows, featuring a few legends in the making, notably Scottish guitarist Jim Mullen, sax player Mel Collins and front-man keyboard vocalist Tony O'Malley.
Their debut album was surprisingly on CBS - not the trendiest label at the time - but together with their follow up Rise and Shine, offered a high octane template for 'blue eyed soul' that was coming into focus in the post-prog, pre-punk interim months of the mid 70s.
At The Stables there gig was a joyous celebration of all things soulful and funky. Absolute highlight was the Frank Collins led cover of Aretha Franklin's gospel opus 'With Everything I Feel In Me'.. spine-tingling brilliance.
Here's a very DIY iPhone video I spontaneously shot at their glorious Half Moon comeback gig three years or so ago in the iconic dark, sweaty pub venue in south London.. glorious!