This is Koko

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Roots ‘n bluesy stuff on bass, drums and a guitar with and without vocals. That, in a nutshell is what the Dutch band Koko is about. The members of the band -Ton van der Kolk, Timothy van der Holst and Ron Smith – are smokin’ – white hot – tuned into the same primal source … the blues.


Many of their tunes on ‘This is Koko’ are made for some top-down cruisin’ or butt-struttin’ funky chicken dance action that’s spearheaded by Smith’s motoring guitar leads, van der Kolk’s groovy basslines and van der Holst’s shuffling drumrolls. Koko stomps on everyone’s ass when they do their thing. They boogie, they rock, they shuffle and surf shit down to it’s core. Koko is good-time, hip shakin’ fingersnappin’ fingerlickin’, kikkerlickin’ rock & roll that leaps at you from one high energy note to the next. Yes This is Koko

But the blues – result of an intermingling of work songs, field hollers, European ballads and popular songs of the day – the blues, mother of all 20th century rock & roll music, is more than ‘just the blues’, at least according to Koko. The musical spectrum they are covering is wider. Their conception/idea of blues is inspired by the richness of other roots music like rhythm and blues, rockabilly, surf, and country & western. Notice the way Koko likes to juice these styles with a party sensibility by using latin-oriented rhythms like mambo.

Check out the Koko demo-CD “Koko goes blues”, on which you’ll find songs like that. Or listen to their first CD “This is Koko”, full of instrumental surf-cocktail tunes.

Most of the Koko songs and tunes are self written. But since they are written within that certain idiom of roots music, they’re full of striking style quotes. So sometimes the unwary listener doesn’t know if he or she is dealing with an unmitigated classic or with a brand new home-cooked Koko tune. Koko has made a true art of writing – what they call – “pastichio’s”.

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