Best Local CD Reissue (2007)

Texas Thunder Soul 1968–74, Kashmere Stage Band

All these decades later, it's still hard to believe that these brassy, jazzed-up funk grooves were made by mere high school kids. It's also amazing how fresh and contemporary these pieces sound today — when done well, classic funk never, ever goes out of style, and Texas Thunder Soul definitely qualifies as well-made classic funk. (Hip-hop DJs, especially DJ Shadow, have been hip to the K.S.B. for years.) And it further astounds when you recognize that this high school band had an actual, identifiable sound of their own — a marriage of the WWII-era big-band brass of Kashmere High bandmaster Conrad O. Johnson's upbringing and the big-city funk of his pupils. Johnson, now 91 and known to many simply as "The Prof," has much to be proud of, but ever the perfectionist, he's still dissatisfied. "The records are just a facsimile," he once told an interviewer. "Seeing and hearing that band perform was unexplainable."


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