14 September 2019

King Koss - Spinning Wheel/ Louisiana

Sweaty pub soul take on the much-covered Blood Sweat and Tears tune - gritty and good

Label: Polydor
Year of Release: 1969

I've lost count of how many covers of "Spinning Wheel" there have been now. Blood Sweat and Tears may have written it and birthed it, but it was subsequently taken on by artists as diverse as Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis Jr, James Brown and Nancy Wilson and, perhaps most notoriously, was butchered by reggae duo Mel and Dave so badly that Kenny Everett gave it a placing on his "World's Worst Records" compilation. Beyond that, it's appearance in adverts and samples has also been apparent.

Chalk one more up on the list, then, because this single by the mysterious King Koss also aims its eyes on the spinning wheel prize. It's actually pretty damn good, managing to transplant the feel of a sweaty, swinging basement dwelling blue-eyed soul group to vinyl without losing any of the rawness.  I haven't DJ'ed in a couple of years now, but if I was asked I might take a chance on this at the right moment - the song is familiar enough to get people on the floor, but the pounding urgency of this version would also probably keep most of them there.

This was King Koss's only single, and we must file him next to numerous strange and (these days) faceless one-off Polydor releases which were licensed from independent companies. Had it been a hit, no doubt he would have been drilled into doing the necessary broadcasting and press publicity to make more of a name for himself, but this clearly didn't sell enough copies to get him beyond passing mentions. If you know who he was, drop us a line.

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