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Funkadelic

 My Motto: "Shit! Goddamn! Get Off Your Ass And Jam!"

 

Introduction
Funkadelic
Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow
Maggot Brain
America Eats Its Young
Cosmic Slop
Standing on the Verge of Getting it On
Let's Take it To The Stage
Hardcore Jollies
Tales Of Kidd Funkadelic
One Nation Under a Groove
Uncle Jam Wants You
The Electric Spanking of War Babies
Who's a Funkadelic?

Funkadelic are the strange brainchild of former doo-wop soul singer George Clinton formed in the late 1960's, as well as the first proof (after Jimi Hendrix) that Black Folks Can Still Do Rock. Meaning, that though early rock music was dominated by sexually perverted black rock stars like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, after the rise of the Beatles, most black music was being stylistically segregated away from rock 'n' roll as 'Rhythm and Blues'. And though Motown and Atlantic created cross-cultural mega stars like the Supremes and Marvin Gaye, these labels were certainly not known for their ass-kicking rock 'n' roll or blues albums. In fact, other than Jimi, Sly and the Family Stone (sometimes), James Brown (sometimes), and the oldies, there simply weren't too many black folks playing 'rock' music at all, especially in the prominent guitar/bass/drums/organ format popular among all those pimply white kids back in those days. And besides Hendrix's Experience, none of them had a wigged-out psychedelic guitar hero. And, also, the entire band was black. Can you name another all-black rock band in 1968? Not even Hendrix had an all-black band until 1969.

It's certainly too easy to take the 'Hendrix-inspired' label a bit too far. Of course it's obvious that Funkadelic took more than a page or two from the Hendrix Dictionary of Sound in making their own way, but they also took the crucial step of being both 1) Much more dance- and funk- oriented, and 2) Much funnier and 3) Much stranger. And though Sly and The Family Stone invented the idea of the 'funk band', rather than the 'funk orchestra' of James Brown, they certainly didn't push the psychedelic elements of their sound very hard. At least, not in 1969 they didn't.

So let's get down to business and do a little history. George Clinton was a singer in a second-rate Detroit soul vocal group called the Parliaments back in the early 60's. He also worked as a producer and writer through the mid 60's until he sampled a bit of what was happening in San Francisco, with Jimi Hendrix, and developments in harder black funk music. Not to mention what was happening in Detroit, where as you may remember, Iggy and the Stooges and the MC5 were currently revolutionizing loud music and Motown was ruling the universe. He also apparently sampled more than a smidge of the little lysergic luptie lou or he wouldn't have gone as far out as he did. Wearing full Indian headdress on stage, big diapers, smacking a bunch of trippy echo on everything, expounding Satanism and whatever else came into his dirty little mind were all parts of the Funkadelic legacy. And a whole lot more that would take a large book to describe, and that's not even including the whole Parliament side of the coin. He was joined in force by the rest of the Parliaments, who brought on a kickass soul vocal element to the Funkadelic sound, Resident Fucked-Up Guitar Hero Eddie Hazel, as well as keyboard pioneer Bernie Worrell (who was responsible for pioneering much of the later P-Funk sound, especially the Parliament side), and, of course, Bass God Bootsy Collins. Toss in about 15 other assorted group members and a great load of strange philosophy and You're Talkin' Funsies! So, let's dive into some albums!

George Freedman geosochi@yahoo.com
Any Short Comments?: Ryan sez: Can you name another all-black rock band in 1968?

George sez: Why yes, I sure can!! --> the Chambers Brothers !!

Just a little sidenote...

(Capn's Response: You got me there...ya big jerk!)


Funkadelic - Westbound 1969

They might be indebted to Jimi Hendrix's guitar and Sly Stone's funk, but don't think you'll find more than the faintest echoes of their influences on this here record. Not unless skeletal, echo-heavy, clean-guitared, stoned talk-jamming is what you think of when you hear the words Hendrix or Sly Stone. This is definitely deep down body funk, all awash in irritating echoes and creepy grooves that may make you nod your head but also to fear the dancefloor. And riffing, riff after riff after riff. There might be some echoes of Sly in the funky drummer style I like to call the 'dance pound', since it's definitely dancey, but has nothing to do with hip hop or disco drumming. More martial. Boompa Chicka! Boompa Chicka! You know what I'm saying? Or am I just a fool with his penis in your sister's mouth?

Anyway, to move beyond childish descriptions of your sister's sexual prowess and dumb descriptions of drum patterns, I will admit that 'I Got a Thing, You Got a Thing, Everybody's Got a Thing' is about the best Sly rip I've ever heard, especially since The Stone hadn't released Stand! yet, which this spookily prefigures. Except for that ugly organ solo...that's pretty uncalled for. And the drum pattern that opens 'Good Old Music' is fantastic, and the riff that rolls on in is nice and lazy. Not to mention the vocals....those are the most spliff-leadened backup vocals I've ever heard. The band really whips up a good stew of loose-limbed funky wall-of-soundness on 'Good Old Music', and it definitely qualifies as a highlight, even though at 8:05 the jams kind of wear out their stickyness due to the ugly production. 'I Bet You' has a neat riff, more of that horrible feedback, and the first real vocal cameo by the old Parliaments doo-wop group (including Clinton, of course) which is great, but sadly rendered difficult to take because of the awful sound.

Large parts of this record are sadly worthless though. The opening 'Mommy, What's a Funkadelic' is pointless (though the riff is halfway alright), and George Clinton's stoned rap (no, not that kind of rap....muuuuchhh.....slllooooowwwerrrrrr) goes certainly nowhere. 'Music For My Mother' is a bit better, and the stoned rap is actually easy to follow. The Cream-y blues rip 'Qualify & Satisfy' isn't bad at all if you can get over the 'hip' lyrics and the obviously unoriginal nature of the track. And then it degrades into long minutes of blues wanking that I could have done without, thanks. 'What is Soul?' Certainly not this blah jive, beatless and riffless. And taking 4 minutes to go anywhere. It's funny, maybe, the first time you hear it, then its simply annoying. Cool harmonica, though, for sure. And have I mentioned the production yet? Its Fucking Horrible! Almost unlistenable, because everything is all echoed and, in addition, has this high pitched, hissy reverb that makes me want to run and hide. Definitely, positively, NOT for headphones, this one.

Capn's Final Word: I would like this album to be remixed. Now. By someone who doesn't eat acid tabs like popcorn. It's honestly a waste of good tape how horrid this thing comes out sounding.

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Gerald Mason

Any Short Comments? I respect george and the pfunk sound but george could not touch sly's genius and most thinking people musically speaking understand that. Slyinfluence miles davis, herbie hancock, stevie wonder, weqther report,stanley clarke, and don't let me talk about Larry Graham bass. Sly and the family was more than just a funk band. Their sound had elements of jazz, pop, rock, soul, gospel exc. George Clinton will tell you that Sly and the family was his influence along with James Brown.


Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow - Westbound 1970

Hangs together even worse than Funkadelic, which is quite a feat. Apparently most of this album resulted from one long night of jamming and recording, a night where everyone involved was heavily tripping on the ol' Paper Happies. And, surprising as it may seem, it actually achieves the impossible and has worse production than the screechy ugliness of Funkadelic. Which is a huge crying shame because a few of these tracks scream out to be played LOUD, but the muffy, poorly mastered recording prevents your stereo from ever reaching that ear-bleeding level you need so bad. Some of this album is simply amazing, hard, intense, groundbreaking stuff. Some of it is the usual wanky, noisy bullshit. All of it is produced and mixed atrociously. And has way too much loud organ on top of everything, courtesy of new (and forever) member Bernie Worrell.

Like the title track! Hey! That's indescribable stuff. Unless you describe it as 2 minutes of irritating noises and chanting followed by 8 minutes of a badly mixed, creepily bad organ and guitar and more of that 'dance stomp' beat. And more of that strangely unsettling chanting. This early Funkadelic can be scary stuff, real Halloween-y. And don't call me a wimp, neither. Apparently they weren't having wonderful, mind clearing acid trips here. Long stretches of nothing much happening abound on this track, but parts of this song, like say when Eddie Hazel is jamming away, are okay, but they use that irritating and unnecessary panning technique ALL THE TIME on this record, so soon enough you're wishing this album was in mono. What's worse, a lot of the time the songs were originally recorded in mono, but to achieve stereo they simply PAN THE SOUND LEFT AND RIGHT OVER AND OVER! Like a fucking Ping Pong Ball! AAGH! This is the worst produced album ever! It's got to be! And the sound goes from muffled to over-bright in an instant and back again. Obviously they were completely whacked whilst running the mixing board.

'Friday Night, August 14th' is actually a song for once, rather than a jam, and guess what? It's all right! 'Funky Dollar Bill' is good, with a great bluesy guitar intro. But it also has a strangely incohesive tone and (again) a terribly mixed out-of-tune piano part that was obviously tacked on to the backing track at a later time, and succeeds in ruining the song. The short blues 'Some More', which has that watery effect all over the vocals, is a lot better and sounds like it was actually produced as a song rather than a bunch of separate parts all thrown together.

My favorite track on here is 'I Wanna Know If It's Good to You?', which rips it's naggy high pitched riff from 'I Bet You'. It's sexy lyrics are sung by some chicks (I assume, or maybe its just sped up male vocals. Wouldn't that be weird?) but those end before too long as the song is (badly) cut to an instrumental jam on the same riff that quickly proceeds to peel the paint off the roof of my mouth with its relentlessly pounding drum figure. Then Eddie comes in with some of the best, most whacked feedback playing I've ever heard. The best, if I may make a vote. The best feedback ever. Another chills-down-the-spine-moment for sure. Then it ends as soon as it begins and is replaced by a pretty neat classically-influenced organ solo for a minute or so, then all the soloists quiet down, the mix suddenly turns good, and you get to hear some really great funk bass playing by Bill 'Bass' Nelson. Such a cool song. It is better, however, heard in it's original mono form as a single where the instrumental jam is rightfully placed as a B-side to the vocal version's A. The mono song COOKS, and you can hear everything so much more clearly. Search out the Music For Your Mother compilation by Westbound and remember to thank me in the morning. It has this single and a bunch of their other early stuff in MUCH better mixes than what ended up on the records.

Capn's Final Word: Well, a lot better than the first record in terms of songwriting and exciting performances, but these guys need to focus themselves a LOT more before they can start kicking MY ass. And get some REAL PRODUCTION! You hear me? All the parts are in place, all you need is some discipline, guys!

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Mike  thepublicimage79@hotmail.com   Your Rating: A-
Any Short Comments?: Another solution regarding the much discussed production/sound problem with this album: get the British CD version. It has *much* better sound in general and sounds like aural treasure compared to the awful sounding American version, which sounds as if it was recorded on tinfoil.

Oh, the album? WEeiieirrrddddd stuff. Way too short, and irritating production (I don't mind the panning - the lack of bass gets me and the way it fuzzes into incomprehensibility just because of cruddy recording), but otherwise mind-blowing stuff. Eddie Hazel sounds remarkably like Hendrix on some of these tracks, especially the title jam...damn. Hazel was a real genius.
 

Mike     Your Rating: B
Any Short Comments?: Bernie Worrell was on the debut album as well, he just wasn't credited. He and george knew each other way back since his days as a hair stylist in detroit

 


Maggot Brain - Westbound 1971


Here you are, the album we all knew they could make if they'd simply have locked themselves out of the engineer's booth like good boys and girls and left the mixing to professionals. Or at least to people who weren't hallucinating that the faders were a bunch of large, toothy, paisley painted Junebugs, anyhow. This record singlehandedly establishes the Funkadelic of legend, places Eddie Hazel into the Rock Guitar Hall of Fame, and pioneers the whole Psychedelic Funk genre they'd never quite been able to get down on tape on their first two records. Like Red Hot Chili Peppers? This is the record from which they stole their entire career.

The album starts in peak form with a short, scary vocal introduction that would sound Satanic if it weren't so strangely Animist. It intones the whole idea of the Maggot Brains, good folks who Got the Funk (ah-ah ah-ah uh-ah!) and rebel against the raping of Mother Earth, or something like that. But forget it, it's unnecessary and not at all as powerful as what inspired the real song.

The real song is a 10 minute instrumental embodiment of sadness and loss. 10 minutes of the most riveting guitar playing I can name. The saddest, most deeply moving piece of improvised music I've ever heard. Apparently they told Eddie Hazel to 'play like his mother had just died', and since he was probably tripping, he proceeds to do just that. It will wrench your heart out. Not a single note is wasted, and like all great solos, it leads to somewhere. Some parts are despairing, others teeth-grittingly painful, others understated, ruminating, and wistful. Eddie leads us finally to a bittersweet memorial of acceptance and peace. It's simply awesome that someone could do this with a guitar. I personally want this played at my funeral.

In technical terms, the strange echoes so annoyingly used on Funkadelic and Ass are finally given a purpose on this track, either by punctuating snare-shots or by lending a strong (and meaningful) texture to the lead guitar. The warm reverb on the backing guitar arpeggios is another texture that adds complexity to the guitar solo, one that pushes the track that ever bit higher.

And what about the beautiful ringing production on 'Can You Get to That'? The combination of the great rollicking boogie piano, the masterful acoustic guitar (another first) and the doo-wop Parliaments vocal harmonies are definitely something wonderful and inspired that has been consequently improved by the production, and not destroyed by it in any way. Plus I like the message of the song, and that bass dude's turn on the mic is really a hoot. Mama, this is soul. Another greatest-highlight, the second in a row. The rocker 'Hit It and Quit It' is nearly as good, and it has both the best Funkadelic riff so far and a soaring chorus. 'You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks' is another winner, a bass-heavy vocal track which qualifies as the first truly funky track on the record.

'Super Stupid' is another gleaming highlight in a record that is jammed full of them. The heaviest, strongest rocker the band ever achieved, this heavy metal song beats most efforts by Mountain and Black Sabbath any day of the week, plus it has drumming of a sort NEVER seen on albums by those white boys. And another Hendrix-level guitar solo. The worst thing about the song is its criminally short length of 3:57. I personally could have done with a couple minutes more. Actually, besides 'Maggot Brain' and the closing 'Tales of Armageddon', all of these songs are much shorter than Funkadelic songs ever were in the past. Mostly clocking in around the magic mark of 3:30. I'm certainly not complaining, that's for sure.

The goofy 'Back in Our Minds' is by far the most lightweight track on here, but is by no means bad. The lyrics are cute. Perhaps you won't like the silly doingy doingy noises, but a little comic relief never hurt anyone.

Stop the album here and you have an A+, keep it going through the excruciating 'Tales of Armageddon', a pointless tape jam of baby cries, airport announcements, and some music that is, to put it honestly, ready for the trash barrel. Horrid horrid horrid. As bad as 'Maggot Brain' is wonderful. As pointless as the rest of the album is resonant.

Capn's Final Word: End the album early and you have a classic in a year packed full of them. Buy this if you haven't heard it yet.

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Your Name: Tony Souza     Your Rating: B+

Any Short Comments?: Nice to see this album get it's due. "Super Stupid" is indeed heavy song and, well, you already said how good the other songs are. It does end out on a shitty note though, but that doesn't deter me from thinking this is a lost '70s classic.

George Freedman Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: I couldn't agree more with you, Cap'n!! "Maggot Brain" is the greatest guitar solo of all time, for my money. Its emotional power is simply unparalleled. "Super Stupid" is really awesome as well.... I think of it as a cross  between Led Zeppelin and Sly Stone... Other than the last track, everything is super groovy and just first rate funk-rock. Prolly their best album...

Nathan Harper nator9999@comcast.net    Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: It's really such a shame. As much as I hate to say it, Wars of Armageddon is just long and boring. But I feel so guilty not giving this the highest rating because I just love evrything else so much. On the basis of the other material on here, this is easily one of my top ten albums.


Joe Chunk roceci@hotmail.com     Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: Yeah. I just have to stick up for Wars of Armageddon here - doesn't anyone realise that it bookends the album perfectly? '...the mind of the universe' is exposed here in just about every form imaginable. The whole piece is a frantic running psychedelic battle & is in perfect contrast to the opening track whilst consolidating the theme. The whole echoed sound adds to the claustrophobia & really gives the feel that summin's gonna blow, & Eddie chucks some wild acid-drenched shee-at into the mix here & there that personally knocks the breath out of my largely unhealthy lungs. Look at the big picture!


 


America Eats Its Young - Westbound 1972

A whole hog honkin' hell of a lot different than Maggot Brain, and only one year later, too. Despite the creepy fanged-Lady Liberty cover cartoon, this is a much kinder Funkadelic, one much less willing to jump into the chasm to go and play Gin Rummy with the Great Deceiver. For one, Eddie Hazel has gone off to nod somewhere all by his lonesome, so if you're into Funkadelic for the acid-guitar wankouts, then you ought to continue your shopping. If you like stuff like 'Can You Get To That', but thought you might like a few more horns on the track and less loud guitar (acoustic or not), then you've found your Grail. This is very much a transition album for the Funks, transiting from Acid Rock to Funky Soul, a trip from which they returned often, but never for longer than the period of time it takes to perform a guitar solo in concert. Instead we get the newly added Parliaments soul group, who sing so well on this dang thing you'll thing the Impressions just showed up. And Bootsy? You want Bootsy? Hey, so do I! He's here, fresh from his Sex Machine James Brown JB's days, soon to be the Star Child bass mainstay of P-Funk, but for right now just thumping away with confidence. I guess all the guitar work is taken over by Bernie Worrell, whose organs and horn charts carry almost all of the weight of this double album extravaganza. With the fantastic singing, of course.

Something tells me the group laid off the drugs as well, for the paranoid vision is...well...coherent, and a lot less paranoid this time around.  It could also be because George Clinton's role is a lot more limited here, but it's no problem because the other performers are all about at their peak. You want protest songs, we'll getcha some protest songs. How about the title 'If You Don't Like The Effect, Don't Produce The Cause', sung by a women's trio over a bubbly Sly-funk groove? You want a line like 'I'm afraid if we don't make some changes, there won't be a country left to change' (from 'Everybody's Going To Make It This Time') to come from these faux-Satanists? And what would you say to a nasty wah-wah funk opener that goes into a honky tonk section, one that doesn't suck one bit? You see what kind of surprises we've got in store for you? It's very much a different beast that's rifling through your refrigerator on America Eats Its Young. The Parliaments in the band also threw in some tracks from their lost debut Osmium, like the perversely dancable 'Loose Booty' and the simply perverse 'I Call My Baby Pussycat' aka 'Pussy' ('P-U-S-S-Y!!!' they say really loud over and over, just so's you don't think they lost their nuts to do such a thing). There's also such winners like 'Biological Speculation', about how we're all just pointless wiggly carbon slimebags, 'Joyful Process', which out-Hayes's Isaac, 'Philmore', which shows just how much James Brown is in these boys; veins,

This is a double album, so you just know I'm gonna identify the lumpier parts of the minefield for you before you all start your miniature golf game. Most of the worse moments are where you ask yourself. THIS is Funkadelic? What the hell IS a Funkadelic, anyway? 'We Hurt Too' is so slow and sappy (you just know it's got a string section, don't you?) that Barry Mannilow would probably be able to improve quite a lot on it. The title track reprises the opening speech from Maggot Brain over a slow, freaky ballad replete with lots of reverbed screaming and moaning, which might either seem scary as hell or just boring depending on your mood. And the ending side is so much of a letdown that it's hard to let it pass. 'Balance' moves, but its stupid and has a godawful opera section, 'That Was My Girl' is simple disco crap. I don't even like 'Wake Up' all that much, and I don't know why I shouldn't. It just sounds too much like some second tier Motown group to me.

 I see this album as an A+ single record stretched out to a pretty good double. Keep the title track, 'Nail', 'Effect/Cause', 'Joyful Process', 'Loose Booty', 'Philmore' (or 'Miss Lucifer's Love', whichever you prefer), 'Biological Specualtion', 'Everybody's Gonna Make It', and...sheeit, 'Pussycat', and you've got either the best early Funkadelic album by a mile or I'll eat my shoe. My shoe, for chrissakes...and I've stepped in some dogshit over the past few months! Not intentionally, but those dogs just seem to lay little ambushes for you, don't they? 

 Capn's Final Word:  A very different, but very fresh selection of Funkadelic at its peak. That's unfortunately got some crappy filler on it.

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Cosmic Slop - Westbound 1973.

Following America Eats Its Young, a double LP that had its share of moments that made you check the spine to see if you had the correct group's album in the player, our men underwent a change that threw most of the 'delic' out of their sound for good. For one thing, Bootsy Collins joined the group after Maggot Brain, and contributes his low down dexterous bass lines that scream out 'funky' a lot more than the last guy. Also you have his cool space-cadet rappping all the time. Oh yeah, and Eddie Hazel was in jail at this time for drug use and is sorely missed on the record. Completely gone for the most part are the heavy guitars, the Hendrix-isms, and whatever blues and heavy soul contributed to their first four albums. We now have a more-or-less standard funk group ala Ohio Players or (eek) The Commodores, with all of the standard tendencies of the genre. For example, the opening 'Nappy Dugout' is just a long bass/organ groove, devoid of any loud guitars and simply chanting 'Aah! You got the nappy dugout!' over a slinky beat for almost 5 minutes. It's not irritating, not boring, but does it qualify as catchy? It sure isn't that interesting. 'You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure' is another decent MOR funk tune, luckily saved by the cool vocal harmonies of the Parliaments. Remember those great vocal trade-offs of 'Can You Get to That'? Well, they're back in force now. 'Let's Make it Last' is quite similar, with a slightly harder groove. I just wish the band would cut loose and play it LOUD once and for all, but they seem content to dial back the volume and just roll right through this record.

The first prominent electric guitar on the LP (and the first straight ahead, ungoofy, 'dark' song) is 'March to the Witch's Castle', a creepy little ditty dedicated to the Vietnam vets, and probably the first track that may remind you of the Funkadelic of the previous records. I think the track is interesting, if a little thin and reliant on that 'dramatic' martial drumbeat. It also never ignites in any way, just plods along for awhile, but the prayer-like ruminative mood created is probably just what they had in mind. The first obvious references to Christianity on a Funkadelic track? Strangely yes. Though their Satanism sort of pops up again now and then in future records. The title track and 'Trash-A-Go-Go' are also fairly guitar heavy. The first is sort of a creepy version of 'Let's Make it Last', but again it fails to really POP at all despite it's great riff. 'Trash-A-Go-Go' doesn't have that cool of a riff...sort of by-the-numbers Funkadelic. Kick my ass like the old days! Even those dueling guitar solos are restrained. Don't just pointelessly groove around like all those other groups! You're better than that, dammit!

'No Compute' is a silly swing tune with a guy rapping about getting no pussy. Its a bit funny, but more than a bit unnecessary...where the hell is the hook? The riff? The tune? It's a jam! Without any point!

Listen, this music isn't disco-ey at all, but it is pretty close to the Philly soul then in vogue. Especially the totally un-'delic soul filler of 'This Broken Heart'...with strings, for chrissakes!! Where the bloody hell are the guitars?? This may as well be anybody, except maybe for about 8 seconds before the bridge part. It's sad, to be honest. The riff in the middle is truly stupid. 'Can't Stand the Strain' isn't so bad for what it really is, a Jacksons' song. With Tito.

Capn's Final Word: It's my opinion that when Funkadelic started putting cartoons on its covers, the music within started becoming pretty cartoonish as well. Light, easily consumed, radio friendly, drug-less, slightly perverted and spooky mess. Such a bummer. There's very little bad music here, but there should have been a lot more melodies, hooks, and EFFORT put on this record. This slop is really not that cosmic, believe me.

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Standing On the Verge of Getting it On - Westbound 1974.

A whole lot more far out and Funkadelic-ish than Cosmic Slop, that's for damn sure. The loud guitars are back, too. Not the loud God Jimi guitars of Maggot Brain, but an acceptable substitute for sure. Of course, you get to hear the opening rap twice, which I could have skipped thanks, considering it's not at all as good as 'Maggot Brain'. 'Red Hot Mama' is worth the wait, though. There's a hook! And another one! Of course, the second one is nipped from 'I Wanna Know' off Ass, but it was good then and it's good now. Now this is a new-style Funkadelic track I can sink my fangs into. And that guitar sounds sufficiently loud, too! Way to get back on the horse again. Lyrically, for sure, it's no 'Super Stupid', but it is funky and psychedelic at the same time so who am I to complain? And so is 'Alice in my Fantasies', another fine riff, but I can't get what he's blubbering about under all that echo. Wait! I got that part about the dog and the tree! That's the Funkadelic I love. Loud and funky riffing. Dig it. Same with the title track...it rules and has a genuinely funny intro rap. If you're into childish jokes about peeing in afros. So, yeah, I'm sure you are. This song is funky funky funky. Dancing material for sure. Maybe it's not 'Sex Machine', you know, but it's still prime Funkadelic. Does it have to be so repetitive? Give me a third cool melody and you got yourself a real hit, buddy.

Unfortunately a lot of the time, 'funk' tends to be code for 'one riff played over and over with a mildly driving underneath and some repetitive, unserious vocal hooks'. It certainly isn't designed to do you any harm, as the boys say, but it isn't designed to be closely examined and interpreted either. Dig too deep and you're bound to be disappointed. Let it move your booty without engaging your mind and you'll be just fine.

Now, 'I'll Stay' begins to resemble the soul tracks on Slop, but the descending bass line (think 'Dear Prudence') is a trick I never fail to get taken in by. And the understated vocals just rub my smooth button. And my clitoris as well. Good make out music, this. Especially since it takes 7 minutes, and that's about how long it takes for me to insert all of Big Red in your sister's Juicy Fruit, if you attenuate my frequency, and I think you do. And during the last half of that 7 minutes it halfway reminds me of the Grateful Dead (other than those wah-ed vocals, of course), so I therefore think it's pretty good. Feel free to come to my house and shoot me in the kneecaps.

Hey! The lightweight and melody-less 'Sexy Ways' blows six ways 'till Sunday, even worse than most of Cosmic Slop. And 'Jimmy's Got a Little Bit of Bitch In Him' is an interestingly accepting view of turd burgling cum-guzzling ass pirates set to more of that listenable but unexciting swing stuff this band does so much nowadays.

Now, the centerpiece of the record is the more Maggot Brained (but mellow) closer 'Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts', clocking in at 12:17 and containing more sweet guitar work than anything since that wonderful bunch of Eddie Hazel hallucinations. The rap sort of kisses all the old Funkadelic slogans goodbye for good, as well. I guess the drug-addled delusions of grandeur go with it. By somehow resembling both 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' and Eric Clapton's work on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, but for sure inferior as well, this track has to come as one of the most welcome 'minor' tracks in the groups history. It's simply nice to hear this kind of guitar work on an album, that's all. It's really excellent playing, but you would need more than that sort of non-background to make it come alive. There's almost no 'song' there. 'Standing on the Verge of Getting it On', indeed.

Capn's Final Word: Hey, it's newfangled pre-disco Funkadelic at its finest. Only a couple of duffers and some decidedly un-Godlike highlights, but enjoyable anyway.

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PCHOP     Your Rating: A+
Any Short Comments?: I really can't believe some people's comments on these reviews. All these B's and C's? But of course maggot brain gets an A. I can tell that whoever graded that is most likely ..........
OKBYE.

(Capn's Response: Exactly fucking right? Why, thank you!)


Let's Take it To the Stage - Westbound 1975.

More of that standard new Funkadelic, less guitar-y, more keyboards, lots of Bootsy. Lots of boring mellow soul breaks. More complex, loose, limbs-a-flyin' grooves, when they decide to lay some grooves on you, that is.  Parts of it are goofy as hell. The spare parts seen on the last two records seem to click together for the first time, better than the MIA guitars of Cosmic Slop and more varied than the straight-ahead riffing of Standing on the Verge, but I'm not 100% sure this is all a good thing. The whole album isn't real high scoring on either the 'soul goodness' meter or the ass kicking rock meter.  At least it's not without more butt kicking like 'Good To Your Earhole', which is unfortunately a rare breed on this record. The opener is fine, a lot more lively and well-crafted than 90% of the rest of the record. But really it sounds like a Standing song with less guitar. And it only takes off as a good dance album intermittently. Both the Parliaments and Bootsy get to get a few digs in on the low down 'Be My Beach', which sounds quite a bit like 'You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure' off Cosmic Slop. And 'No Head No Backstage Pass' is ugly, ugly, ugly and makes me feel dirty as well. I guess the old perverted sex psychosis is still a large part of the psyche of this band, but do they have to make it so damned depressing? This song makes me want to take a shower.

Luckily the second half of this record picks things up, and fast. Like the boasting, way down booty funk of the title track... probably breaking more ground for future rap groups than any song other since James Brown's 'Funky Drummer'. Its the original competition bating vamp, making fun of all of Funkadelic's (then) contemporaries. They did have a point about being the best band out of that roll call, but we're talking about a limited genre of music, it wasn't like these guys were the kings of 70's hard rock or something. The band really gets rolling in its 'new found thing' about this point of the album. 'Get Off Your Ass and Jam' has probably one of the deeper grooves the band ever dug. It's got catchy basslines that wouldn't sound out of place on a David Bowie album, some squealing guitars and one short running time. Damn. Just when we were on a roll. 'Baby I Owe You Something Good' is a pleading heavy soul song that strikes me sort of proggy, and way insincere. Why is it so slow and repetitive with those dumb keyboard-backed parts? Especially coming after two octane-fueled tracks like 'Let's Take It To the Stage' and 'Get Off Your Ass and Jam', its a real groovestopper. Suicide on a record like this. At least 'Stuffs and Things' bass-pops the energy back up excellently . Could be the best dance song on the entire record. And is Bernie's synth grabbed straight outta ELP or is it me? What great stuff, and on a funk record, too. That's why Funkadelic is worth listening to at all. They certainly aren't melodic masters, the singing isn't all that good, dammit, the drumming isn't all that funky, but the band has Players! Bernie, Bootsy, and Eddie Hazel are all wizards on their instruments. Derivitave, maybe, but really talented nonetheless. Then its another lame, boring filler slow tune called 'The Song is Familiar' that can't be saved no matter how good the piano at the end is (no shit its familiar, you do like 3 of these slow tracks on every album since 1972, fools!) and is that guitar solo out of place, or what? And 'Atmosphere' is more pointless, beatless organ noodle than any human ought to ever have to tolerate.

Capn's Final Word: This album is chock full of crappy, unmelodic filler. It has a lot more life to it than Cosmic Slop ever did, but can't hold a candle to the guitar-charged rockin' power of Standing on the Verge. And sadly, it's quite draggy and boring in a lot of spots. Forget it! It's really not worth it until you get quite a few other records first.

 

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Mike     Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: You're a strange one Capn. Sometimes I feel like you have a good appreciation for stuff other than hard rock, sometimes I don't. You certainly demonstrate a greater knowledge and affinity for soul and jazz and funk than a lot of other rock reviewers out there (*cough cough prindle *cough), but then you say something like "we're talking about a limited genre of music, it's not like they were the kings of 70s hard rock" as though hard rock, or any other genre for that matter, is any more limited than funk, or that hard rock is superior music. Then you go and insert all these disses on Parliament, one of the best funk bands ever, responsible for some of the greatest albums in all of pop music in the last 30 years (funkentelechy, mothership connection). Anyway, rant over, I like this album, it's not their best but it's damn and I think deserves a better rating.
(Capn's Response: To start with, I'm gonna claim some exemptions on these Funkadelic reviews, since they were done way back in 2001 when I first started this page and didn't know my ass from Oprah Winfrey's gaping maw. But as I think more and more about it, I'm going to stick by my basic contention that funk is a more limited genre than 'hard' rock is, but possibly for different reasons than I had way back yonder. First off, there's the whole sissy butt definition of terms thing - funk, being a subset of soul or R&B music, simply does not have the variation of form or emotional content because it's not defined widely enough for that. Were Superfly or Talking Book funky? As funky as my lawn-mowin' shoes, but they've not been historically categorized as 'funk' albums. At least not so far as I've heard. 'Hard rock' can encompass everything from the Stones to the Who to the Zeppelin and, hell, even Roxette in some S&M circles. So, in short, to close this first point I'll say that, well, duh...of course it is.

Moreover, I'll say this - if funk isn't a more limited musical form than hard rock, why weren't there more purveyors of it? I can name probably 20 strictly funk artists if I stretch my brain to the limit. I can probably name three times that many hard rock acts without breaking a sweat. It's quite possible that Funkentelechy and Mothership Connection are some of the best albums of the last 30 years, and can surely be called 'funk' albums using even the strictest of definitions, but how many other classics can you name that aren't by P-Funk, Sly, or James Brown? The answer is that I really don't think there are any. Street Songs? Back Stabbers? Something from the stinking pit of the Commodores? Sure as hell ain't no classic, great-from-beginning-to-end War or Zapp or Edwin Starr or Kool and the Gang albums I've heard. What are the reasons for the lack of great funksters? I could be wrong here, but I think that funk is A) more technically difficult than much hard rock, and much less rewarding to spotlight-grabbing soloists, making it a harder nut for the average dumbfuck musician to make an attempt at, thus reducing the number of potential applicants B) Requires weird, unsexy instrumentation like trombones and baritone saxophones, further pruning those interested in becoming part of it, C) is irreparably connected with disco, D) is, obviously, primarily a black-created and black-consumed art form, and we all know how well-supported that kind of thing is by the corporate world, E) funk music is primarily dance music, and dance music is repetitive and does not place very much emphasis on lyrics (alternatively, only a choad wants to dance to Joan Baez) or shifts in style or mood. This 'spice' must be replaced by fantastic grooving and imaginitive arrangements, both of which are very difficult to pull off convincingly. Plus you have to have that great hook in place. Oh, and F) most funk bands wore horrific pants.)

Mike    Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: You make some good points. I would however contend that there are at least a few classic funk records, consistent from beginning to end, made by at least a few other people other than the so-called "holy trinity" of funk. Earth Wind & Fire's All n All, Isley Bros.' Showdown, Prince's Sign O' The Times, (and those three alone had many other good to great albums in their catalogues IMHO) to name a few. Of course, you could argue that those guys aren't strictly funk, but I could argue that The Who, the Stones etc. aren't strictly hard rock. I agree with your points about funk being more difficult to pull off, and there being limitations to how many bands can execute it well or how many bands in the milieu get any promotion, but I do think funk is the most rhythmically advanced form of rock or soul, and I think that the emphasis on rhythmic interplay among melodic instruments can produce truly magical results. Then again, you are right that funk is a more narrow classification than hard rock because it is merely a subgenre of R&B/Soul.  But then again, most of the better hard rock acts are more eclectic, many even drawing elements of funk. What it comes down to is that my favorite groups, in any genre are the ones that can't really be pigeon-holed so easily.

 


Hardcore Jollies - Priority 1976.

Probably the most nondescript Funkadelic album ever, not at all bad, but Just Another Trip Through the Sick Mind of George Clinton. And with lots of the reliable electric guitar that was somewhat missing from Stage.It also peaks real early with 'Comin' Round The Mountain', one of the last heavy-strung jams the band put out, but a good one just slightly less memorable than the gems from Standing. Kinda leaden at times, probably a result of trying out the limits of new guitarist Michael Hampton, but with this odd dichotomy where tracks like 'If You Got Funk, You Got Style' come out with very little rock in the trunk at all. The non-rock tracks sorta strike out here as far as far as I'm concerned. If I'm supposed to remember something as limp as 'Soul Mate' five minutes after the needle lifts off the CD (thus stopping that horrible screeching noise), I guess I'm lost to the Funk Universe. I should just turn in my Geepie card right now and go AWOL from the Funk Army, 'cos I just don't feel the power of the One on this track, or a lot of the stuff on side 2 that doesn't involve loud electric guitars and lots of technical soloing. 'Adolescent Funk' should probably just be renamed 'Childish Dicking Around' and be done with it. That said, the version of 'Cosmic Slop' on here rips the original to veritable shreds, if only I could hear the words. Running out of ideas doesn't just describe my writing today...its a symptom of the band at this time as well. They needed some new blood and new ideas, and they went right out and got them after this mediocre bunch of grooves, resulting in their best album ever. What you're hearing here is the old way finally veering off into inconsequentiality, when the band's prowess was probably at its peak, but the Cool Idea Generator was running on fumes.

One thing you'll find with Funkadelic in particular is that when the group was at full power, the songs aren't there, and when they are, the group plays it tasteful and lets the writing do the talking. This is a case of a charged-up band with very little to play. Parliament is almost scarily consistent in comparison....it's like Clinton returned to Funkadelic when he wanted to get away from the comic book demons of Parliament and just make some music. Funkadelic was, as weird as it may seem, his connection to reality. Hardcore Jollies is down to earth and pretty enjoyable, but has not even close to the amount of work put into it as a contemporary Parliament production.

Capn's Final Word: I have very little to say about this album, including either condemnations or praise. With how much these little fuckers cost, you should probably go looking for gold in another brother's mouth. This one ain't that cost-effective.

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guy     Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: this i think is a musicians album. showcasing the mobs command of their instruments.it is vital in being a perfect funk\rock album.i fist heard it in 1976.at 13 years old it was a mindblowing experience.it was not my introduction to funkadelic but itwas and still is my favorite.

Jason J955@aol.com     Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: You need to check this one out again, homeboy. Jerome Brailey sizzles on the whole album. "Smokey" has the absolute funkiest groove, with that Mini Moog and Brailey's foot, than anything released that year. And if you can find any motherfucker who can play Soul Mate on guitar like Eddie did, I'll suck your neice's Russian dick. You got one thing right, Cosmic Slop rules on this joint. (check out The Motherpage for Funkadelic lyrics. This album is the shiznit. If You Got Funk..is some fire shit just like Be My Beach was

 


Tales of Kidd Funkadelic - Westbound 1976.

Westbound records clearing their vaults of recent Funkadelic stuff after the band jetted from the label resulted in Tales From Topographic Oceans, a huge, four-sided rumination on a footnote in a book by Jackie Collins entitled How To Rewrite the Same Crap Decade After Decade and Have Bored Middle Aged Women Continue To Buy It Even Though CapnMarvel Suspects You Aren't Even A Real Person. Funny thing is that Tales actually kicks more butt than Cosmic Slop did, mainly 'cos this one relies on tunes more than Slop or Stage did. And on top of that, the lack of any attempts at seriousness makes it go down easier than a hot dog and a Hamm's beer. Too often it seemed like the band was getting too far into its Satanic distractions in the mid-70's, but this one is just Sex, Booties, and Ugly Synth Charts. The opening whack jam called 'Butt to Buttresuscitation' is as funky and wicked as anything since 'Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On', and with more squeaky synth squiggles than that song could even imagine in its tiny little baby head, and some fucking cool guitar parts. The other songs aren't much worse (with one huge, elephantine exception I'll get to later) 'Let's Take It To The People' has a nice chorus part and some extra busy backing parts that further convince me that most members of Funkadelic had four arms, and 'Undisco Kidd' is all that and injects some funny nursery-rhyme shit as well. I don't get off on 'Take Your Dead Ass Home', mostly because I don't find the chants all that funny, but the main riff is neato. It must be the most Parliament-sounding Funkadelic song ever, though. And my favorite track on the album is 'I'm Never Gonna Tell It', which sounds like it dates back from America Egg Foo Young what with the formal vocal ensemble and all the lovey-dovey thematic crap they stopped doing about 1973. But that melody? Maybe not all that memorable, but I always perk up when this one runs through. Good Ness.

Unfortunately, the title track on this album is a 10-plus minute studio wank off featuring Bernie Worrell playing a bunch of low synth notes and the Chipmunks having their little furry balls smashed in a rusty vice. Why rusty? Oh, God knows why I said that. Just let it go. But the song is bad. And long. And leaves a very awful stain on the rest of the record. The other songs are just fine, but I always look at this CD and go, 'Oh yeah, the one with the stupid long pointless synth thing on it.' It wouldn't be quite so awful if Bernie was showing off his technique (which he was capable of) or even just screwing around with all the sounds he could get from his Moog. But no. Just a bunch of soundtracky bass notes and a whiny 'melody' for endless hours of your short sweet life. The grade has to suffer for this crime against humanity and the forestry service in particular.

Capn's Final Word: A good bunch of leftovers, like the great Italian pasta you had last night that cost a fortune, but you find a really rotten piece of garlic in part of it when you take it out for lunch the next day. I mean a nasty clove.

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One Nation Under a Groove - Priority 1978

Probably Funkadelic's strongest album, and by far their most fleshed-out work of their career. All of the slow evolution towards synthy funk circus music has come to its full fruition here, and all the cylinders are firing at the same time for probably the only time. They were such an unstoppable musical force following their phat '77 tour that they were able to grab Ohio Player Junie Morrison to write a bunch of the songs for the record, sorta like how the Yankees are always able to snatch your favorite small-market star and pay them shitloads of cash to take them to the World Series again and again. But the method works, so why throw your Bud Selig at it? Try to listen to 'Who Says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock?' and not have the riff lodge in your short-term memory like a second gunman's bullet. Back. And to the left. Back. And to the left. A mighty riff and a pretty cool indictment of black musicians too afraid of white radio to rock out, and white musicians too afraid to funk it up. Well this song kicks both dirty Mexicans out on the street and proves it's own point. Could the song be going on a bit long? Yeah, it could use some editing, like a lot of the songs on this album (I think Groove was originally a double LP with a bonus single of the live 'Maggot Brain' attached) but I wouldn't know what exactly to cut. Remember, this was the glory days of disco when extended funk tracks were meant to keep the beat rolling for nigh on a year or more, so the coked out feathered out secretaries in the satin tops could keep shaking their steak-ums until dawn.

Groove ties up all Funkadelic's many schizoid factions together like you wouldn't believe. There's the acid guitar faction of '69-'71, ('Who Says?' , 'Lunchmeataphobia' and the kindly included live 'Maggot Brain' meltdown) but this part has been relegated to extremely tasteful soloing and the occasional shattering riffage. If something had to go, it was probably the heavy metal part that dragged down Jollies, and I personally don't have any problem with the outcome. Hey, this definitely ain't the first time the lion's share of a Funkadelic album has been less than kind to the memory of Eddie Hazel, but there's so many juicy guitar parts included in otherwise non-rocking songs (like the apocalyptic solo on 'Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad'...say that five times fast with your mouth full of nipple, why doncha?) that you may not even notice. And I might've noticed but I don't let it bother me, 'cos the title track is an all-time James Brown-quoting classic wherein no less than 15 people in the studio manage to make a funk track that sounds spare, and lighter than nitrous oxide. But funkier than your sister's crotchless panties after a frat initiation party. 'Grooveallegiance' ain't a whole lot worse either, and its got a shot of that good ol' fashioned streetwise evil nursery rhyme shit that makes you think that maybe George Clinton should stay away from the kiddie section of the record store for life. 'Into You' is excellent music to fuck by. And if you're patient, you're treated to a satanically heavy instrumental intro to 'Lunchmeataphobia' that rivals early Blue Oyster Cult in its heaviness, and of course that beautiful 'Maggot Brain' performance. I could do without the 'Doodoo Chasers' stuff that appears twice on the album (once is enough, although the second one has some really chunky guitar solos), but that, my dear sisters and lovers, is my only criticism of the record.

Jesus, on this record the good stuff just keeps on coming...I'd go on and describe side 2 but I don't really see the point. There's obscene chants and more of the best funk this band ever put on record. Just keep in mind that this is not the Eddie Hazel version of Funkadelic...this is best considered to be extra-muscular dance music of the stripe the Ohio Players and Commodores (70's Commodores, that is...not the underfed make out music of Night Shift) always threatened to give you but somehow never delivered on. And remember this is al music arranged and performed by people on instruments....this stuff was written and arranged by someone. Or else they jammed it out. But at any rate, this stuff isn't sampled, isn't MIDI, and it sure as hell ain't coming off of some turntable. Funk's gotta be some of the hardest music in the world to play well (can you imagine the syncopation this stuff requires?) but this proves that it can sound like second nature if your band is one of the most talented in the business.

Capn's Final Word: Needs to be sought out by all lovers of funk AND rock music....the craft displayed on this record is of a high sheen, and this stuff hasn't even become a cliché yet. Far beyond its time.

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Mike    Your Rating: A+
Any Short Comments?: The amount of praise you give this album and the final word would make me think you'd give it an A+. Oh well, either way we can at least agree that this is the best Funkadelic album ever, and probably the best thing in the entire empire of P-funk, rivaled only by Mothership Connection.

 


Uncle Jam Wants You - Priority 1979.

Too much disco, not enough funk. This album is where the late 70's extendomania comes on full steam, and I'm a bit steamed myself when the Funk Crew #1 mentions the d-word right there in chorus number one of song number one. Hazel disciples need to stay clear of Uncle Jam, but those of you with a soft spot for Parliament might really like this album. The line between P and Funk is totally obliterated on this record...the only thing this one lacks is some totally retarded concept like freaking underwater or doing it in the schoolhouse complete with silly sped-up voices and crap. Was the House of Clinton in decline in '79 or what? Too many albums, too many spin-offs like Bootsy's Rubber Band (a much better group than Funkadelic was at this time) and the female backup singer group The Brides of Funkenstein and too many financial problems. And like George didn't have half an eye cocked at his future solo career once all this shit played out. On top of all that, there's my theory that probably, though I've yet to have it proven to me, too many stupid rich-people drugs were making the rounds. He knew it, the Gods of Funk knew it, and now I'm trying to hep you to it too. Luckily, the band keeps their hand out of the disco cookie jar as far as music goes...the hit '(Not Just) Knee Deep' sounds a lot more like a Prince production than something from the twisted orchestras of Studio 54, and hits my stroke button pretty good as a result. The Rule of the One is still in effect, thank God for that. But does 'Knee Deep' need to be anywhere near the length it finally tops out at? No friggin' way. And the phoned-in guitar solo part is just sad in comparison to what this band was able to do on the last record. Funkadelic (at least in theory, if only sporadically in reality) used to be about rock music with a dance beat. One Nation was about equal parts of both. This one is about party music with a few light rock trappings. 'Ants in my pants and I need to dance'? What the frig happened to the Pussy Posse? Pedro Bell's fucked up artwork isn't even part of the main cover...there's just George sitting in a laughably dated wicker throne with the Bop Gun in one hand and making a salute to the One with the other. Confusion of roles reigns supreme on this record.

If it sounds like I'm ruing the day that George Clinton stopped being an acid-shattered Disciple of the Dark Prince of Heavy Rock and started to be a slimy dancefloor cartoon character, I'm making myself clear here. I don't mind Parliament in small doses, but there's a part of me that simply hates what this record stands for. They're so dismissive of what they used to stand for on Uncle Jam. The second side is just retarded when compared to just about anything else they've ever plied upon the public, danceable and funky, sure, but fit for an early morning cartoon show, not for a heavy session of listening or dancing. A whole suite dedicated to a Funk Army, with marches and paeans to the soldiers of the dance floor just seems desperately awful. The funny thing is, turn off your memory and your brain and it's not quite as bad as it could be. There's still some spark happening there.

Capn's Final Word: Funkadelic becomes Funkadisco for the most lightweight and tossed-off record ever released by the band. An anomaly in the group's catalog reserved for lovers of Parliament only.

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Chris   ctracey@pcpostal.com  Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: I must disagree with your review of "(not just) knee deep".  This song is more than a classic, it is the king of songs, peerless and perpetual.  When I was growing up, this song would come over the radio and you would think that the national anthem was playing ... the song had that much drawing power.  It is music genius, every note perfectly played, a sultry chorus that subtley lures your body into swaying, and lots of sounds out on the periperhy to make you feel like you are having an out-of-body experience.  I will agree with you that the guitar solos does remind one of Prince, but even in his heyday, Prince could not compose as funky and groovy a song as "knee deep".  Every major artist progresses through a cycle.  There is stage one where the music is new, creative, different.  Stage two is where he/she tries to redefine his/her music and style.  Stage three is when the artist has reached his/her maturity and integrates everything learned through his/her years in the business.  "Knee deep" is the apex of George Clinton and the Funkadelics ... challenged only by "Atomic Dog".  Lastly, you spoke of the song not needing to be 15 minutes long.  Hmmmm.  Well, when
I play the cd, I press repeat and listen to the song for three or four hours .... its a classic!

 


The Electric Spanking of War Babies - Priority 1981.

A bit more of a Funkadelic album than Uncle Fucker ever was, but even more of a George Clinton solo album than that. The guitars are gone to the winds, and the drums sound electronic, and there's a lot of that early 80's synth that goes 'zoink!!' with every note just like on a Prince or Suzanne Vega album. Well, when I ran a Suzanne Vega album across your mom's thigh-high stockings, it made that noise. Then I put this record on and she got all loosey goosy like I'd slipped her an X tablet or something. Your mom? She's a superfreak. She's super freak-ay. But is Erotic Spelunking of Ward Cleaver? I get a better feeling from it than Uncle Jam, for sure, but I wouldn't just go right out and throwing this up on the turntable in the middle of a hot party with bitches and weed and lots of naked body parts...the groove on here is frequently a tad weak and stuff gets stretched out far beyond the recommended strain load. Hey, I guess it was 1981 and real funk was out of style, having been pickpocketed by lame disco and converted into fakey breakdance music. But a drum solo as an album highlight is a pretty heinous crime. And there's a reggae track that should probably have remained in the trashcan they dug it out of. The upset nature of the entire P Funk situation results in 'Funk Getting Stronger I' sounding like a Bootsy solo joint with a bored Sly Stone rapping over it (which, admittedly, is pretty neat). And then he comes back even better on the sequel track...where exactly was Sly hiding out at this time, anyway? I've heard nowadays he's busy living with his mother and getting angry at things that happened twenty five years ago...but in 1981 he was very far down a rabbit hole and very far up his nasal canal. No matter...Sly's presence automatically makes the grooves on these two tracks the best on the record. The rest is ho-hum. Is this Funkadelic, or just Clinton clearing out hit vaults for the last time? I'm afraid of the answer...I like this band too much. But when they got strung out, they did it like pros.

Oh, yeah, for those of you that hold 'America Eats Its Young' close to heart, that tile means a bit of something...Clinton was obsessed with the government's propaganda machine allowing for Carter- and Reagan-era nu-imperialism, but I have a hard time getting too serious about the issue when it's set to such goofy, leaky music as this. This is the America Eats Its Young Statue of Liberty with all her fangs filed out...you might try to make a band full of doingy synth players (which is what this band became in 1981) sound spooky, but you'll fail every time. So disregard this one as a poli-sci dissertation, no matter how promising the propaganda theme might be. Perhaps in the hands of Eddie Hazel....er...that's just asking for too much right now. This is an album obviously made under chaotic conditions where a dozen good ideas probably got passed over in favor for stroking one guy's ego or another.

Capn's Final Word: A real mess of a finale that some people swear is total shit and others an overlooked classic. Resist the temptation to be radical. This is just average funk music as could have been played by anybody.

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Who's a Funkadelic? - Rhino 1981.
Incomplete

Don't have this ripoff non-Clinton related early 80's album released by long-departed former members of the early 70's Funkadelic, and from what I've read, I don't want it. Who's a Funkadelic? Well, if it ain't George and it ain't Bill, I don't want to know the answer. No Funk Mob came within 5 miles of this record. Maybe a Funk Quilting Circle. AKA Connections and Disconnections.

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