Funkadelic “I guess we do look funny!”
“FUNK is an attitude that helps you to save your life when you feel like it’s not worth it anymore.” George Clinton
“IT’S RARE that a tour by an American R&B group can cause controversy that makes headlines in the more general pop music papers. But that’s just what happened last week with Detroit band, Funkadelic. In all fairness, though, they are not considered to be a straight forward Soul act; the fact is that they are more of a progressive Rock act than anything else.” – John Abbey, Blues & Soul, April 1971
As Funkadelic, the group signed to Westbound in 1968. Around this time, the group’s music evolved from soul and doo wop into a harder guitar-driven mix of psychedelic rock, soul and funk, much influenced by the popular musical (and political) movements of the time. Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone were major inspirations
This style later evolved into a tighter guitar-based funk (circa 1971-75), which subsequently, during the height of Parliament-Funkadelic success (circa 1976-81), added elements of R&B and electronic music, with fewer psychedelic rock elements.
“FUNKADELIC man George Clinton casually made the understatement of the year. There they were, the five front men of the year’s most outrageous band, dressed in their satins and leathers; their yellows, reds, greens and mauves; dog collars and jumpsuits, and George came out with: “I guess we do look funny!” Phil Symes, Disc and Music Echo, 5 June 1971
“We played some funky stuff that was crazy. In the sixties we were all maggot brains. We were right in that time when the hippies were happening but we were a little bit older. We knew more about the value of the hippies than they knew about themselves. We were glad to see that there was someone, who meant it because where I came from it was, “Watch your back and do it to them before they do it to you.” So, when you get out there and you see somebody that’s trying to do it another way, it really means something. So, when it came to Motown, they wrote the best songs. It was easy for us to put it in the songs. Then I saw that the funky hippie was the way ‘cause I’d been poor all my life and it made sense. I had styles to being poor. All the variations. We took it to some silly points of view and then once I realize that all those other concepts were what made people uptight, then I made up my mind that I’d never get like that again.
Having kept that attitude during the seventies, it was new for those who had gotten back to the straight, structural world. So, here I am, somebody who’s playing with this silly look and I mean I could even do it in glamour, even if it looks like a lot of money. Those costumes (I wear) are expensive as hell, but they’re gonna ask, “Hey, wait a minute, where’s that nigger comin’ from?” They can’t see a spaceship and think it’s just a Cadillac. (Laughter from everyone in the room.) So, your mind don’t have certain things that I know, certain things you don’t perceive. Either I have to show you the picture of it or I said it. Chocolate City and everybody relates to it for one reason or another the same way.” George Clinton
The group’s self-titled debut album, Funkadelic, was released in 1970. The credits listed organist Mickey Atkins plus Clinton, Fulwood, Hazel, Nelson, and Ross. The recording also included the rest of the Parliaments singers (still uncredited due to contractual concerns), several uncredited session musicians then employed by Motown, as well as Ray Monette (of Rare Earth) and future P-Funk mainstay Bernie Worrell.
The kingdom of heaven is within!
Bernie Worrell was officially credited starting with Funkadelic’s second album, 1970s Free Your Mind… and Your Ass Will Follow, thus beginning a long working relationship between Worrell and Clinton
“It’s one of the best titles in modern musical history, for song and for album, and as a call to arms mentally and physically the promise of funk was never so perfectly stated”.Ned Raggett
The album Maggot Brain followed in 1971. The first three Funkadelic albums displayed strong psychedelic influences (not least in terms of production) and limited commercial potential, despite containing many songs that stayed in the band’s setlist for several years and would influence many future funk, rock, and hip hop artists.
Maggot Brain is the third studio album by the American funk band Funkadelic, released in 1971 on Westbound Records. It was the last album that featured the original Funkadelic lineup; shortly after Maggot Brain was recorded, Tawl Ross, Eddie Hazel, Billy Nelson, and Tiki Fulwood left the band for various reasons.
The album incorporates musical elements of psychedelia, rock, gospel, and soul music, with significant variation between each track.
1. “Maggot Brain” Eddie Hazel, George Clinton 10:20
The original recording of the song, over ten minutes long, features little more than a spoken introduction and a much-praised extended guitar solo by Eddie Hazel.
Music critic Greg Tate described the song as Funkadelic’s A Love Supreme
“Maggot Brain” was Hazel’s nickname.
Other sources say the title is a reference to band leader George Clinton finding his brother’s “decomposed dead body, skull cracked, in a Chicago apartment
2. “Can You Get to That” (released as a single-Westbound 185) Clinton, Ernie Harris 2:50
This song is a departure from the groove-oriented Funkadelic sound and is more of a traditional lyric-based acoustic rock piece. It begins with a descending acoustic guitar line which is joined by piano, bass and drums which support a cast of singers. It is a rewrite of a song by The Parliaments titled, “What You Been Growin'” and is heavily influenced by gospel music stylistically.
3. “Hit It and Quit It” (released as a single-Westbound 198) Clinton, Billy Bass Nelson, Garry Shider 3:50
The song feature Bernie Worrell’s vocals and organ-playing, as well as an extended Eddie Hazel solo at the end.
4. “You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks” (released as a single-Westbound 175) Clinton, Judie Jones, Bernie Worrell 3:36
Lead Vocals: Billy Bass Nelson
It is a very class-conscious song, with the singer pleading for unity among the poor because without doing so, equality could not be achieved.
The song’s refrain is very similar to an old folk rhyme that was first published in Thomas W. Talley’s Negro Folk Rhymes (Wise or Otherwise) (1922):
If you and your folks love me and my folks
Like me and my folks love you and your folks
If there ever was folks
That ever ever was poor. – Funkadelic
If you an’ yo’ folks likes me an’ my folks,
Lak me an’ my folks likes you an’ yo’ folks;
You’s never seed folks since folks ‘as been folks,
Like you an’ yo’ folks lak me an’ my folks. – Negro Folk Rhymes
5. “Super Stupid” Clinton, Hazel, Nelson, Tawl Ross 3:57
Lead Vocals: Eddie Hazel
The title of this song refers to a drug addict who buys the wrong drug accidentally. He is also referred to as having a “maggot brain”.
The verse of the song uses similar combination of rap singing over drum rhythm plus occasional guitar chords as is heard on “Crosstown Traffic” by Jimi Hendrix.
6. “Back in Our Minds” Fuzzy Haskins 2:38
This song seems to be about the singer and someone else (possibly different races, former lovers or friends) having reconciled and are now “brothers.”
Lead Vocals: George Clinton, Tawl Ross – Trombone: McKinley Jackson – Bongos: Eddie “Bongo” Brown – Jaw Harp: James W. Jackson
7. “Wars of Armageddon” Clinton, Tiki Fulwood, Ross, Worrell 9:42
The music is a bizarre mix of music and special effects-type sounds, and intelligent, though unusual and abstract, lyrics.
This song is socially conscious, as the singer demands immediate freedom from oppression, as well as “power to the people”
8- “Whole Lot of BS”This song is a bonus track on the album, originally released as a non-album B-side to the single “Hit It and Quit It”.
9 -“I Miss My Baby” This song is another bonus track, originally released as the B-side to an early take of “Baby I Owe You Something Good”, which was later reworked for the Let’s Take It to the Stage LP
Funkadelic (1970) – Free Your Mind… and Your Ass Will Follow (1970)
Maggot Brain (1971)
America Eats Its Young (1972)
Cosmic Slop (1973)
Standing on the Verge of Getting It On (1974)
Let’s Take It to the Stage (1975)
Hardcore Jollies (1976) – Tales of Kidd Funkadelic (1976)
One Nation Under a Groove (1978)
Uncle Jam Wants You (1979)
Connections & Disconnections (1980) – The Electric Spanking of War Babies (1981) – By Way Of The Drum (2007) – Toys (2008)
George Clinton (born July 22, 1941) is an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and music producer and the principal architect of P-Funk. He was the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s and early 1980s, and launched a solo career in 1981. He has been cited as one of the foremost innovators of funk music, along with James Brown and Sly Stone
“Funk is anything you need it to be at any given time. It’s something that saves your life, or it’s an attitude, or it’s that attitude that helps save your life when you feel like it’s not worth it anymore. You get to a place where you just want to jump out the window. Funk is that comical voice that come to you and says, “Why brother, ain’t anybody gonna miss you.” It’s an attitude. It’s whatever it needs to be at any given time. That’s the way I look at it. Funk is really all music. It’s the attitude that helps people to change and do new music even though my bag might have been something else. It can be anything with that beat.” George Clinton
Flea, Brad Wilk, Tom Morello, Pete Yorn, Serj Tankian:
Axis Of Justice