Review Summary: 60's R&B on acid
George Clinton is a musical genius; there is just no point in denying it. The guy basically started funk culture, and essentially ran the genre for the entire duration of the 1970’s. In addition to that, his two flagship groups: Parliament and Funkadelic (together known as P-Funk) were just damn good bands with some really good albums. Clinton has been showing his ear for psyche-funk perfection from the very start, or in other words, this very album.
Funkadelic’s sound, unlike that of some of P-Funk’s later work (i.e. Maggot Brain
) can actually be encapsulated in a single phrase: “trippy 60’s soul with guitars”. The catchy 60’s soul of Motown and the hard electric guitars of Jimi Hendrix flow through Clinton’s otherworldly fingertips to make a beautiful sound that echoes throughout the course of the 47 minute duration of this beautifully hypnotic mess of an album.
It would be unfair to give George Clinton sole credit for the greatness of this album, as much of what makes album is the guys actually playing: not just because of their skill, but also because of the sheer number of people performing here. The choruses, background singers, and extremely complex arrangements using a variety of instruments bring in a ‘larger than life’ feel to this album. One individual who especially deserves praise would be Ray Monette for his guest appearance in ‘I got a thing, you got a thing, everybody’s got a thing” where he kicks up a blazing guitar solo that can easily make for the highlight of the album.
But why stop with that song when there are so many other great points in this album? In fact, let’s start with the intro: “Mommy, What’s A Funkadelic”. Following an odd intro, we are plunged into an abyss of deep swinging grooves taken just how any music should be experienced while high: nice & slow. Erotic lines echo bringing a seductive atmosphere into play while a lovely chorus not far from Motown’s signature sound scats in the background. All of this is complemented by a deep, groovy bass line, bringing one hell of an experience for first-time listeners, high or sober. This 9 minute monster jam is brought to a close with the statement “It’s called Funkadelic music”.
All in all, this is a fantastic debut to an extremely consistent band. This could have easily been the crown jewel of P-Funk had there not been so many jewels to choose from.