Exposé Online banner

Funkadelic — Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow
(Westbound WBCD-772001, 1970/2005, CD)

Funkadelic — Funkadelic
(Westbound WBCD-772000, 1970/2005, CD)

Funkadelic — Maggot Brain
(Westbound WBCD 772007, 1971/2005, CD)

Funkadelic — America Eats Its Young
(Westbound WBCD 772020, 1972/2005, CD)

Funkadelic — Cosmic Slop
(Westbound WBCD-772022, 1973/2005, CD)

Funkadelic — Standing on the Verge of Getting It On
(Westbound WBCD 771001, 1974/2005, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2016-07-21:

Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow Cover artFunkadelic Cover artMaggot Brain Cover artAmerica Eats Its Young Cover artCosmic Slop Cover artStanding on the Verge of Getting It On Cover art

McLatchey's Second Tier

Funkadelic-Parliament-P-Funk have a lot of great albums but Standing on the Verge of Getting It On is the tops for me. I'd probably only hesitantly recommend the CD recent version because it's clipped on one song, unlike the original LP and CD releases, which is a pretty major oversight on an amazing album. What to say about Funkadelic? They were funky, heavy, psychedelic, funny, cosmic, individual, and everything else but primarily when this group began to lay down a groove there were few better. The lead out song in particular, "Red Hot Momma," is one of the absolute gems of the funk rock movement, with a huge heavy and memorable riff that resonates throughout the whole album. And hey when you get to "Jimmy" one can really hear Zappa in this band too. In rock circles I think Maggot Brain tends to get the nod, especially for all the obvious Hendrix influence, but I think this was the band's most cohesive album. People, what you doing?!


by Jon Davis, 2003-02-01:

Funkadelic’s self-titled debut album from 1970 shows the band in search of a style. There are still remnants of the 60s soul of their background, essentially expanding a kind of James-Brown-meets-the-Miracles sound with longer instrumental riffing on grooves and less emphasis on a catchy chorus. The tunes are obviously based on jam sessions, and one of them is even a slow blues rather than a funk style. The “adelic” part of the band is clearly in evidence with the trippy echoed spoken word bits and the absurdist vocal riffing (especially on “What Is Soul?” where they answer the titular question with such things as “the ring on your bathtub” and “a joint rolled in toilet paper”). The seven bonus tracks clearly illustrate the R&B beginnings of the band, with some early versions of the album’s tunes as well as uncharacteristically tame pop songs not far from what the Temptations were doing at the time.

The band’s second album, Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow, was released later that same year, and is very similar, with the title cut being ten minutes of funky jamming with goofy words and much playing around with effects devices. The second track ventures more into Jimi Hendrix territory, guitarist Eddie Hazel blazing away with stacks of distortion and a mean wah-wah. The vocalists are less prominent (due to the fact that Parliament was recording an album of their own at the time), leaving Hazel and keyboard man Bernie Worrell to provide most of the highlights of the album, clearly moving them into a spacey, funky kind of rock music more than soul or R&B.

Over the decades since its release, Maggot Brain has grown in stature among critics to be one of the band’s defining statements, and it’s hard to argue with that opinion. In a most unexpected move, the album starts with more than ten minutes of one of the most extraordinary electric guitar solos ever recorded. Eddie Hazel is backed solely by a minimal rhythm guitar part and a bank of effects. The second track throws another curve: while it is funky, it’s backed by acoustic guitar, and features more tightly arranged vocals than usual for this ragged crew. On other tracks, Worrell gets in some great Hammond, and Hazel shines all over the place. One of the bonus tracks is the full band version of the title track (for the album version, the other instruments were mixed out, leaving only the guitars).

America Eats Its Young (originally a double LP) starts out with an oddity called “You Hit the Nail on the Head” which features sections with varying styles: funk in different tempos, blues, and even something like country rock. This kind of variety becomes the defining factor for the album, with horns, strings, and a large crew of different musicians contributing to lush soul ballads, gospel-inflected funk, and psychedelia. Hazel was only around for part of the recording, and Worrell steps up to become the primary instrumental voice. It’s certainly an oddball album, but contains a number of solid gems. It should be noted that Clinton took over production duties starting with this record, and the sound is more polished than on the earlier releases.

Moving along to 1973, Cosmic Slop is a more consistent effort, full of funky, soulful music, in an attempt at commercial success; while it’s less adventurous, it’s more listenable and still has those odd Funkadelic touches, especially in the unusual subject matter of the lyrics and the returning guitar of Eddie Hazel.

Standing on the Verge of Getting It On was the band’s final album on the Westbound label (they debuted on Warner Bros the following year). It’s as slick sounding as its predecessor, but exhibits more of a guitar presence, with Hazel sharing lead duties with Ron Bykowski. Listeners familiar with the later major-label albums might want to start here unless psychedelic goofiness is a big draw.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 26 , 2005 releases, 1970 releases, 2005 releases, 1970 releases, 2005 releases, 1971 releases, 2005 releases, 1972 releases, 2005 releases, 1973 releases, 2005 releases, 1974 releases

Related artist(s): Bernie Worrell, Funkadelic

More info

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Black Angels - Directions to See a Ghost – It is always exciting to discover new bands that take interesting elements from the past, combine them with fresh new ideas, and create something entirely new. Cases in point are the neo-psych bands...  (2010) » Read more

Kelly David - Broken Voyage – Mixed and enhanced by Steve Roach, mastered by Roger King, with graphic design by Sam Rosenthal, it is a sheer wonder that this doesn’t come across as a Roach clone, weighed down by comparison and...  (2002) » Read more

The Band from Utopia - A Tribute to the Music of Frank Zappa – What we have here is basically a romp down memory lane by the members (mostly) of Frank Zappa's 1988 touring band ("Make a Jazz Noise Here", "The Best Band You've Never Seen in...  (1996) » Read more

Jean-Luc Chevalier - Hommage à Jaco – This is Chevalier's tribute to the extraordinairy bassist Jaco Pastorius. As expected we find here a music that gives ample room to horns. The trumpet is introducing and playing melodies,...  (1997) » Read more

Suns of Arqa - Selected Catalog 1979-2000 – Suns of Arqa started in the late 70s, first gaining notice as the touring band for reggae star Prince Far-I. Bassist / multi-instrumentalist Michael Wadada has been a constant in the band which has...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues