Monday, February 16, 2009

Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove Special EP

(Warner Bros., 1978)

I’m partial to the gritty sweatguitar-funk of Maggot Brain over the whimsical synth-heavy discoisms of late-’70s Funkadelic, so take this unenthusiastic review with whatever size grain of salt you wish. The band included this record as a conceptually-baffling freebie in the One Nation Under a Groove LP, two eight-minute sides that (aside from the dirty, chugging “Lunchmeataphobia”) offer a laid-back, introspective counterpoint to the LP as a whole. First, the lengthy, weepytime guitar-solo insanity of “Maggot Brain” gets revisited in a virtuosic live recording, serving, if nothing else, as a vinyl torch-passer to new-ish Funkadelic guitarist Michael Hampton. Then, after a few minutes of the half-baked “Lunchmeataphobia,” “P.E. Squad/Doo Doo Chasers,” otherwise a boring and unfunny poop joke, pops up as a truncated instrumental – a version that reveals what’s in fact a quite satisfying, slow acid-rock/blues moodpiece that had been obscured by excruciating lyrics on the album proper. Still, nothing here is in any way “revelatory” or exciting, and these songs have all found their proper home, in the CD era, as bonus tracks tacked onto the end of the program, where expectations will be appropriately lowered for newcomers… a standalone 7” EP suggests far more intrigue than this material can deliver.

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