Saturday, February 9, 2008

Funkadelic - Live: Meadowbrook, Rochester, Michigan 12th September 1971

Not released until 1996, this was an unusual gig for the band, which was breaking in a new rhythm section (this may have been this lineup's first show) without much or any rehearsal. You can't tell from this 77-minute disc, which offers a typically amorphous, free-floating set of black rock -- which is to say, judged by most standards, it's not typical music at all. Seguing from spaced-out jams to occasional numbers with vocals by George Clinton, and throwing in imaginative improvisations by guitarist Eddie Hazel and keyboardist Bernie Worrell, it sounds something like a combination of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and Sun Ra. The 14-minute "Maggot Brain" verges on prog rock/psychedelia (in the good sense), with its almost mystical guitar lines; earthier pleasures are offered with cuts like "I Call My Baby Pussycat" (two versions). The fidelity is pretty good, though the vocals lack the presence of the instruments. Funkadelic are still shown to their best advantage on their studio recordings of the era, but this is certainly a fascinating find for fans, augmented by detailed liner notes about the gig by Rob Bowman. --AMG, Richie Unterberger

1. Alice In My Fantasies
2. Maggot Brain
3. I Call My Baby Pussycat (Fast Version)
4. I Call My Baby Pussycat
5. Good Ole Music
6. I Got A Thing, You Got A Thing, Everybody Got A Thing
7. All Your Goodies Are Gone (The Loser's Seat)
8. I'll Bet You
9. You & Your Folks, Me & My Folks
10. Free Your Mind & Your Ass Will Follow (Instrumental)

Fuzzy Haskins, George Clinton , Grady Thomas, Ray Davis, Calvin Simon (vocals); Eddie Hazel , Harold Beane (guitar); Bernie Worrell (organ, keyboards); Billy Bass Nelson (bass guitar); Tyrone Lampkin (drums).