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

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Muffins - Chronometers – A strange release at first glance. One CD, 70 plus minutes, 21 tracks, one track is 23 minutes long. Hmmm. This is a compilation of outtakes and general weirdness from 1975. The Muffins are often...  (1993) » Read more

The Insect Trust - The Insect Trust – This late-60s quintet from NYC epitomized the broad sense of musical experimentation of the era, pulling incongruent forms together, and through a combination of optimism and naiveté, managing...  (2001) » Read more

Wind - Morning – Somewhere between their debut, Seasons, and this album, Wind seem to have gone through an abrupt and drastic personality change. That album was quintessential German heavy rock with an unrestrained,...  (1995) » Read more

Garrett List - The New York Takes – You may be aware of Carbon 7 for their new Present release (No. 6), Cro-Magnon, and a few others. But with Garrett List we and they step into a different dimension altogether. The New York Takes is...  (2000) » Read more

Dou Wei & Buyiyang - Zaochun de Yusan (Early Spring Umbrella) & Ru Qiu (Entering Autumn) – Chinese multi-instrumentalist / singer / composer Dou Wei first came to public notice as a member of Heibao (Black Panther), one of the country’s earliest prominent rock bands, back in the early...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues