This week, we will review a monster of black psychedelic rock, born out of the genius mind of George Clinton.
Funkadelic – “Maggot Brain“ – 1971
For those who like easy genre categorisation in music, they may feel a bit dizzy when following George Clinton‘s life. Originally from the East Coast, he went West to Detroit, hoping his vocal group The Parliaments would be signed on the prestigious Tamla Motown label. Berry Gordy’s decision of refusing to do so may had appeared a tough one at the time but would eventually lead to music’s gain. It would not be too strong to say that George Clinton invented a style with his so-called P-funk ensembles, influencing tens of major artists, amongst them Prince or again the Red Hot Chili Peppers. With Parliament, George Clinton was more on the funky music side while his late solo career could also be associated with this genre. However, to me, he was at the top of his game with Funkadelic.
“Maggot Brain” is their third LP and could probably be considered as their masterpiece. What are we talking about here? Well, not sure really as through its seven tracks, this album will take you through funky jams, psychedelic rock and soul music with sometimes a pinch of folk. All seven numbers are real classics with a specific mention to opener ‘Maggot Brain‘ or final track ‘Wars Of Armageddon‘ which are both very long instrumentals. As often with P-funk, there is no real lead singer or easy style to define as the point was to leave it to everyone involved to bring their skills. The musicianship is extraordinary with specific mention to keyboards & synths player Bernie Worrell (who would later collaborate with Talking Heads) and guitarist Eddie Hazel. The latter is the real star of this record for me and his solo on ‘Maggot Brain‘ is considered by some as the best ever played. The legend is that both him and Clinton were pretty high that day and that he was instructed by his boss to play his solo ”…as if his momma just died…’.
Format: CD Bought in: 2010 To be noted: ”Maggot Brain” has recently been ranked #136 in Rolling Stones magazine recent 500 best ever albums poll. Rating: 9/10