An unusual and unique choice today, as we enter the mind and world of George Clinton. His band “Funkadelic” released the psychedelic-funk blend album “Maggot Brain” in 1971. This interesting album is the #10 rated album on digitaldreamdoor.com’s Top 10 Funk Albums of All Time. It was definitely a challenging and complicated listen, but one that has grown on me with each listen.
My first reaction to this album was that it was too much psychedelic, and not enough funk. After listening multiple times, I find that description applies primarily to the first and last song. The title track, “Maggot Brain”, and the closing track, “Wars of Armageddon” are each roughly 10 minutes in length. Despite some pretty intense guitar on each, particularly on “Maggot Brain”, by Eddie Hazel, both of these songs strike me a bit like a Pink Floyd song that missed the mark.
On a more positive note, I really like the five remaining songs in between. In particular, I really love “Can You Get That”, an upbeat song dripping with deep bass funk vocals and high harmony vocals. The next song, “Hit and Quit It” is also super-heavy on the funk, along with “You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks” I’m not quite as high on “Super Stupid” or “Back In Our Minds”, but both lay down more funk grooves, all of which are just good for the soul.
This song feels a bit like Sly and the Family Stone on steroids, but as noted, I really enjoyed most of this album and even appreciate the musicality on the songs that didn’t pull me in as much. George Clinton and Funkadelic are a one-of-a-kind sound, and an important cog in the funk machine of modern music.