Funkadelic, Let’s Take it to the Stage (1975)
To be completely honest with you, I don’t think there’s a single album I’ve listened to more in the last year than Funkadelic‘s 1975 seventh album, Let’s Take it to the Stage. The only real competition would be their sixth, 1974’s Standing on the Verge of Getting it On, but even that I don’t think has had the same replay factor as this one, which front to back is amazing in its go-anywhere-and-kick-ass sense of freedom. From the megahook of the opening “Good to Your Earhole” — “There’s a good time waiting for you/Come on let’s get free” — to the slammed drums of “Baby I Owe You Something Good” and the Bach-via-Bernie–Worrell keyboard solo that closes out on “Atmosphere,” not to mention Bootsy Collins‘ spot-on Jimi Hendrix impression on the innuendo-laden “Be My Beach,” the taught-Snoop–Dogg-to-sing “This Song is Familiar,” the frenetic pacing of “Better by the Pound,” Eddie Hazel‘s unreal guitar tone throughout, George Clinton himself the master of it all, grinning wide as he talks shit on James Brown, Sly Stone and Earth, Wind and Fire in the title-track and sets up dramatic vocal arrangements on cuts like “No Head, No Backstage Pass,” “Stuffs and Things” and the kick-you-in-the-ass side B opener “Get off Your Ass and Jam,” it is an unfuckwithable full-length stretch rife with groove, soul and good times. This album turns 40 this year and it’ll still race your ass around the track.
I’m a big nerd for Funkadelic‘s 1970 self-titled debut, and Free You Mind… and Your Ass Will Follow and Maggot Brain were worthy follow-ups — the latter of course boasts Eddie Hazel‘s defining moment in its nine-minute guitar solo opening title-track, probably the bravest opener I’ve ever heard considering the relatively lighthearted fare that follows — and while I’ve dug 1972’s America Eats its Young and 1973’s Cosmic Slop well enough, there’s a dip there until ’74, when Clinton won back the rights to use the name Parliament and used that band as a more commercial dance venture and set about gradually bringing the two sides together. Parliament‘s 1974 release, Up for the Down Stroke, is a party on a platter, and of course 1975’s Mothership Connection would become their defining hour, but at the same time, Funkadelic was digging into their best blend of psychedelic heavy rock and funked up groove. Standing on the Verge of Getting it On and Let’s Take it to the Stage are essential, and to think of them coinciding with what was also the peak of Clinton‘s work in Parliament — which also released the Washington D.C. tribute, Chocolate City, in ’75 — makes it even more of a landmark era for the two, soon-enough-to-be-one groups.
If you’ve heard it before, I hope you enjoy another runthrough. If not, I hope you dig in with an open mind.
Closing out the week early, yeah. Yesterday was The Patient Mrs.‘ birthday, so we’re going into Boston this afternoon to go to the Museum of Fine Art and look at paintings, because she’s an adult who cares about stuff like culture and art and politics and I’m a manchild who’s into riffs and Star Trek. Should be a good time, but if it seems like I’m in something of a hurry to get this done and head out, I am. Already getting the “let’s go already” stink-eye and would rather prolong the issue as little as possible.
Monday, a track premiere from Terminal Fuzz Terror, whose weirdo fuzz experimentalism is to be released by Robotic Empire, and Tuesday, one from Chiefs, whose riffs are mighty. Also reviews of Elder and Blut next week and maybe more but I’m not promising because I don’t like saying I’m going to do things and then not getting to them. If you want to know what’s next after Blut, it’s the Mansion LP. If that’s next week or the week after, I don’t know.
You may (probably didn’t but that’s cool) have noticed there are less posts on the frontpage. Down from 15 to eight. And the Facebook like button only appears at the top of posts now. If you haven’t noticed, click refresh. Anyway, it’s just an attempt to make the site load faster. Hope it works. Everything else is still there if you just click through to Next Page.
Alright, I’m off. Hope you have a great and safe weekend. I hear my area of Massachusetts is getting hit Saturday and Sunday with another foot of snow to go with the ungodly amount we’ve already received. If that actually happens, I might just spend all of Monday listening to Sólstafir and write about that, so we’ll see.
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