1978, Music

Bootsy Player of the Year (1978) by Booty’s Rubber Band

If you’re like me, you sometimes find yourself reading the liner notes for a Parliament or Frunkadelic release and wondering “What exactly is it that George Clinton actually does?” He’s credited as a co-writer on all or most tracks, but he’s usually only one of numerous singers and is rarely credited with playing an instrument. You assume he’s like James Brown as a bandleader except that Brown actually is the star performer on his records, where George Clinton is just one of many (in the studio anyway).

Well, listening to this Bootsy Collins record, I think I have a better idea of what George Clinton does for Parliament=Funkadelic.
In addition to co-writing the music or lyrics or both to most or all their tracks, Clinton assembles a large group of musicians and presumably tells who to play what when, and whether they need to play it again. But that’s forgetting the other important role of a producer in music: quality control.

This record is like a Parliament or Funkadelic record (skewing far more to Parliament than Funkadelic) where everything was left in, and they were satisfied with what they had and didn’t go looking for more material. It needs an editor and I have to assume that, even though George Clinton is listed as co=producer here, he didn’t have the authority he has with Parliament-Funkadelic (or perhaps the motivation) and so the less stellar material and less virtuoso performances (Bootsy plays many of the instruments himself, in addition to his trademark bass) have at least something to do with the material. (I may have just imagined this, of course. After all, Clinton’s here and could be almost as much to blame as Bootsy.)

None of this is to say it’s bad, it’s just not up to the standard of the main bands. And Bootsy is such a great performer that a lot of the time you don’t really care that the whole thing feels like a Parliament rip off. He’s a uniquely goofy performer in a already goofy medium and he basically saves the record with his charisma.

I’d still rather listen to Funkadelic.


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