1970, Music

Funkadelic (1970)

If I had heard this 15 years ago I probably would have absolutely loved it. But my tolerance for directionless music has decreased over the years.

This is the first Parliament-Funkadelic record and it is therefore somewhat of a landmark record. This is particularly true if the bonus tracks by The Parliaments are anything to go by, as they sound like they are from another era entirely, not to mention from a completely different band. (At least in comparison to the opening track.) It’s incredible what exposure Hendrix, Sly Stone and drugs will do to you. (Presuming on the last one, obviously.)

But this is the first Funkadelic record that I’ve heard where the influences were so clearly on the sleeve. Specifically, “Mommy, What’s a Funkadelic” is the most wannabe Hendrix jam I think I’ve ever heard, minus Hazel’s guitar playing. (Thank science for Eddie Hazel, I’ll tell ya.) Clinton’s voice is distorted seemingly to actually recall “1983” in particular and some other spacey Hendrix tracks. It sounds like borderline plagiarism.

Fortunately the rest of the album is less clearly derivative of Hendrix but they sound a little bit like Sly and the Family Stone at times, particularly in the one song featuring The Parliaments. Those vocal arrangements sound an awful like the Family Stone. (But arguably also a bit like The Temptations so…)

I mean, it makes sense – Funkadelic had to come from somewhere,. But on their later albums they sound so distinctively like Funkadelic that I just assumed they always sounded this way and that I’d never really know how they came about. And I’m pretty surprised at how positive the reviews for this record considering how much it sounds like two other bands. I’m not saying its bad – it is still appealing in many ways – but it’s just not anywhere near as original as I imagined it would be.

Um, 7/10 I guess.

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