This is one of those Funkadelic albums where the line between them and Parliament is blurred and that’s not something I can I say I love. Because of its title, I thought it was a live record and almost skipped over it.
That’s not exactly fair – this definitely still has a strong Funkadelic vibe. It’s just it sometimes feels to me like the things I like most about Funkadelic are being sacrificed on albums like this for things I like less, and those are things I associate with Parliament whether or not that’s fair. But it’s funny because a lot of people call this their most accessible record, or what have you and to me, I guess that’s a little bit of why it doesn’t grab me like some of their albums do.
There’s still plenty of stuff to like, though including some good riffs and solos, and plenty of funk. The goofiness is something I can only take in small doses – at this stage of my life I cannot imagine digesting their catologue in one go as I would get so tired of it – but I still enjoy the underlying music enough to get over the goofiness for the most part.
But I think the thing that I take away most from this record is how great it sounds all these years later, with all these damn singers and instruments.
Though I often find the band too unfocused for my liking – which is their appeal for many, I know – Clinton’s ability to capture the mania clearly is something I’m not sure I’ve always given him enough credit for. These are dense recordings but they don’t have that murk that many dense ’70s recordings do. They manage feel lean – a pretty essential quality for funk – despite the sheer number of things happening on each track.
And so even though this one isn’t moving me like some Funkadelic albums do, I still feel like it’s a decent example of what they do, in part because of how great the sound of it is.