What you see on Funkadelic album covers is what the band is about: “The saber-tooth, slippery tongued & most nastic mau-mau bootybusters of noxious neegrow humpanotical, moldy metal, marching noise music.” These guys are no spring chickens — they’ve been playing psychedelic-tinged black music for almost eight years and were an early source of inspiration for Alice Cooper’s stage antics. While the group is on the teetering verge of becoming the Next Big Thing, they aren’t poseurs who strip off their costumes when the show is over and hobnob on Hollywood Squares.
It wouldn’t be fair not to say that some Funkadelic music is virtually unlistenable, representing head Funkadelic George Clinton’s worst self-indulgences. But the best of this stuff defies classification and is welcome relief from the second-rate Sly concoctions and cosmic pieties of other funk ensembles.
The title song is Funkadelic at its most excessive: almost 13 minutes of Moog rambling and a sticky mixture of jumbled voices, guitars and congas that sounds like a backing track from an old Night Gallery episode. The rest is better: “Butt-to-Buttresuscitation” is a howling funk opus, with some slick synthesizer flourishes from Bernie Worrell, while “Let’s Take It to the People” offers “If you ain’t gonna get it on/Take your dead ass home” as a sure replacement for “Shit goddamn/Get off your ass and jam” as a concert litany. Once again, Pedro Bell provides album cover graphics that decidedly are not the product of some classy research and design outfit.
This band is certainly not for everyone’s taste. But if you can stomach a simultaneous mixture of Blue Oyster Cult, James Brown and Sun Ra, Funkadelic is right up your alley.