Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Funkin' Lesson: George Clinton, The Time, Kool and the Gang

George Clinton-Computer Games: 
You have the right to remain funky.

I know why I bought this. It's George Clinton. I also know why I didn't listen to it for so long. It's George Clinton solo, and not Parliament or Funkadelic. It's after the break-up, and what good could that be? Jesus Christ, I have to get out of my own head. Computer Games boasts most of the P-Funk personnel, it has "Atomic Dog," and it contains the boast "I could out-Porky a pig. I could out-Woody a pecker." It's great. Clinton was still on top of his game here, and this album is every bit as fun and eclectic as the rest of the P-Funk cannon. Dare I say "masterpiece?" Why not? I'm not accountable to anybody. It's a masterpiece of electro-funk, a party classic. I'm keeping this one for sure, but it needs a deep cleaning. 

The Time-The Time:
Minneapolis circa 1982
Predating Computer Games by one year was The Time's eponymous  debut. I've always liked The Time. Ice Cream Castles was on heavy rotation along with Prince's Around The World In A Day in the basement of my 8th grade friend John Coopey's mom's framing shop/dad's portrait studio (John's dad, Lou, had taken my class picture from 1st grade through freshman year of high school and had once taken Lorne Greene's portrait). Later in life, when I DJed with my friend Chris (we were DJs Aperitif and Digestif, aka The Cordial Squad), we'd both play funk. He'd veer more toward New Orleans and deep funk. I would go toward the electro-funk of The Time and Sly Fox. This album is tasty, in part because—according to Wikipedia—Prince recorded everything but the vocals, but also because this was before Morris Day became the character of Morris Day, and his vocals are more strut than swagger. It's a solid keep, duh, as are all of The Time's albums.

Kool and the Gang-Ladies' Night:
Sexy lady/Sophisticated baby

For most of my blog posts, including this new round, I listen to the albums once, maybe twice, before I write about them. Maybe it's not a charitable way to write about music, but I have a realistic grasp of my attention span. But Ladies' Night (kudos to Kool's copy editor for the proper placement of the possessive apostrophe) has taken me several listens to form an opinion on. I feel like I should like this, I mean really really feel like I should like it because I like the song "Ladies' Night." I mean, I kind of like it. It's hard to be passionate about it. Though I agree with the general message of ladies the song is promoting, it's not terribly sexy. Or funky. The whole album is a tepid collection of songs about boogieing and dancin' without activating the rump to do so. It's not really fair to lump this album in with two funk greats, since it's actually disco from the tail end of the disco era. I'd probably go see them live and have  great time, but I'll be damned if I can remember one hook besides from the title track. Sorry ladies. This goes.


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