Funkadelic, ‘First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate’
The last time Funkadelic released a new record, MTV was broadcasting its first videos during the Reagan presidency. Now, 33 years later, George Clinton and crew’s massive three-disc, 33-track, three-plus-hour set of virtually all new material should satiate, and, perhaps, exhaust funk fans. Like the band’s live show, the set is alternately brain-rattling, delightfully strange, musically adept, and indulgent.
Funkadelic has always been one of the great groove jam bands, and fans of today’s ADD pop could send a year’s worth of sexts during expansive (overlong?) workouts like “Snot n’ Booger” and giddy “Roller Rink.” It’s inevitable that some songs clank like a short three-point shot, but the hit-to-miss ratio is high. And while Funkadelic remains true to a core creative concept of having the profane, silly, trippy, and sociopolitical join hands in the land of the good groove, Clinton updates the production and arrangements. Since so much hip-hop has been built on Funkadelic riffs, some tracks are logically informed by the genre (“Creases,” “Old Man”).
Old-school thrills abound, though, with a slippery “Catchin’ Boogie Fever,” soaring cover of soul chestnut “Bernadette,” and “Yesterdejavu,” which features Michael Hampton’s sublime, subversive guitarwork. Even gravel-voiced Sly Stone shows up, for the grimy “The Naz.” Judicious pruning would have been welcome, but it’s impossible to complain about a jollies overload, especially with so much virtuosity on display. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “The Naz”