Funkadelic – 1970 – Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow
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OUT OF SIGHT!!! If you were to look up “acid funk-rock” in a music dictionary, it’s very likely you’ll see this album cover along side the definition which would be along the lines of “sonic outputs begotten by an ensemble under the influence of some hallucinogenic drug(s) consisting of outer galactic distorted effects and vocals (spoken and sung) atop a funky spacey groove that will possess you and take you for the ride of your life”.
This album epitomizes the aforementioned, thoroughly. The title track is 10 minutes of mind bending madness that features the insane guitar work of Eddie Hazel amidst a bi-rage of extra terrestrial sounds that are not for fans of the “mainstream”.
“Friday Night, August 14th” includes one of my all time favorite guitar solos courtesy of Mr. Hazel a top yet another riveting groove. “Funky Dollar Bill“, “I Wanna Know If It’s Good To You“, and “Some More” are also feral and heavy funk numbers of a psychedelic nature that require top volume as well.
“Eulogy And Light” is what I would label as an “acid sermon” delivered by none other than Father George Clinton against backward tape and other aural mayhem. I too wish this was longer for this is only one of three albums that this particular lineup generated.
This shit is fuckin’ amazing……period.
A1 Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow 10:00
A2 Friday Night, August 14th 5:20
B1 Funky Dollar Bill 3:14
B2 I Wanna Know If It’s Good to You 5:54
B3 Some More 2:55
B4 Eulogy and Light 3:29
If one were to categorize the music on this warped disc, it would be ‘punk funk’. The Motown session players have gone; this is entirely a Funkadelic affair, and a particularly nasty one at that.
Legend has it Overlord George Clinton decided to record an album in one day with the entire group spacing out on acid. Hearing the psyched-out, warbled, muddy, sinister music that makes up this irreverent slab of funk rock, legend may well be fact.
“Free Your Mind… and Your Ass Will Follow” is a 10+ minute brain melting jam sounding like nightmarish Hendrixian guitar excursions set to doom laden bass and drums; a slow grinding groove that, at the 5 minute mark, suddenly goes into double time, as Bernie Worrell provides those now classic electrified stabs on organ to deliver the leit motif of the whole thing. All throughout, George and Fuzzy Haskins moan, rap, cry and wail about ‘the kingdom of heaven’ being ‘within’ and that the only way to flee the confusion of modern day society is to do what the title of the album suggests. Effortlessly, it then segues into the hard rocker “Friday, August the 14th.“, presumably a reference to the Watts Riots, another showcase for Hazel’s wah wah wizardry. Check out the filthy drum solo courtesy of Tiki Fulwood, as well.
Rhythm guitarist Tawl Ross, who had started out as Billy’s replacement on bass, takes lead vocal duty on the sarcastic “Funky Dollar Bill“, a raw, mid-tempo funk rocker drenched in Hazel’s fluid, distorted guitar riffs and topped off with some of Bernie’s zaniest piano workouts.
That this is indeed a Funkadelic affair is further accentuated by the fact that aside Tawl, Eddie and Billy also go for theirs, providing the vocals for the vicious funker “I Wanna Know If It’s Good to You, Baby“. Kicked off by one of Tiki’s classic rolls, this rhythmic beast carries a beat pulsating like a vein on the brink of popping. It’s raw, it’s loose, it’s gooood. The instrumental outro, released as the flip for the single, features Hazel at his finest once more, especially when he starts sparring with Bernie’s keyboard fills and Tiki bangs away on the cowbell.
With “Some More“, this putrid LP only further descends into madness, as George takes an old song he wrote for Revilot, “Headache In My Heart” and renders it into a strange, bouncy, psychedelic blues from the delta… of Mars.
Concluding this warped disc is “Eulogy & Light“, which is “Open Our Eyes” played backwards. Deep-bassed vocalist Ray Davis delivers a damning statement on the power and evil of Mamon-worship, using religious imagery, updating it and acting like a righteous ghetto prophet, rebuking the pimps that dwell within Mother Earth’s armpits: the back streets.
A terrifying, searing, dark masterpiece of relentless, foul smelling rock and funk.