Friday, July 29, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 234 - Funkadelic - Hardcore Jollies

By: March

Album – Hardcore Jollies
Artist - Funkadelic
Key Players – Jerome Brailey – drums. Boogie Mosson and Bootsy Collins – bass. Bernie Worrell – keyboards. Garry Shider and Glen Goins – guitar. Eddie Hazel and Michael Hampton – lead guitars. George Clinton – lead vocals. Ray Davis, Fuzzy Haskins, Grady Thomas, Calvin Simon, Garry Shider, Glen Goins – vocals.

Produced By – George Clinton

Release Date – October 29, 1976

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I've always been curious about this band. You hear them always acknowledged as influences so I took it upon myself to get some of the records from this time. For some reason I forget I have these records but when I listen I love them. There is something wrong with this picture.

Overview – This is the ninth studio album by the funk legends. This was their first on a major label as well. The band would change some after this release. The band had released an album just a month earlier and after this it was the last “Parliament/Funkadelic” album in which three of their members would appear. Funkadelic was actually the backing band for Clinton’s Parliament project. The band would try to keep both rolling for some time with each having its own unique focus on soul, funk or rock.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The forty minute, eight song album starts off with “Comin' Round the Mountain”. The bass has a particular swirl to it as the guitars bounce off the bass line. You always get a chime guitar that brings out bright riffs. Brailey give the hi-hat much love as the band finds the groove and locks it down. There are a series of vocalists singing, not one clear vocal leader as indicated in the cast of performers. As the chorus approaches the band finds a deep groove and the wah wah guitar has a sloppy in a good way sound. The guitars work to burst out, but the band keeps it all tight. The first good solo comes off around 2:45 after a vocals interlude and it is just the right length, not taking away from the bass and drum line. Brailey fires off on the ride cymbal as Hampton takes a strong lead for the duration, a great guitar solo. The solo ends and the band plays a little tag off one another for a few bars before it fades out. The drums roll across the kit and a reggae feeling track “Smokey” begins. The tempo is a lot slower and the bass finds a nice deep place and rumbles underneath as the guitars and vocals are more playful over the top. There is no clear cut lead vocalist again as there will be one voice over a few others, all singing the same line. It is not really harmonies in so much as giving you that big full vocal feel. Worrell has some fun on the keyboards bending pitches and keeping the vibe focused a little more to the reggae feel. The end of the track breaks down with a little less focus and seems a bit scattered as Worrell does fills over the vocals. A hard stop might have worked better. Try not to sit still as “If you got the Funk, You Got Style” starts. Once again, the bass, drum and keyboard give that great bottom feel as a lone guitar pops a few notes. The percussive instruments play off the line of various vocalists. The music pattern of the song is consistent, but the band works in the percussive and various back beat, tempo changes to their benefit. The song feels a little scattered at times, but tight at others. The bass from Bootsy is kept in check sadly. Worrell gets the keyboards locked in as Hampton starts up his guitar and “Hardcore Jollies” takes off. The guitar is slightly compressed but each note stands on its own. The intro solo lays it down before the bass comes in and it is off to the races. This is an instrumental track that just lays it all down. Each member keeps on task when not soloing but Hampton is the focus and it just slays. “Soul Mate” is such a change from the prior track. A lone lead vocal portion with, what feels like, just a bass, guitar and drums. It is about as straight forward a song as any you'd hear. Not a bad track, but feels almost boring by the rest of the album standards. “Cosmic Slop” follows. This is a live re-make of the 1973 song from the Funkadelic album of the same name. This was recorded during a rehearsal for the 1976 tour. Hampton has the lead and is just off the charts. Worrell lays the ground work on the keyboard with Brailey locking in on a tight beat. Hampton is going to let this run though, he is not being held back and for a rehearsal he just lays it all out there. After about 1:30 the vocals come in but the melody put out by Worrell and Brailey remain constant. The vocals seem a bit off, but since it is a rehearsal that is to be expected. The verse runs, then Hampton gets to unload again. The payoff is great. “You Scared the Lovin' Outta Me” is a slower track with a fuzzy guitar into. The vocals are a little slower and the band seems to find comfort in a laid back approach with no vocals, or instruments really breaking out. The album concludes with “Adolescent Funk” a track that is heavy on the longer keyboard work from Worrell. The keyboard is the focus here with a splash of guitar and then the vocals come in, but really this is showcase for Worrell. He doesn't go way out there, hey gets somewhat creative, but doesn't take it anywhere that feels over done.

Where are they now? - Due to legal issues Clinton dissolved the band in 1981. Clinton still tours both as a solo artist as well as with the “P-Funk All Stars”. Their last album was a collection of outtakes and demos released in 2008.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have seen George Clinton live one time, but it was not billed as a Parliament/Funkadelic show. It was a Lollapalosa set on August 3, 1994 set. I don't recall a lot about it though. He played a mid/day set and I was probably walking around some checking out booths and the like. I'd like to go again.

FDF Overall Take – There are some really great moments on this record. Some of the reviews were not the strongest, but if you are looking to explore the band this is a good record to start with. You get some very cool bass and even better guitar. Easy to hear how this band influenced so many others. You can find some of these records for cheap money, and you'd be happy you grabbed one, of not some.

Decent Wiki article on the band

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Audio via Youtube for the track Hardcore Jollies

A slower version *but wow oh wow* version of "Cosmic Slop"

Here is a ripping RIPPING live version..please watch..seriously.

The album is still in print, you can get it here.


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