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I have been an admirer of Funkadelic for a few years now and hadn't really known too much about them and become a big fan of them until the last three or four years. I had remembered seeing their music in various documentaries about music in the 70s but until more recently I hadn't taken the time to delve deeper than their main singles. Funkadelic and their sister band Parliament were known for their lineup changes almost as much as they were known for eclectic funk and soul. I have already reviewed their album "Maggot Brain" which I love and here is my review of "Cosmic Slop"
This is the fifth studio release from Funkadelic and although it wasn't a commercial success at the time it has been critically acclaimed. As usual the vocal duties were shared and as a result several songs were sung by either Garry Shider or George Clinton. "Cosmic Slop" was released 9th July 1973 having been recorded in Detroit and Toronto. The album was produced by George Clinton.
Bernard Worrell: Keyboards & Melodica, Strings on 'Broken Heart'
"Boogie" Mosson: Bass Guitar
Tyrone Lampkin: Percussion
Gary Shider: Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Ron Bykowski: Lead & Rhythm Guitar
1.) Nappy Dugout
This is a slang term for the vagina, although I had never previously heard it called that. This is a slice of Funk with some punchy percussion and some Hendrix like guitar waahs. As the opener of the album, this track really gets things going with a vibrant near instrumental piece which showcases the musicianship of the band. This track gets things off to a great start but there's a lot more to come.
2.) You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure
Interestingly the vocals are shared by George Clinton, Ray Davis & Garry Shider. This is a catchy track which tells of a man who's partner has left him for someone and he cries all day. The best vocals on the track come from Garry Shider and the music is catchy and is a reworking of the 1965 Parliaments single "Heart Trouble". It does a decent job and makes for a decent addition.
3.) March To The Witches Castle
This track was sung or spoken by George Clinton in his distinctive style. This is a wonderfully performed track with some lovely guitar work and punchy drums. The track is a Political one which deals with the disdain for the Vietnam War and speaks about a meeting of veterans with President Nixon. The track deals with the soldiers coming home with heroin addictions which they develops due to what they saw and to get them through things. It's a really excellent track which showcases some superb musicianship and also sounds wonderful in terms of the recording.
4.) Let's make it last
This is a vibrant and up tempo track which shows the superb musicianship of the band. It involves elements of Funk, Soul and Rock to create a signature sound. Garry Shider is the vocalist on this one as he sings about wanting to make a relationship last rather than having another fling. His guitar work is excellent and there's plenty of it on show and there is also some superb musicianship from the rest of the band too.
5.) Cosmic Slop
This is one of my favourite songs from Funkadelic, The song is about an impoverished mother with five children who has resorted to prostitution in order to support her family. It opens with some percussion and a screaming guitar but soon erupts into one of the most incredibly catchy tracks you will ever hear. The rhythm section is absolutely superb and really gets in your head due to it's relentlessness. The vocals have a Curtis Mayfield style about them and the backing vocals combine well. Garry Shider & Ron Bykowski are the guitarists on the track and they both do a fantastic job with their licks, hooks and solos. Superb stuff. Vocals are from Garry Shider. It's one of those tracks that you just want to listen to again & again.
6.) No compute
This track serves as a real twist compared to the rest of the album, It's a soulful ballad with some chirpy country style tones and licks. George Clinton provides lead vocals here and his relaxed delivery is done well. This is a typically quirky Clinton track which has a sexual tone to it. The track has a decent sound and is performed well by the band. It works well.
7.) This Broken heart
This is one of the most touching tracks on the album. Ben Edwards provided lead vocals on the track which is a cover of a song from The Sonics. The song is about proclaiming your love for someone and asking them whether they feel the same. It shows a different side to the band but still the Musicianship shines through with some excellent guitar solos from Shider and Bykowski. A very good ballad which may surprise casual listeners of Funkadelic.
8.) Trash A Go - Go
This is another extremely dynamic track with an up tempo feel and some of the catchiest melodies you are likely to hear. The track is about a man who goes on trial for being a pimp for his Girlfriend. There are some great guitar melodies on show that combine so well with the funky bass lines and crashing drums. This is one of the most impressive tracks on the album in terms of musicianship but it doesn't quite hold a candle against the top 2 from the album.
9.) Can't stand The Strain
The lead vocals come from Garry Shider and are backed up, This track is about when you suspect your partner of cheating on you and begging them to not leave you because of how much you love them and how you would feel if they left. There are plenty of great vocal moments from Shider here and the female backing vocals are a nice addition. This is an impressive track which again shows a different, more soulful sound to the band. Good stuff.
10.) Cosmic Slop (45 edit)
This is of course the single edit of Cosmic Slop and although it doesn't have the power and extended brilliance of the full length song it provides a superb example of the quality of the track and hints at what is to come from the album.
This is the second Funkadelic album in my collection after "Maggot Brain" and it really is a superb piece of work. The musicianship is still superb despite the absence of guitar genius Eddie Hazel who is replaced superbly with Garry Shider and Ron Bykowski. The best songs on the album are amongst the best material from the 1970s and for me anyway of all time. The recording quality stands up extremely well for the period and is one of the things that makes the album so good. Cosmic Slop is a brilliant album that deserves it's place in the Funkadelic Discography. I will definitely add to my collection with a couple more Funkadelic albums but I doubt too many would touch Cosmic Slop.
In summer 1973 came the fifth album from the George Clinton-led Funk band Funkadelic. "Cosmic Slop" finds the band, which would perform as Parliament the following year, after a four year gap as they returned back to their more soulful side after having dropped so many Rock-based jams as Funkadelic. It is the second album where Billy Bass Nelson is replaced, however unlike on "America Eats Its Young", the bass comes courtesy of Boogie Mosson (rather than Bootsy Collins), but still gets the likes of Tiki Fulwood, Garry Shider and Bernie Worrell taking part.
1. "Nappy Dugout"
The album gets going in a typical fashion for the group as they lay out a killer tune, in which you find that everything is led by a groovy bass riff, and from here everything seems to fall into place as by this point along the way, it appears that they have discovered the direction that Funk would play out for the rest of the seventies and they have moved on from the experimental material to come out with something big.
2. "You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure"
This one is said to be a reworking of a mid-sixties track form the band (as The Parliaments and it has them coming out with a very well-written recording where they come out with a bluesy tune, which doesn't really make much sense as they dance-paced tempo means that it is completely unlike what you would expect to get form it, but I felt tha tin spite of this, the Ray Davis, Garry Shider and George Clinton vocals mean that you have to ignore this.
3. "March To The Witch's Castle"
On this one the band go wholeheartedly into some political material here to let everyone know exactly how they feel about the Vietnam War by way of having Clinton sing about a soldier, returning form war, suddenly coming to the realisation that he doesn't have a clue why he is fighting, and s as his family life deteriorates, he must work out exactly what his role is. It is a cold one and I felt that it did a lot for it.
4. "Let's Make It Last"
On this one the funky groove return so that the mood is lifted and I felt that, although it came at a time that didn't really sound right, this on was a strong one within the album as you find that Garry Shider's raw vocals push the band along as they get down to things and he sings of how, at this stage in his life, he is looking for a long-term relationship and no more of the brief flings. It is a fun one and holds things together.
5. "Cosmic Slop"
The titular track from the album is one of the most popular of these early seventies songs from Funkadelic and so it really stands out too as they get into one where they power through with a thought-provoking one where you find that Garry Shider takes cares of lead vocals and sings of a woman who has turned to prostitution to support her children as the band (including Eddie Hazel for just a cameo) you have them trying out some Metal-styled stuff.
6. "No Compute"
This Country Funk tune takes you back to the debut the band made as Parliament, but has them do things in quite a different manner as it concentrates everything around George Clinton speaking over the composition of awaking from a wet dream and subsequently looking for whatever girl he can get a hold of (but it doesn't go the way things planned). It isn't the best, but a nice break to give you a chance to just relax.
7. "This Broken Heart"
On this one you find that the band return to their roots in Doo-Wop by having them cover a song by The Sonics. It is a soulful one and gets Calvin Simon on the lead vocals as they show that they are bringing some diversity to this album by coming out with a tune such as this one. However I felt that this one didn't really do that much for the album as the vocals aren't really that impressive and the band play in a rather straight-forward manner.
8. "Trash A-Go-Go"
Suddenly things take another turn as they bring back the Funk that came of the opening song, and I felt that it was a great way to get the listeners livened up for their music as they pull things back towards the way that became the most popular style to a great effect as they bring the energy by injecting more Rock into the mix and coming out with a tune that most would be able to resist getting down to.
9. "Can't Stand The Strain"
The album ends on another song which has its own story and I felt that it was another nice inclusion to the album and one that brings it to a close in a relevant manner as they calm things down, but still find it within them t lay down a tune which brings through the sorts of things that came with the recording prior to it. It is a fun tune and hits hard as a final powerful, yet reserved song to show their potential.
This is a strong album for the band and one which has them showing that they have finally found what they were looking for in all the album which led up to this point, but still they didn't stick to just the most lively things and instead they played around with it and showed that they were still going to experiment (through Metal and Doo-Wop) to come up with a well-rounded record.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 NAPPY DUGOUT
2 YOU CAN?T MISS WHAT YOU CAN?T MEASURE
3 MARCH TO THE WITCHES CASTLE
4 LET?S MAKE IT LAST
5 COSMIC SLOP
6 NO COMPUTE
7 THIS BROKEN HEART
8 TRASH A GO - GO
9 CANT STAND THE STRAIN
10 COSMIC SLOP (45 Edit)