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BBC – Music – Review of Funkadelic

Written by on October 13, 2020

Funkadelic’s 10th album and their commercial breakthrough, One Nation Under a Groove was the starting point for many British listeners.

An underground delicacy stateside since 1970, the group had yet to enjoy much popularity in the UK. But by 78, the Funkadelic part of leader George Clinton’s P-Funk mothership had travelled from being an acid-drenched funk-rock ensemble to something resembling Parliament, their hit-generating sister band.

One Nation Under a Groove immediately welcomed new listeners inside Clinton’s parallel universe, with all of his ideas, mythology and strangely monikered players. For example, Bootsy Collins is one of the ‘Bass Thumpasaurians’ on the album, and Bernie ‘DaVinci’ Worrell and Walter ‘Junie’ Morrison were ‘Keybo’ Dans & Synthezoidees’.

When Clinton conceived the album’s title track – from a girlfriend’s comment when he was making a film outside the United Nations – it gave the whole P-Funk enterprise one of their biggest hits and an overall mission statement for Clinton’s wild vision.

The track is arguably Clinton’s greatest popular moment: supple, lithe and funky, it evoked soul past and present and had a chorus to die for. With its blend of Funkadelic Blamgusta Vocaloids (Voices For Da Nation!) – Clinton, Morrison and Garry Shider – the single was number one on the US R&B chart for six weeks.

The track also reached a respectable nine in Britain, too. It was to be P-Funk’s only foray into the UK charts, although Clinton was later to enjoy some solo success. One Nation… was (is!) rich on stomping, repetitive grooves, Who Says a Funk Band Can’t Play Rock doing exactly what its title suggests.

The album initially came with a free single that showed that the band hadn’t lost sight of their original far-out remit. It featured a live version of their 1971 standard Maggot Brain, featuring Mike ‘Kidd Funkadelic’ Hampton’s searing guitar work, playing former member Eddie Hazel’s solo perfectly.

One Nation Under a Groove as a whole may not represent P-Funk’s greatest work, but it is certainly very memorable, and acts as a perfect introduction to George Clinton’s freaky, funk-drenched alternative reality.

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