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Funkadelic Live: Meadowbrook, Rochester, Michigan 12th September 1971 is a 1996 live release featuring the only official in-concert recording from early in the career of Funkadelic. Westbound Records owner Armen Boladian had decided to record the show without the band's prior notice, for a possible official live album release. Boladian then decided not to go forward with the project. The soundboard recording resided with engineer Ed Wolfram until being unearthed in 1996. The album contains the entire live performance of September 12, 1971 minus approximately three minutes of between-song chatter.
In late 1971, George Clinton was still structuring Funkadelic as the live band supporting his concurrent doo wop vocal group Parliament, even though by that point multiple albums had been released under both names. As was common for concerts during the period, the Funkadelic musicians would warm up the crowd with instrumentals, after which the Parliament singers would take to the stage for the vocal numbers. The concert would end in a similar fashion, with the Parliament singers exiting slightly before the end of the show, with the Funkadelic musicians closing with another instrumental.
At the show recorded for this album, the band opened with two extended instrumentals totaling about 20 minutes: the then-untitled "Alice in My Fantasies" (to be later recorded with vocals on the 1974 Funkadelic album Standing on the Verge of Getting It On) and "Maggot Brain." The closing instrumental consisted of a short portion of "Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow." The vocal tracks were taken from the albums Funkadelic and Maggot Brain with the exception of two tracks that had been recorded originally as singles by Parliament: "I Call My Baby Pussycat" (later retooled for the 1972 Funkadelic album America Eats Its Young) and "All Your Goodies Are Gone (The Loser's Seat)" (later retooled for the 1974 Parliament album Up for the Down Stroke). There was no encore.
This concert was beset by personnel issues. Guitarist Tawl Ross had recently dropped out of the band due to a damaging experience with LSD and was replaced right before the show by former Isaac Hayes sideman Harold Beane. Original drummer Tiki Fulwood had also departed right before this show to explore other musical opportunities, and was replaced by former Apollo Theater house drummer Tyrone Lampkin.
Sources indicate that Beane and Lampkin had rehearsed either very little or not at all before this performance. This resulted in many musical difficulties, particularly because of the differences in drumming styles between Lampkin and Fulwood, which in turn created many difficulties for bassist Billy Bass Nelson. These problems resulted in an inadvertent breakdown during the performance of "I Call My Baby Pussycat," while Nelson stormed off the stage in frustration before the conclusion of "Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow." Nelson and lead guitarist Eddie Hazel left the group about a month after this concert.
This is a truly amazing, amazing look at Funkadelic in the early part of their career. The disc includes extensive, exhaustive liner notes from Rob Bowman, who also did the fantastic liner notes to the 2CD Music For Your Mother set. In addition to going over each track in detail, he also includes quotes from Bernie, Billy Bass and the engineer who recorded the session. He also goes into extensive detail into how and why the session was recorded.
The show was taped when Armen Boladian, the Westbound owner, wanted a live recording of the band, possibly for release. So he sent an engineer over one night, unbeknownst to the band until the time of the show. Boladian wasn't that impressed with the results and shelved the project, where it sat with the engineer for 20+ years.
Basically, this was probably the worst night possible to record the band. Drummer Tiki Fulwood had just quit the week before, and rhythm guitarist Tawl Ross had also departed around that time. So Harold Beane and Ty Lampkin were brought in to play, **with no rehearsal**, for this gig! Both ended up staying with the group, with Lampkin playing a major role for years to come. (He dominates the Cosmic Slop album, to name just one) However, on this particular night, he had severe problems fitting in.
Keeping all this in mind, it's still one of the most astounding live performances I've ever heard, a testament to the improvisational abilities of everyone. The sound quality is CRYSTAL CLEAR, putting the remarkable Sugar Shack '72 show to shame. Harold Beane does a good job at rhythm, really doing some nice chicken-scratch style guitarwork. Bernie does some incredible things, moving around the edges of some songs, adding flavor, and then moving right into the middle of other, laying down a mind-blowing solo.
The show is virtually complete, with only a few minutes shaved off. The only really bad track is the fast version of "Pussy" where Ty is completely out of control. George just stops it in mid-flight, where they go into the slow version. The slow version is a nas-tay highlight. The (at that time untitled) vesion of "Alice In My Fantasies" is a thunderbolt of hardcore, screaming funk-rock.
The epic version of "All Your Goodies Are Gone" is the Parlia funkadelic ment Thang at its best, with gospel-tinged vocals being swept up into nasty breakdowns, then back to the singing. Calvin truly stands out here, but the interplay between the vocalists is almost as remarkable as the interplay between the musicians. The last few songs blend together, going straight from one to the next with no break.
♦ Parliament (George Clinton, Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, Grady Thomas, Ray Davis): Vocals
♦ Eddie Hazel: Lead Guitar, Vocals
♦ Billy Bass Nelson: Bass, Vocals
♦ Bernie Worrell: Keyboards, Vocals
♦ Harold Beane: Guitar
♦ Tyrone Lampkin: Drums
01. Alice in My Fantasies - (George Clinton
02. Maggot Brain - (Eddie Hazel, George Clinton) - 14:02
03. I Call My Baby Pussycat [fast version] - (Billy "Bass" Nelson, George Clinton, Eddie Hazel) - 5:38
04. I Call My Baby Pussycat - (Billy "Bass" Nelson, George Clinton, Eddie Hazel) - 8:08
05. Good Old Music - (George Clinton) - 4:31
06. I Got a Thing, You Got a Thing, Everybody Got a Thing - (Clarence "Fuzzy" Haskins) - 8:38
07. All Your Goodies Are Gone (The Loser's Seat) - (George Clinton, Clarence "Fuzzy" Haskins, Billy "Bass" Nelson) - 15:08
08. I'll Bet You - (George Clinton, Sidney Barnes, Pat Lindsey) - 5:25
09. You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks - (George Clinton, Bernie Worrell, Billy "Bass" Nelson, Clarence "Fuzzy" Haskins) - 5:28
10. Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow [instrumental] - (George Clinton, Eddie Hazel, Tawl Ross) - 3:41
Part 1: Live 1971
Part 2: Live 1971
Part 1: Live 1971
Part 2: Live 1971
Part 1: Live 1971
Part 2: Live 1971