Happiness is a side effect of doing something that has nothing to do with it (To The Boot Wing, Bobba!)
Happy Parliafunkadelicment Thangday! It has been a long time coming, but I am finally back with a P-Funk post. I hope to make it more regular again as the fall is now here and I will be spending more time at home. Getting back into writing was more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be. Anyhow, I am tapped out for words right now. Enjoy.
Bootsy’s Fresh Outta ‘P’ University (1997) is a fine funk album. Bootsy was way ahead of his time, so he didn’t have to update his sound much. Bootsy isn’t giving you anything new with this album. You get the usual mix of slower, love and some funky faster paced grooves. Old riffs are heard throughout and Bootsy doesn’t explore new territory lyrically. But none of that matters because the positive, funky vibes Bootsy put out are original, authentic, and seductive. Rather than being a sad, hackneyed attempt by an established artist to capitalize on the popular sound, Fresh Outta ‘P sounds fresh and vital. It shouldn’t be surprising Bootsy can pull off hip hop so well considering how important his bass playing is to the foundations of hip hop. His guests are inspired and funky. On FO’P’U, Bootsy blends the new with the old while, of course, bringing the funk on a spectacularly solid hip hop album. Show em how you play your space bass Bootzilla!
James Brown says a few words about Bootsy before the groove starts on “I’m Busy (Off Da Hook),” which is moderately heavy slower jam with some jazzy flourishes. Bootsy’s early work was more experimental, conceptual, and out there. Over the years, the outrageousness of Bootsy’s funkativity has mellowed while also becoming more acceptable to larger society. Despite being more conventional, Bootsy’s parameters are a bit broader than most everyone’s. Short interludes appear throughout the album, but are mostly short and effective transition pieces.
Panning feedback, reminiscent of Hendrix, opens “Funk Ain’t Broke,” a funky uptempo cut with fuzzy guitar. Liquid guitar and a thumping bottom create a nice low/high contrast and a throbbing groove on “Party Lick-A-Ble’s.” Getting autobiographical over a house beat, Bootsy goes into how he met James Brown and got aboard the Mothership. Smoothing it out a bit, Bootsy makes you wiggle on “Wind Me Up” before raising the freaks. “I’m Leavin’ U (Gotta Go Gotta Go)” is an effective r&b/rap ballad. Eddie Hazel’s “Maggot Brain” plays in the background of “Final,” a pointless message machine interlude.
Diving into heavy, seductive funk on “Good-N-Nasty,” Bootsy reimagines an old classic. Clean, but dirty, lyrically as well as sonically, Bootsy’s “Good-N-Nasty” is the kind of funk that spawned Rick James and Prince. Space bass will never get old, at least as long as Bootsy’s playing it. “An-Gel-Lick ‘Angel'” is one of the weakest songs on the album. I usually just skip ahead to the climax. “Pearl Drops” continues the slow mood of the second disc. Highly suggestive and being just the right length with some ending aural variety, such as the low-end synthesizer, “Pearl Drops” is a song that holds up better than I expected. There is another mix of “I’m Leavin’ U (Gotta Go Gotta Go),” which is lighter than the version found on disc one. Exotic slinkiness lurks in the background of “Fragile (So Sensitive),” another ballad. I am surprised I am not tired yet of this disc due to its’ mood. Plus, it can be hard to keep a two disc album sounding fresh. Yet, Bootsy and his band are such pros that they proved capable of pulling it off.
“Ever Lost Your Lover” is a killer dance song anchored by fat, bouncy bass and accentuated by warm vibraphone tones. Heavy funk makes a welcome appearance on “Holly-Wood-If-She-Could,” which is another reinterpretation of old school Bootsy. “Penetration (In Funk We Trust)” ups the thump and brings in some Funkadelic guitars while maintaining Bootsy’s trademark smoothness. Closing with “Fresh Outta ‘P’ (University),” Bootsy walks the end of the song out.
I’ve listened to sound closely for a long time, particularly since I began working on music. Fresh Outta ‘P’ University is a great record to listen to from a production standpoint. The frequencies share space nicely while the combination of live instrumentation and studio experimentation generates soulful sounds. Fresh Outta ‘P’ is also great to listen to for fun. Be sure to share with your friends. Funk get stronger.
02. I’m Busy (Off Da Hook)
04. Funk Ain’t Broke
06. Party Lick-A-Ble’s
08. Do The Freak
09. Toxic Waste
11. Wind Me Up
13. Home Of Da Freaks
14. I’m Leavin’ U (Gotta Go Gotta Go)
03. An-Gel-Lick ‘Angel’
05. Pearl Drops
07. I’m Leavin’ U (Gotta Go Gotta Go) (C&J Fulltime Mix)
09. Fragile (So Sensitive)
11. Ever Lost Your Lover
14. Penetration (In Funk We Trust)
16. Fresh Outta ‘P’ (University)
Guitars – Ron Jennings, Garry Shider, Wilbur Longmire, Fan Fan La Tulipe, Boogieman
Keyboards – Bernie Worrell, Johnny Davis, Bootsy Collins, Anthony Cole, Joel Johnson, Greg Fitz, Joel Johnson, Mousse T
Horns - Fred Wesley, Allan Barnes, Dwight Adams, Ed Jones, Chris de’Margary, Avi Leibovich, Duncan Mackay
Drums – Tony Byrd, Bootsy Collins
Vibraharp – Vincent Monatana
Vocals – Gary Cooper, Henry Benefield, Michael Gatheright, Inaya Davis, Kristen Gray, Melanie Eiland, Garry Shider, Linda Shider, Michael Anthony, April Woods, Kyle Jason, Bootsy Collins, William Hagan, Phil Brown and Gospel Group, Mike Marshall, Herbert, Cash, Nathalie, Eugen, Caspar, and Terry
Rappers – Be-Wise, Rodney O, MC Lyte, Omeka Sykes, Dru Down, Da Lesson, Ono, Da Brixx, Eugen, Caspar, AJ, Gizmo, Teray