Thinking big, Bootsy Collins’ 2011 effort is a conceptual trip, a funky history lesson brought to life by the P-Funk veteran, his rock-solid band, and a slew of guest stars, ranging from rapper Ice Cube to professor Cornel West. In between, there’s funk-rock shredding from freaky and frequent collaborator Buckethead, some psychedelic storytelling by way of an old Jimi Hendrix interview, plus better-than-expected prose from both Rev. Al Sharpton (on the cultural magnificence of James Brown) and Samuel L. Jackson (on how the funk era was a Renaissance for the hood). Underneath it all, the P-Funk jams pop and stroll with that same old swagger, while Bootsy himself beams down his wild bits of Mothership wisdom, including “It’s recess time, so put a smile on your mind” (“Don't Take My Funk”) and “If you wanna lead the orchestra, you’re gonna have to turn your back to the crowd” (“Siento Bombo”).
William "Bootsy" Collins cut his teeth playing bass with the James Brown band in 1970, but when he landed in George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic crew in the mid-70s, he quickly became a figurehead of Clinton's messier, trippier cartoon funk. Throughout the 1976-82 period condensed into this two-disc set, Bootsy and his Rubber Band were essentially P-Funk for kids. His records had all the stage-crowding chaos of the Mothership, with the politics and priapism replaced by goofy spiels about the excellence of, well, Bootsy, plus squelchy, googly sounds and his infamous star-shaped shades. The tone he got out of his star-shaped bass, like huge bubbles surfacing from the bottom of a lake, was heavy enough that he could slow things way, way down–"Jam Fan (Hot)" crawls like no other hard-funk record. That, in turn, let him be the half-serious love-man Clinton couldn't risk being (check out the wacky, spacey slow jam "Munchies for Your Love"). Glory B mostly collects unedited album tracks, though it also throws in 1980's lost demi-hit "Freak to Freak" (credited to Sweat Band) and the 1982 single "Body Slam!".
Can it get any better? If aliens came down needing to know what funk was all about, in all its talented, embrace-anything-and-everything, screw with your head and get your butt down glory, then this is a prime candidate for what to give them. The man, his voice, his bass, the backing of a prime core band including his guitarist brother Catfish, Fred Wesley, and Maceo Parker leading the brass – beautiful, hilarious, and just plain great. This one-disc collection could easily be a two-disc or more if one wanted to include every last highlight from Collins' up-down-all-around career – his work with James Brown alone is beyond the bomb – but when it comes to solo work, this is as perfect a place to start as any. Drawing mostly on the albums done with the active help of George Clinton in the late '70s, Back in the Day is a model for what a good compilation should be. Sound is excellent throughout, while full details on who plays what and where, along with where everything came from in the first place, all appear in exhaustive detail.
Following three straight masterworks that balanced hard funk workouts with laid-back bedroom jams, This Boot Is Made for Fonk-N ditched the balancing act, offering up straight, relentless hard funk. This is great for those who just want the sweaty workouts Bootsy Collins had proven himself well capable of delivering on his own as well as with Parliament-Funkadelic. In fact, if that's what you're looking for – hard-hitting, unrelenting funk – look no further, for This Boot Is Made for Fonk-N is absolutely teeming with it. …
Bootsy Collins' debut solo album, Stretchin' Out in Bootsy's Rubber Band, was an extremely tough act to follow, but thankfully, there are no signs of a sophomore slump (either creatively or commercially) on his second album, Ahh … The Name Is Bootsy, Baby! Most P-funk addicts consider this 1977 LP essential listening, and it isn't hard to see why they feel that way. Everything on the album is excellent; …
This star-studded musical tribute to Jimi Hendrix is highlighted by contributions by artists from rock, R&B, blues and funk. Each of these artists bears witness to Hendrix’s imprint on their own music. From the contemporary R&B stylings of Musiq to the deep country blues of John Lee Hooker, Jimi’s creative spirit-the pure inventive freedom he drew upon to originate these signature songs-stands undiminished. This special project features new interpretations of Hendrix’s classics from a host a music’s biggest stars including Lenny Kravitz, Sting, Prince, Santana, Eric Clapton, John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Earth Wind & Fire, and numerous others.
In the end, there's no questioning this album's impact, one that is still being felt via rap-induced aftershocks. In addition to its contemporary impact and continued longevity, the album was a massive success for Clinton and company upon its release in 1975, elevating the P-Funk collective to unparalleled heights in terms of audience. Some Parliament albums may be flawless, and others may be innovative, but this is the P-Funk zenith in more ways than one, perfect as well as perennial.