Funkadelic – Cosmic Slop

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With a much more stripped-down version of the band, if the credits are to be believed (five regular members total, not counting any vocalists), Funkadelic continued its way through life with Cosmic Slop. A slightly more scattershot album than the group’s other early efforts, with generally short tracks (only two break the five-minute barrier) and some go-nowhere ballads, Cosmic Slop still has plenty to like about it, not least because of the monstrous title track. A bitter, heartbreaking portrait of a family on the edge, made all the more haunting and sad by the sweet vocal work — imagine an even more mournful “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” — the chorus is a killer, with the devil invited to the dance while the band collectively fires up the funk. Elsewhere, the band sounds like it’s more interested in simply hitting a good groove and enjoying it, and why not? If introductory track “Nappy Dugout” relies more on duck calls and whistles than anything else to give it identity, it’s still a clap-your-hands/stomp-your-feet experience, speeding up just a little toward the end. As for the bandmembers themselves, Bernie Worrell still takes the general lead thanks to his peerless keyboard work, but the guitar team of Gary Shider and Ron Bykowski and the rhythm duo of Tyrone Lampkin and Cordell Mosson aren’t any slouches, either. George Clinton again seems to rely on the role of ringleader more than anything else, but likely that’s him behind touches like distorted vocals. Certainly it’s a trip to hear the deep, spaced-out spoken word tale on “March to the Witch’s Castle,” a harrowing picture of vets returning from Vietnam — and then realizing that Rush ripped off that approach for a song on its Caress of Steel album a year or two later!

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