Maggot Brain (1971)

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Track Listing:

Maggot Brain
	{Eddie Hazel, G Clinton}  10:18  lyrics
Can You Get To That
	{G Clinton, Ernie Harris}  2:49  lyrics
Hit It And Quit It
	{G Clinton, Billy Nelson, Garry Shider}  3:48  lyrics
You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks
	{G Clinton, B Worrell, Judie Jones}  3:35  lyrics
Super Stupid
	{E Hazel, B Nelson, Tawl Ross, G Clinton}  3:56  lyrics
Back In Our Minds
	{Clarence Haskins}  2:37  lyrics
Wars Of Armageddon
	{B Worrell, G Clinton, T Ross, Ramon Fulwood}  9:42  lyrics


Lead Guitar: Eddie Hazel
Rhythm Guitar: Tawl Ross
Keyboards: Bernie Worrell
Bass: Billy Nelson
Drums: Tiki Fulwood
Vocals: Parliament, Gary Shider, Bernie Worrell, Tawl Ross

Song-Specific Personnel:
 "Can You Get to That"
Lead Vocals: Garry Shider
Backup Vocals: Pat & Diane Lewis, Rose Williams, Ray Davis,
 Bernie Worrell, George Clinton
Drums: Fuzzy Haskins

 "Hit it and Quit It"
Lead Vocals: Bernie Worrell

 "You And Your Folks"
Lead Vocals: Bill Nelson

 "Super Stupid"
Lead Vocals: Eddie Hazel/Bill Nelson?

 "Back In Our Minds"
Lead Vocals: George Clinton, Tawl Ross
Trombone: McKinley Jackson
Bongos: Eddie Bongo
Jew's Harp: James W. Jackson

Rating: GZ ***** RC ***** MM *****


RC: What can I say, everyone should own this album. "Maggot Brain" may be Eddie's finest moment ever. The lyrics are particulary poignant and clever, especially "Can You Get To That" and "You And Your Folks...". Bernie really becomes a dominant force on this album, with his organ adding texture to the acid/R&B guitar stew. Did I mention the beautiful singing? No Funkadelic album would be complete without a freakout song, and "Wars of Armageddon" fits the bill here. It sounds like they pulled out a sound effects album and got funky with it. "Maggot Brain" was written when George asked Eddie to think of the saddest thing he could, to imagine his mother dying. George faded out the rest of the band when Eddie played this, because they weren't playing as well as Eddie, and the result was excellent. The album is Funkadelic at its best in that it's impossible to predict. It starts with a psychedelic solo guitar piece, moves on to a gospel-inflected soul-stirrer, continues with a hard-rock organ-driven tune, swings toward a politically charged soul-gospel piece, soars with one of the first heavy metal tunes in history, moves back into the political realm with a touch of taste and a horn influence, and concludes with a freakout as bizarre as anything ever recorded. This kind of heavy eclecticism would be seen on several of the next Funkadelic albums, but this one is my favorite.

"Maggot Brain" is the greatest instrumental the band ever recorded, owing everything to the genius of Eddie Hazel, who makes listening to the piece an exhausting, terryifying and exhilarating experience. "Can You Get To That", yet another rewrite of a Parliaments song, starts off with acoustic guitars, giving more of an emphasis to Bernie and his organ, with some of the best singing and lyrics on the album. "Hit It & Quit It" is a Worrell showpiece, featuring his vocals and dominated by that heavy organ sound. Hazel's solo at the end is excellent. "You And Your Folks..." is a sequel of sorts to "I Got A Thing...", with impassioned lyrics about the poor and the irresistable 'yeah, yeah, yeah' chant. "Super Stupid" is a high-powered Hazel metal tune, with a still-tasteful if over-the-edge swooping solo. "Back In Our Minds" settles the whole angry stew down, with Environmedian J.W. Jackson playing jew's harp. He would open for Funkadelic on many occasions, doing a stand-up routine. Just when everything has settled down, they finish it with the utterly bizarre "Wars of...", a song that has a great Hazel jam, a ton of sound effects, commentary on urban society, lyrics that include 'more power to the peter, more power to the pussy, more pussy to the peter', and much, much more. Buy this album now if you don't own it!

Judie Jones, later known as Judie Worrell, Bernie's wife, said that she was given credit for "You And Your Folks" by mistake. She claims that she should have gotten credit for "Red Hot Mama" instead. Bernie says that Billy Nelson should have gotten credit on "You And Your Folks".

TT: "Maggot Brain" was recorded in one take.