Zapp (1980)


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Track Listing:

More Bounce To The Ounce {Roger Troutman}  9:25
Freedom {R Troutman}  3:48
Brand New PPlayer {R Troutman}  5:51
Funky Bounce {R Troutman}  6:46
Be Alright {R Troutman, L Troutman}  7:52
Coming Home {R Troutman}  6:34


Producer: Roger Troutman, Bootsy Collins
Vocals: Greg Jackson, Zapp Troutman, Roger Troutman, Bobby Glover
Percussion: Larry Troutman, Lester Troutman
Conga Drums: Larry Troutman
Trap Drums: Lester Troutman
Bass: Zapp Troutman, Roger Troutman
Sax: Carl Cowen
Keyboards: Greg Jackson, Roger Troutman
Guitar: Bootsy Collins, Roger Troutman
Talking Box, Harmonica, Vibes: Roger Troutman

 "More Bounce to the Ounce"
Talkbox, Background Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboard: Roger Troutman
Drums: Lester Troutman
Percussion: Larry Troutman

 "Be Alright"
Lead Vocals: Roger Troutman, Greg Jackson, Bobby Glover
Background Vocals: Roger Troutman, Greg Jackson, Bobby Glover, Zapp Troutman,
 Shelly Smith, Delores Smith, Janetta Boyce
Keyboards: Roger Troutman, Greg Jackson
Guitar, Bass: Roger Troutman
Vibraphones: Roger Troutman, Zapp Troutman
Drums: Lester Troutman
Percussion: Larry Troutman
Flute: Carl Cowen

Rating: RC: ***1/2  MM: ****1/2


MM: Four and a half stars for "More Bounce" and "Be Alright" mostly.

RC: This is the beginning of the extremely successful Zapp/Roger story, a story that is mostly tangential to P.Funk, but one that is related nonetheless. Roger Troutman, the do-it-all mastermind behind the group, was longtime friends with Bootsy Collins, and each promised to help the other out when they reached success. Roger actually put out an album with his first band, Roger And The Human Body, but it had little success. Eventually, Roger got a gig with Funkadelic, playing on the Electric Spanking of War Babies album, which led to working with Bootsy on this, his first album, named after his brother Zapp. Roger was to find the commercial success in the 80's that eluded most of the rest of the P.Funk mob, up until the current day. His trademark was the use of the talk box, a bizarre vocal processor that gave him a unique sound. Sometimes, it became too much of a gimmick, but it was often very effective and funky. Clean guitar lines, danceable rhythms and precise playing were to be the standard on Zapp albums. The music is pretty far removed from the wild experimentation of Funkadelic, but it's not unlike some of the later Parliament songs. The first album was notable for Bootsy Collins producing it; Zapp would open for P.Funk on the road as well.

"More Bounce..." is a classic dance number, with a super-infectious guitar riff, irresistable beats, and growling vocals matched with the high-pitched talk box squeals. "Freedom" zips along at a similar pace, this time with a dominant bass riff and more attention to singing. "Brand New PPlayer" features an interesting bass and guitar arrangement. The rhythms are also rich and complex, matching up well with instruments brought in for flavor, like sax and harmonica. "Funky Bounce" is a more disco-ish dance tune that has a nice guitar solo. "Be Alright" is a ballad that is super-syrupy but still enjoyable, mostly because of the solos toward the end. It's also helped by great singing. "Coming Home" starts off with a blues harmonica intro that launches into an electric blues romp. It's an easygoing tune that shows Roger's love of blues.

This album is in print and should be easy to find. The cover is a wacked-out drawing from P.Funk artists Overton Lloyd and Ronald Edwards.