Up For The Down Stroke (1974)

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Track Listing:

Up For The Down Stroke
	{G Clinton, W Collins, Clarence Haskins, B Worrell}  5:08  lyrics
	{G Clinton, Deron Taylor}  3:46  lyrics
The Goose
	{G Clinton, Eddie Hazel}  9:10  lyrics
I Can Move You (If You Let Me) 
	{G Clinton, Cordell Mosson, B Worrell, W Collins}  2:44  lyrics
I Just Got Back
	{Peter Chase}  4:30  lyrics
All Your Goodies Are Gone
	{G Clinton, C Haskins, Billy Nelson}  5:04  lyrics
Whatever Makes Baby Feel Good
	{G Clinton, E Hazel}  5:57  lyrics
Presence Of A Brain
	{G Clinton, Garry Shider}  3:19  lyrics


Bass: Cordell Mosson, Bootsy Collins
Guitars: Eddie Hazel, Ron Bykowski, Gary Shider, Billy Nelson
Drums: Gary Bronson, Tiki Fulwood, Man in the Box
Keyboards: Bernie Worrell
Whistles: Peter Chase
Vocals: George Clinton, Calvin Simon, Ray Davis, Grady Thomas,
 Fuzzy Haskins, Garry Shider, Eddie Hazel

 "Up For The Down Stroke"
Lead Vocals: George Clinton, Fuzzy Haskins, Eddie Hazel

Lead Vocals: George Clinton

 "The Goose"
Lead Vocals: George Clinton

 "I Can Move You"
Lead Vocals: Garry Shider

 "I Just Got Back"
Lead Vocals: George Clinton

 "All Your Goodies Are Gone"
Lead Vocals: George Clinton

 "Presence Of A Brain"
Lead Vocal: Eddie Hazel

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


GZ: Highlights include title track, "Have You Ever Felt the Presence of A Brain".

TK: The single "Testify" is different from the one on the album. It's a group vocal rather than a single vocal.

RC: The return of Parliament had been plotted to give the five Parliament singers (plus newcomer Garry Shider) a wider format for their vocals, returning them to their roots. Also, it was designed as more radio-friendly, with an emphasis on melody, muting of guitars, and a pronounced horn section. No radio station would touch Funkadelic's records, so the hope was to make some money as Parliament. Many of their 60's singles were reworked, ("Testify", "The Goose", "All Your Goodies Are Gone"), but in the more popular, funky style of the day. Of course, what's "commercial" to the Funk Mob, especially at that time, was still downright alien to the rest of the world. Their 60's tunes weren't exactly normal at the time, and filtered through the Funkadelic lens, they got even weirder on this album. And their newer tunes involved being in outer space, down strokin', and mind control. The end result was an album that wasn't as weird as Osmium, but that was still fairly eclectic and odd. Bootsy Collins climbed on at this point, helping to add to the groove, but the Holy Trinity of Worrell, Clinton and Collins hadn't completely hit their stride yet. Still, the album features a number of tunes that are either engaging or interesting or both.

The album starts off with their first big hit since "(I Wanna) Testify", "Up For The Down Stroke." This is the melodic dance chant that would lay down the ground for the many others that would follow. It features nice vocals and a dominant, but not overwhelming, horn riff. Horns often supplanted guitars on Parliament records as the driving instruments. The reworked "Testify" is a work of genius, with classic Parliament lead-vocal swapping and an irrestible keyboard line played by Bernie, whose influence was even stronger on Parliament's albums than it was on Funkadelic's. With the guitar in the background, his keyboard sound was often the dominant presence on many songs. And when his playing extended into a jazzier realm on later albums, he took Parliament far past the point of the average funk band. "The Goose" is another warped remake, featuring an addictive bassline and weird sound effects. After the song has run out of verses, the song continues in an extended jam, with distorted vocal improvisations matching the odd keyboard effects. "I Can Move You" features a standout performance by Bernie and some interesting rhythms. Garry sings lead here. "I Just Got Back" is by far the strangest track, featuring the most conventional sounding music on the album, but the spaciest lyrics, sung by George, about a far-away paradise. Also features some melodic whistling. This song almost reminds me of "The Song Is Familiar" from Let's Take It To The Stage in terms of feel and lyrical content. "All Your Goodies Are Gone" is a great example of sleaze-funk, with an amazing performance by George, drawing out his lines with a malevolent sneer that shows his complete contempt for the girl. The song is also driven by a great bassline. "Whatever Makes Baby Feel Good" features great singing and a nice performance by Bernie, but the real highlight is a brilliant guitar solo, one of the few you will find on a Parliament album. I'm pretty sure that it's Eddie Hazel doing the honors. This song certainly wouldn't sound out of place on the Funkadelic albums of that era. The last song, "Presence Of A Brain", is a rather strange tale of a deep thinker, which you can tell by 'the far away look in his eyes.' It's interesting for its rhythms, which are almost Spanish-sounding, and some doo-wopping towards the end.

All in all, it's definitely worthwhile, but not groundbreaking.

MM: "All Your Goodies Are Gone" has a nice driving piano and beat. "The Goose" and the title track are strong too. A P-Funk alternative but not characteristic P-Funk.

MT: To anyone who's still picking up the major Parliament/Funkadelic works - save this one for one of the last. You'll appreciate it much more and see where it fits in - once you have heard the complete P-Funk discography as a whole.