Blasters Of The Universe (1994)

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Track Listing:

Disc 1:

Funk Express Card {W Collins}  5:53
J.R. (Just Right) {W Collins, B Worrell, Frankie Waddy, Don Davis}  6:48
Blasters Of The Universe 
   {W Collins, Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Richard Griffith, Rick Gardner}  6:45
Bad Girls {W Collins, Joel Johnson, Lawrence Cornett, Anthony Cole}  5:40
Back-N-The Day {W Collins, Phelps Collins, David Spradley, M Parker}  6:16
Where R The Children 
   {W Collins, Cynthia Girty, Tony Walker, Carolyn Stanford}  4:36
Female Trouble's (The National Anthem) {W Collins}  4:33
Wide Track {W Collins, F Wesley, Mike Mitchell, Vince Campbell}  5:08
Funk Me Dirty {W Collins, G Clinton, Trey Stone}  5:39
Good Nite Eddie {W Collins, Eddie Hazel, Gary James}  6:59
A Sacred Place {W Collins, Greg Fitz}  3:36
Half Past Midnight {W Collins}  2:37
It's A Silly Serious World {W Collins}  5:17

Disc 2:

J.R. (Just Right)  5:05
Funk Express Card  4:50
Back N The Day  6:28
Bad Girls  4:59
Good Nite Eddie  4:24
Where R The Children  4:21
Funk Me Dirty  5:53
It's A Silly Serious World  5:09
A Sacred Place  4:21


Producer: Bootsy Collins

Musicians & Vocals:  Catfish Collins, Razor "Sharp" Johnson, Bernie Worrell,
 Eddie Hazel, David Spradley, Maceo Parker, Frankie "Kash" Waddy,
 Fred Wesley, Rick Gardner, Kush Griffith, The "Horny Horns", Mike Mitchell,
 Vince Campbell, Don "Tiger" Martin, "Sweat Band", Gary "Mudd Bone" Cooper,
 Robert P-Nut Johnson, George Clinton, Anthony Cole, Buddy Miles, Wes Boatman,
 Ronni Harris, "Godmoma", Cynthia, Tony, Carol, Bobby Byrd, Casper, The Player,
 Fuzz Face, Trey Stone, Super-T, Ron Jenning, Pretty Fatt-Sheila & Cynthia,
 Kristin Gray, Greg Fitz, Dee "Dirty Mugg" James, David Cox, Anthony Goodin

Rating: RC: ***1/2


RC: Bootsy's return to his roots, after an extended venture into electronic music. Very diffuse album that is also very laid back and subtle in its funky ways; it takes a few listens to get into it. The Space Bass is very subdued until disc 2, which consists of instrumentals and extended versions. Bootsy later said he did this to make it easier for people to sample his material. Indeed, he has a project in the works using these tracks as the source material. Eddie Hazel's presence is greatly appreciated, as the whole project is dedicated to him.

Six years after What's Bootsy Doin' talked about his big comeback, he does much the same thing on this album. The periods of time between albums was much the same. Bootsy did have that EP in 1990, but this was his first real solo project since 1988. He was all over a number of records doing session work. The most significant of these was Deee-Lite's first album, because Bootsy went on tour with them. Discovering that he still had a taste for live performances, this encouraged him to put together a new Rubber Band and record. He finally managed to get a deal with Rykodisc, a label well known for allowing its artists a great amount of freedom. Blasters was released much earlier in Japan, where Bootsy has toured quite frequently, on the P-Vine label. Blasters was made with an obviously limited budget, in Bootsy's own studios. This meant that too many drum machines were used, and many of the tracks had been sitting around for quite awhile. Despite this 'canned' feeling, the album, recorded on Bootsy's own terms, has a lot of fresh and fun material. The highlights are "Blasters" (featuring Eddie Hazel), "Back N The Day" (sampling Bobby Byrd and with a good-time funk feeling), "Wide Track" (a Fred Wesley workout), "A Sacred Place" (a funk-gospel romp with some "Song Is Familiar"-type lyrics) and "Silly Serious World" an excellent, contemplative ballad. The only real dog is "Where R The Children", a mindless dance track. Other oddities include Bootsy ruminating on where Eddie Hazel is now on "Good Nite Eddie" and the inbetween-song vocal samples, from a number of strange movies.

The American and Japanese versions differ only in terms of packaging. The Japanese version has a much smaller version of the comic book that comes along with the CD. The American version is superior IMO.

MT: "Funk Express Card" recycles "Shine-O-Myte" just as "Martial Law" did with "Atomic Dog" only, unlike "Martial Law" it rides on the bassline a little bit too heavy. "J.R. (Just Right)" has a fat track. It's a heavy loop with super-flashlightisms courtesy of Bernie Worrell. No horns on this track are about the only weakness. It's got subtle Space Bass on the bottom of it all. "Bad Girls" starts out with a super-fat loop, then we get a mellow chorus from Mudbone, a nice change of pace. We get solid lyrics about a "hit and run" love affair, plus some James Brown-style guitar vamps and a fat space bass solo too. "Female Trouble's (The National Anthem)" reminds me of something from Ultra Wave for some reason. It's one of the catchier tracks on the album musically. The drum tracks sound like a combination of live drums (with triggered sounds) and drum machine, but at least it's more than a loop. There are actually kicks! OVERALL SUMMARY: This is not the brand new Bootsy's Rubber Band album that will re-define "funk" as we know it today, that I was dreaming of, but it is an album worthy of inclusion in any collection. I wouldn't say it compares to any of the original Rubber Band albums, but it's much better than What's Bootsy Doin? (thank god!) And you have to realize, this is not a brand new, big budget major label release.