Bootsy? Player of the Year (1978)

(Bootsy's Rubber Band)

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Track Listing:

Bootsy? (What's the Name of This Town) 
	{W Collins, G Clinton, Maceo Parker}  7:03
May The Force Be With You {W Collins, G Clinton, Gary Cooper}  6:07
Very Yes {W Collins, G Clinton, G Cooper}  8:31
Bootzilla {W Collins, G Clinton}  5:42
Hollywood Squares {W Collins, G Clinton, Frankie Waddy}  6:16
Roto-Rooter {W Collins, G Clinton, Phelps Collins}  6:41
As In (I Love You) {W Collins, G Clinton, B Worrell}  5:10


Producer: George Clinton, William Collins
Guitars: Phelps "Catfish" Collins, Casper
Freeboards: Joel "Razor Sharp" Johnson
Drums and Thangs: Frankie "Kash" Waddy, Gary "Mudd-Bone" Cooper, Casper
Horny Horns: Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Rick Gardner, Richard Griffith
"The Player": Bootsy Baby
Front Ground Vocals: Gary "Mudd-Bone" Cooper, Robert "P-Nut" Johnson

Vocals: Bootsy Collins, Gary "Mudd-Bone" Cooper, Robert "P-Nut" Johnson
Bass, Drums: Bootsy Collins
Guitars: Bootsy Collins, Phelps Collins
Trumpets: Rick Gardner, Richard "Kush" Griffith
Trombone: Fred Wesley
Alto Sax, Electric Piano: Maceo Parker
Acoustic Piano, Synthesizers: Bernie Worrell

 "Hollywood Squares"
Vocals: Bootsy Collins
Background Vocals, Drums: Gary "Mudd-Bone" Cooper
Background Vocals: Robert "P-Nut" Johnson
Bass: Bootsy Collins
Guitars: Bootsy Collins, Phelps Collins, Garry Shider
Trumpets: Rick Gardner, Richard "Kush" Griffith
Trombone: Fred Wesley
Alto Sax: Maceo Parker
Keyboards: Bernie Worrell, Joel "Razor Sharp" Johnson
Orchestra, including brass, woodwinds and tympani, arranged & conducted
 by Fred Wesley

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


RC: This album represents Bootsy at the height of his creative powers, and the Rubber Band at its very tightest. This is the album where Catfish is really noticable all over the album, interweaving his high-note riffs with Bootsy's down 'n' dirty grooves. Like the other P.Funk albums of the time (One Nation and Motor Booty), this one tends a little towards excess, but it still works magnificently. This one goes against the formula a bit, mixing the jams and the ballads. Like the other albums, it starts off with a signature song that would be played live for years. The four jams here may be the Rubber Band's very best, and all of them are different. The ballads here don't quite match the dizzying heights reached on Ahh..., but they're certainly at least as good as those on Stretchin' Out.

"What's The Name Of This Town" would be used to open shows on the 78 tour, a basic but lively jam highlighted by Maceo Parker's funky flute. The bass groove and guitar lick are the song's engine. A fuzzy interpolation of "America The Beautiful" makes it an amusing companion piece to "Ahh...The Name..." "May The Force Be With You" is the album's best ballad. The title is a reference to the Star Wars film craze of the time. Ironically, the P.Funk/Science-Fiction connection predated the sci-fi craze kicked off by Star Wars by a couple of years! The song is another showcase for Mudbone, with a spacey sounding keyboard being the other focus. A fuzz bass solo kicks in towards the middle, but it's surprisingly low in the mix. "Very Yes" is a very Stretchin' Out-type ballad, with more lead vocal-swapping leading towards another showcase for Mudbone. It's fairly low-key musically, with a steady bassline and spacey-sounding keyboards. "Bootzilla" was Bootsy's one and only #1 hit, and it is just irresistable--I know I'd buy a Bootzilla action figure it was available! "Bootzilla" knocked "Flash Light" from its perch at #1 on the R&B charts. From the child's-toy sounding intro to Bootsy's finest vocal performance ('Wiiiiiiiiiiiiind ME UP!'), Bootsy kicks off his 'Monster Rock' side with a flourish. Bootzilla is the funkiest toy around, who can out-dance teddy bears and Barbie dolls, and comes equipped with 'stereophonic funk-producin`, disco-inducin`, twin-magnetic rump receptors'. "Hollywood Squares" is another classic, as Bootsy pokes fun at Hollywood, starting with a mock-tense orchestral overture, easing into a slow groove, and building into a monstrous Wall of Bass at the end. More great lyrics here, like "Of course, I've got a cartoon mind." "Roto-Rooter" is more demented fun, with Bootsy serving as the unclogger of constipated notions. His bass indeed does sound like a drill here, making for some almost revolutionary dissonance mixed in with the groove. The often used hook line, 'In the pocket, right there dead in the socket' pops up here. The album concludes on a light note with an almost sentimental ballad, "As In (I Love You)", with a delicate touch throughout.

Overall, this is my favorite Bootsy album. The characters of Bootzilla and the persona of The Player (musician/lover/superstar) are introduced, and it's the most interesting album lyrically.

The cover features those famous Bootsy star glasses, which would become a fixture on tours. There are also photos of all the Rubber Band members, all in costume. The album is out of print, but can be found fairly easily in a good used vinyl store, for anywhere from $5-25. It's also available on CD as an import, for anywhere from $20-35.