What's Bootsy Doin'? (1988)

(Bootsy Collins)

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Track Listing:

Party On Plastic (What's Bootsy Doin'?) {W Collins, Vicki Vee}   3:57
Subliminal Seduction (Funk-Me Dirty) {Wes Boatman, G Clinton, W Collins}  3:31
Leakin' {Trey Stone, G Clinton, W Collins}  4:16
Shock-It-To-Me {W Collins, Bill Laswell}  4:57
1st One 2 The Egg Wins (The Human Race) {W Boatman, W Collins}  4:21
Love Song {T Stone, Joe Harris, G Clinton, W Collins}  3:33
(I Wannabee) Kissin' U {Mico Wave, Gary Cooper, W Collins}  4:18
*-ing The Love Gun {G Cooper, W Boatman, W Collins}  3:45
Yo-Moma-Loves-Ya {Mama Collins, W Collins}  5:22
Save What's Mine For Me {W Collins}  4:17


Axe Molesters & Guitar Slayers: Ron "Attitude" Jennings, Catfish Collins, 
 Stevie "No Wonder" Salas, Bootsy Collins
Computer Smashers & Keyboard Slashers: Trey "Goldfish" Stone, 
 Wes Boatman, Mico Wave, Bootsy Collins
Unfairlight Sample Wars: Bootsy Collins
Skin Thrashers & Bun Smashers, Drum Beaters & Rhythm Cheaters:
     Bootzilla & Bootsy Collins
Still 'Horny Horns': Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Kush Griffith, Rick Gardner 
Horn Arrangements: Fred Wesley & Bootsy Collins
String Arrangements: Fred Wesley, Wes Boatman
String Solo on "Shock-It-To-Me": Billy Bang
All Drum Programming & Bootsy Wave-U-Lator: Mico Wave
Computer Talk: Boot-Tron
Space Basses & Low End Chasers: Bootsy Collins, Casper & Bootzilla 

 (Is Data Bass? & Chocolate Star banged on by: The Player)

Lead Vocalization & Heavy Metal Aluminum Conversation: Casper, Luv-Gun,
 Bootzilla, Sugar Crook, Baby Leroy and occasionally Bootsy Collins
Front Ground Vocal Improvisation: Gary "Mudbone" Cooper, Sly Fox
Additional Vocals & Musicians: P-Nut Johnson, Vicky Vee, Tony Feldman, 
 George Clinton, Taka Boom, Mallia Franklin, 
 Carolyn Stanford, Anita Walker, Cynthia Girty (Godmoma), 
 Bernard Fowler, Eddie Martinez, Nicky Skopelitis, Bernie Worrell
Extra Rappers, Clappers, & Finger Snappers: "Billy J" William Johnson, 
 "Oounchworm" Sharir Forman, "Pretty Fatt", Yolanda Frazier, Mico Wave, 
 Yo-Mama Collins, Uncle Tom & Uncle Al

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


RC: This was Bootsy's big comeback album after several years of laying low, mostly doing production & session work. The late 80's were the beginning of the funk comeback, with this album and Clinton's The Cinderella Theory being the works that kicked it off. Both albums also saw their artists return to touring, with Bootsy playing with most of the regular Rubber Band members, playing a mix of new and old material. What's Bootsy Doin'? was filled with good ideas and good intentions, but restrictions applied by the record company severly hampered the final result. The production was way too slick, drum machines were used too often and were too high up in the mix, and you had to really strain to hear Bootsy's bass playing over the amped-up synthesizers. Combine that with the dull heavy-metal screechings of guitarist Stevie Salas, and you have a very disappointing work.

There were some high points, however. "Party On Plastic" is a bit of electronic funk that works, with a nice fuzz bass effect. The 'Boot-Tron' talk box also works well. Bootsy's vocals are in top form all over the album, but this song is one of the very best. "Kissin' U" is a bit of bubblegum that's actually kind of engaging, mostly thanks to Mudbone Cooper. "Save What's Mine For Me" is an excellent ballad that features more fuzz bass from Bootsy, and talks tenderly about his family. Lyrically, the album really has its moments. Bootsy talks about his family and his children, which is unusual since he rarely talked about anything personal on past records. There were also some clever ideas that were hampered by the production, like sperm racing in "1st One To The Egg Wins"; being shot by the Love Gun, which resolves all differences ("*ing The Love Gun"); and a mostly clever sequel to Funkadelic's "Electro-Cuties" ("Shock-It-To-Me"). Godmoma can be heard doing vocals on a few songs.

It's great to see Bootsy all the way back, but the whole synth-funk thing never did much for me. Things would get more interesting once his label changed.