America Eats Its Young (1972)

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Track Listing:

You Hit the Nail On the Head
	{G Clinton, B Worrell, Clarence Haskins}  7:10  lyrics
If You Don't Like the Effects, Don't Produce the Cause 
	{G Clinton, Garry Shider} 3:43  lyrics
Everybody Is Going To Make It This Time
	{G Clinton, B Worrell}  5:50  lyrics
A Joyful Process
	{G Clinton, B Worrell}  6:10
We Hurt Too
	{G Clinton}  3:47  lyrics
Loose Booty
	{G Clinton, Harold Beane}  4:45  lyrics
	{W Collins}  2:40  lyrics
	{G Clinton, Billy Nelson, Eddie Hazel}  5:00  lyrics
America Eats Its Young
	{G Clinton, B Worrell, H Beane}  5:45  lyrics
Biological Speculation
	{G Clinton, Ernie Harris}  3:00  lyrics
That Was My Girl
	{G Clinton, Sidney Barnes}  3:41  lyrics
	{G Clinton, B Worrell}  5:25  lyrics
Miss Lucifer's Love
	{C Haskins, G Clinton}  5:50  lyrics
Wake Up
	{G Clinton, B Worrell, James Wesley Jackson}  6:20  lyrics


Keyboards & Melodica: Bernie Worrell
Percussion: Ty Lampkin, Zachary Frazier, Tiki Fulwood, Frank Waddy
Guitar: Harold Beane, Phelps Collins, Ed Hazel, Garry Shider
Bass: William Collins, Prakash John, Cordell "Boogie" Mosson
Trumpet: Bruce Cassidy, Arnie Chycoski, Ronnie Greenway, 
 Clayton "Chicken" Gunnels, Al Stanwyck
Alto Sax: Randy Wallace
Tenor Sax: Robert McCullough
Steel Guitar: Ollie Strong
Juice Harp: James Wesley Jackson
Violin: Albert Pratz, Bill Richards, Victoria Polley, Joe Sera
Viola: Stanley Solomon, Walter Babiuk
Cello: Peter Schenkman, Ronald Laurie
Vocals: Harold Beane, Diane Brooks, Phelps Collins, William Collins, 
 Clayton Gunnels, Ronnie Greenway, Prakash John, Steve Kennedy,
 Ed Hazel, Garry Shider, Frank Waddy, Randy Wallace, Bernie Worrell, 
 George Clinton, Ray Davis, Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, Grady Thomas

Arrangers: George Clinton, Bernie Worrell

String & Steel Guitar Arrangements by David Van De Pitte on:
"If You Don't Like the Effects...", "America Eats Its Young",
"Biological Speculation", "Everybody is Going to Make It This
Time", "We Hurt Too"

String & Horn Arrangements by Bernie Worrell on:
 "A Joyful Process", "Wake Up", "Miss Lucifer's Love"

Song-Specific Personnel:

 "If You Don't Like the Effects..."
Vocals: Calvin Simon, George Clinton, Bernie Worrell, Gary Shider, 
 Dr. Music (Diane Brooks, Steve Kennedy)
Guitar: Gary Shider
Bass: Prakash John
Keyboards: Bernie Worrell
Drums: Ty Lampkin

 "We Hurt Too"
Vocals: George Clinton, Garry Shider

 "Loose Booty"
Vocals: George Clinton
Guitar: Harold Beane
Bass: Bootsy Collins
Keyboard: Bernie Worrell

Lead Vocals: Bootsy Collins
Bass: Bootsy Collins
Guitar: Phelps Collins

Lead Vocals: Fuzzy Haskins
Drums: Frank Waddy

 "Biological Speculation"
Lead Vocals: George Clinton
Guitar: Garry Shider

 "That Was My Girl"
Lead Vocals: George Clinton

Lead Vocals: Bootsy Collins

 "Miss Lucifer's Love"
Lead Vocals: Fuzzy Haskins

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


GZ: A transitional double album, Bootsy and Catfish defect from the JBs to join the P-Funk Mob. Hints of later P-Funk in tracks like "Philmore" and "Loose Booty", along with the continuing dark vision of urban Amerika. I find it a bit diffuse, a weakness common to most double albums.

RC: The best way to understand this album is to look at it as a Funkadelic experiment, trying a number of new musical styles. Some of these were successful, some weren't. So while there are many songs here which could have been deleted in order to create a better album, hearing the whole array is an interesting way of understanding the directions that the band was thinking of taking.

The remake of a 1966 Parliaments tune, "That Was My Girl", falls more than a little flat, as the sugary lyrics are out of place. The fact that they even recorded the song shows how much Clinton was hankering for a way to spotlight singing more. "We Hurt Too" is also pretty bad, with a string overload and pained lyrics about how men can cry too. To their credit, these sort of experiments were avoided in the future.

A more succesful experiment came with the long, orchestral pieces like "You Hit The Nail...", "If You Don't Like The Effects..." and "Everybody Is Going To Make...". These followed in the vein of Isaac Hayes-like pieces, incorporating wah-wah guitars with string orchestras. Each of these focus on assorted problems in America, with lyrics like 'Just because you win the fight don't make it right/Just because you give don't make you good', & 'Ain't you deep/In your semi-first class seat/You picket this and protest that and eat yourself fat' railing against hyprocrisy. The climax of this style comes with the astounding Bernie Worrell instrumental "A Joyful Process", a tune that starts off with the tune to the bible school song "Jesus Loves Me" that then gets deeply funky, a heavy upbeat combo of organ and wah-wah guitar.

The whole of the JB's joins Funkadelic with this album, with Bootsy Collins, Catfish Collins, Chicken Gunnels, Rob McCollough and Frankie Waddy. Many of these gentlemen would change P.Funk forever. At the time, they became Funkadelic itself, since they were the new touring band when Eddie Hazel, Tiki Fulwood, and Billy Bass walked out. They also played on another experiment, combining Funkadelic with the tight, disciplined JB sound. The results are the brilliant "Philmore" with Bootsy's raw voice sounding nothing like the friendly tones of Casper that he would later adopt. Then there's the classic "Loose Booty", which spawned a whole sub-genre of Funkadelic songs: the dirty nursery rhyme. Of course, this was yet another Parliament remake.

The other songs conformed more to "regular" Funkadelic releases, with a truly psychotic revamp of "Pussy", the equally crazy title track instrumental, the subdued and tasteful cautionary song "Biological Speculation", psychedelic rock romps in "Balance" (again with Bootsy taking lead vocals) and "Miss Lucifer's Love" (with Fuzzy going all the way off) and a final overt political statement in "Wake Up."

The problems with having too many players on an album that would come back to haunt future P.Funk releases is evident here. George went a little overboard with the strings and such, but it was the first Funkadelic album that had clean production values. Many of the experiments that Clinton abandoned on future Funkadelic albums would be picked up later on other side-group projects.

"Everybody Is Going..." was originally recorded in 1968 in London with Ginger Baker, drummer of Cream, one of Clinton's favorite bands.

MM: The above opinions are shared. Some of the weak cuts like "We Hurt Too" are so bad they're entertaining. Consistency should be expected if you compare to their first three offerings. It's just not there.

MV: America Eats Its Young is diffuse but it contains enough classic, essential cuts to warrant at least four stars. You cannot be a true Funkadelic fan without this album.