Some Of My Best Jokes Are Friends (1985)

(George Clinton)

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Track Listing:

Double Oh-Oh {G Clinton, St. Song, Garry Shider}  5:47
Bullet Proof {G Clinton, St. Song}  6:19
Pleasures of Exhaustion {G Clinton, Steve Washington}  7:05
Bodyguard {G Clinton, W Collins, Walter Morrison}  3:49
Bangladesh {Tracey Lewis}  4:55
Thrashin' {Rodney Curtis, G Clinton, G Shider}  5:38
Some Of My Best Jokes Are Friends 
	{Bernard Alexander, Doug Wimbish, G Clinton}  6:01


Producer: George Clinton, Garry Shider
"Pleasures of Exhaustion" produced by: George Clinton, Steve Washington
"Bodyguard" produced by: George Clinton, Bootsy Collins
"Bangladesh" produced by: Tracey Lewis, George Clinton
"Thrashin'" produced by: George Clinton, Thomas Dolby
"Some of My Best..." produced by: George Clinton, Thomas Dolby, Doug Wimbish

Lead Vocals: George Clinton
Almost Lead Vocals: Garry Shider, Sandra Feva, Joe "Pep" Harris
Background Vocals: Pat Lewis, Sandra Feva, Jimmy G, Tracey Lewis, 
 Andre Foxx, Gary Shider, Linda Shider, Robert Johnson, Michael Payne,
 Jerome Rogers, Lige Curry, Patti Curry, DeWayne McKnight, Steve Washington,
 Sheila Washington, Debbie Wright, Faye Cavendar, Shirley Hayden, 
 Mallia Franklin, Gary Cooper, Bootsy Collins, Louie Kabbabie,
 Rod "Cuz", Ron Ford, Jeanette McGruder, Jim Wright, Shawn Clinton,
 Darryl Clinton, James Wilkerson, Beverly Wilson
Guitar: DeWayne McKnight, Michael Hampton, Andre Williams, Tony Hooks,
 Bootsy Collins, Eddie Hazel, Garry Shider, Bernard Alexander, 
 Steve Washington
Real Bass: Rodney Curtis, Doug Wimbish, Steve Washington
Electric Bass Chips: Bootsy Collins, Doug Wimbish, David Spradley,
 Steve Washington
Keyboards: Thomas Dolby, Junie Morrison, Bootsy Collins, Tracey Lewis,
 Doug Wimbish, Eric White, Steve Washington, David Spradley
Fairlight & Assorted Keyboard Chips: Thomas Dolby
Real Drums As In Traps: Dennis Chambers, Bootsy Collins
Electric Drum Chips: Bootsy Collins, Tracey Lewis, Bernard Alexander, 
 David Spradley
Sequential Circuits & Linn Drums: Steve Washington
Percussion: Maruga Booker, Bootsy Collins
Horn/String Arrangements: Eric White
Real Strings: Bob Basso, David Everheart, Manny Capote, Lorraine Basso,
 Bodgen Chrusey, Gary Wedder, Stu McDonald
P.Funk Horns; Maceo Parker, Greg Boyer, Greg Thomas, Bennie Cowan
Horns: Eric White, Ken Faulk, Ed Calle
Flute Solo ("Pleasures"): Mike Flemming
Sax Solo ("Bangladesh"): Ed Calle

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


RC: George does an about-face lyrically, addressing violence, nuclear war and poverty. But the music suffers, choking in an electronic mishmash. Despite the presence of musicians like Michael Hampton, Dennis Chambers, Eddie Hazel and Maceo Parker, the whole album sounds like one long drum machine and synthesizer jam. Part of the problem is that it's extremely overproduced, with Steve Washington, Doug Wimbish (of Tackhead and later Living Colour) and Thomas Dolby all pulling the album back and forth. You wouldn't presume to find those three guys in the same room, much less on the same album. And it's a shame, because it's one of Clinton's most intersting lyrical works ever. He hits on political issues harder than he had in years, and still manages to stop short of preaching.

"Double Oh-Oh" is a story about a double agent with a cause, and 'causes causes problems', because people only treat their effects. Good singing here, but like on most of the album, it's dominated by the keyboards too much. "Bullet Proof" is another anti-war song, with a funky keyboard line and decently meaty electronic percussion. "Pleasures of Exhaustion" is the album's low point, a meandering electronic mess courtesy of Steve Washington. Clinton's vocal saves it from utter boredom. "Bodyguard" is a decent collaboration between George & Bootsy, extremely silly but fun. A "Knee Deep" style keyboard is prominent. "Bangladesh" is a slow number heavy on strings and horns that wouldn't be out of place on America Eats Its Young. There's even a guitar solo, probably by Blackbyrd.

"Thrashin'" is a Dolby/Clinton collaboration that takes aim at nuclear proliferation, that tells us to 'take cover in the groove.' Michael Hampton has a mostly-buried guitar solo, and the bass playing is excellent. "Some Of My..." is another nuclear fairytale, with great lyrics and concepts (splitting genes/jeans), but an almost all-electronic accompaniment that detracts from the groove.

The album is out of print, but shouldn't be too difficult to find on LP or CD. Don't pay any more than $10 if you see a copy. Great cover art by Pedro Bell, who did all of the Clinton covers.