Funk of Ages (1990)

Bernie Worrell

Go back up to the P-Funk Solo Work album list.

Track Listing:

Sing {B Worrell, Michael Hampton, David Byrne}  4:34
B.W. Jam {B Worrell, Gary Cooper, Joe Polanco}  3:30
Funk-A-Hall-Licks {B Worrell, W Collins, G Cooper}  5:20
Ain't She Sweet {Yellen, Ager}  5:02
Y-Spy {B Worrell, Steve Jordan, Charley Drayton}  4:27
Real Life Dreams {B Worrell, D Nyce}  4:43
Beware of Dog {B Worrell, Doug Bowne, M Bowne}  2:37
Straight Ahead   
  {B Worrell, Sheila Washington, John Denicola, Patty Maloney, G Small}  3:59
Don't Piss Me Off {B Worrell, Jerry Harrison, C Midnight}  4:26
Volunteered Slavery/Bern's Blues/Outer Spaceways  
	{R Roland}/{B Worrell}/{Sun Ra}  4:45
At Mos' Spheres {B Worrell}  3:55
Real Life Dreams On {B Worrell, D Nyce}  1:39


Synth, Organ, Synth Bass, Lead Vocals: Bernie Worrell
Drums: Steve Ferron
Guitar: Michael Hampton, Jimmy Ripp
Electric Sitar: Jimmy Ripp
Percussion: Larry Fratangelo
Background Vocals: David Byrne, Gary Cooper, Sheila Washington

 "B.W. Jam"
Clavinet, Synth, Synth Bass, Percussion: Bernie Worrell
Drum Programming, Synth Horns, Samples, Sequencing: Joe Polanco, Gary Cooper
Horns: Uptown Horns
Background Vocals: Bernie Worrell, Gary Cooper, Sheila Washington, 
 Steve Washington, Jenny Douglas-McRae

Clavinet, Synth, Organ, Lead Vocals: Bernie Worrell
Bass: Bootsy Collins
Drums: Steve Jordan
Keyboard: Herbie Hancock
Guitar: Keith Richards, Jimmy Ripp, Bootsy Collins
Sax: Maceo Parker
Background Vocals: Gary Cooper, Sheila Washington, Jody Bell, Doug Duffy

 "Ain't She Sweet"
Arrangement: Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins
Piano, Synth Bass: Bernie Worrell
Bass, Drum Programmming: Bootsy Collins
Synth: Bernie Worrell, Herbie Hancock
Percussion: Larry Fratangelo
Banjo: Jimmy Ripp
Vocals: Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins, Gary Cooper

Clavinet, Synth, Organ, Lead Vocals: Bernie Worrell
Drums: Steve Jordan
Bass, Snare, Lap Steel Guitar: Charley Drayton
Guitar: Keith Richards, Steve Jordan
Percussion: Steve Jordan, Charley Drayton
Vocals: Steve Jordan, Gary Cooper, Loren Qualls

 "Real Life Dreams" 
Organ, Clavinet, Synth, Lead Vocals: Bernie Worrell
Drums: Sly Dunbar
Bass: Robbie Shakespeare
Guitar: Jimmy Ripp, Steve Jordan
Percussion: Larry Fratangelo, Gary Cooper
Background Vocals: Sheila Washington, Jody Bell

 "Beware of Dog"
Clavinet, Organ, Synth: Bernie Worrell
Guitar: Vernon Reid
Drums: Doug Bowne
Bass: Jimmy Hawkes
Sax: Maceo Parker

 "Straight Ahead"
Clavinet, Synth, Synth Bass, Lead Vocals: Bernie Worrell
Drums: Steve Ferrone
Guitar: Jimmy Ripp
Bass: Warren McRae
Background Vocals: Gary Cooper, Sheila Washington, Patty Maloney, 
 John Denicola, Michael Camacho, Doug Duffy

 "Don't Piss Me Off"
Synth, Synth Bass, Samples: Bernie Worrell
Lead Vocals: Phoebe Snow, Gary Cooper
Organ: Jerry Harrison
Drums: Dennis Chambers

 "Volunteered Slavery"
Producer: Bill Laswell
Organ, Electric Piano: Bernie Worrell
Vocals: Bernie Worrell, Gary Cooper
Chatan, Conga, Tambourine, Bells: Aiyb Dieng

 "At Mos' Spheres"
Producer: Bill Laswell
Organ: Bernie Worrell

 "Real Life Dreams On"
Organ, Clavinet, Synth: Bernie Worrell
Drums: Sly Dunbar
Bass: Robbie Shakespeare
Guitar: Jimmy Ripp, Steve Jordan
Percussion: Larry Fratangelo, Gary Cooper

The Uptown Horns:
 Alto, Baritone Sax: Crispin Cioe
 Tenor Sax: Arno Hecht
 Trumpet: Paul "Hollywood" Litteral
 Trombone: Robert Funk

Rating: RC: ***1/2


MT: Though I haven't heard any stories as to exactly why this happened... There are two different versions of Bernie Worrell's Funk Of Ages album - with different covers and different track sequences. One has Bernie in pimp attire, shades and holding his hands out with two thumbs up - but I think the majority of copies in circulation actually might be the other one - which has a serious looking close up of him. I have compared the two albums and I remember noticing that they both have the same tracks - but in a different song order.

RC: The "serious" cover has the following track listing: Y-Spy/B.W. Jam/Funk-A-Hall-Licks/Ain't She Sweet/Straight Ahead/Real Life Dreams/Sing/Don't Piss Me Off/Beware of Dog/Volunteered Slavery-Bern's Blues/Outer Spaceways/At Mos' Spheres/Real Life Dreams On

RC: Seven years after his last recording with the P.Funk Mob, Bernie came out with a project that featured his music once again. He had been solo work with a cornucopia of artists in the 80's, including the Talking Heads, Keith Richards, the Golden Palominos, Material, and others collaborating with the Bill Laswell gang. Many of those artists returned the favor and helped out on his first solo album in 12 years. A number of notable P.Funkers were on board as well, including Michael Hampton, Bootsy Collins, Gary 'Mudbone' Cooper, Larry Fratangelo, Maceo Parker, Dennis Chambers and Sheila Washington. The result is an interesting funk stew that neatly incorporates the wide variety of musicians present with his own grooving keyboard greatness. Many of the songs recall bits and pieces of past P.Funk works, but Bernie mainly explores rock and reggae here, with a few notable keyboard experiments. Also welcome is Bernie's extensive lead vocal work. His range is limited, but his soulfulness and expressiveness show through well.

"Sing" is a dreamy, funky rocker that really showcases Bernie's singing. "B.W. Jam" is a funky synth jam with an excellent horn arrangement. It recalls bits of "Flash Light" and "Rubber Duckie". "Funk-A-Hall-Licks" is a huge groove, with rhythm guitar master Keith Richards' stinging chords, Bootsy's fat bottom strokes and Bernie's funked-up lead vocals. Throw in Maceo blowing like he knows how and a reference to "Night Of The Thumpasorous Peoples" and you have a great track. "Ain't She Sweet" is a demented synth-cover of a dixieland song. The best things about it are the percussion and funky bass; it recalls a bit of "A Joyful Process". "Y-Spy" really showcases Keith Richards and the other members of his solo band, the X-Pensive Winos. The sound is almost reggae, with some great chants. "Real Life Dreams" is straight-up reggae, with rhythm kings Sly & Robbie. "Beware Of Dog" is a kick-ass instrumental, a hard rocker (with Living Colour's Vernon Reid) with Maceo blowing again. "Straight Ahead" has some funky clavinet playing and good singing. "Don't Piss Me Off" is very funky, with great singing from Mudbone and a grooving synth bass. "Volunteered Slavery..." is a weird and slow funk/jazz experiment something that would be further explored on later albums. "At Mos' Spheres" is a cover of his own song from Funkadelic's Let's Take It To The Stage, a bit shorter and funkier than the original. "Real Life Dreams On" continues on the rhythm of the earlier tune on the album, closing out the theme.

This album is in print and should be readily available.