I just bought this album, for the first time. I've heard some Funk over the years, and I like it. The thing is I never got around to buying any. I finally just said screw it and picked up an album to discover for myself.
Without doing any research, I went out and grabbed Funkadelic's Maggot Brain. Why, you may ask. Well, let me tell you. I could not remember the name of Funkadelic's other related band Parliament at the time, and how can you go wrong with an album called Maggot Brain.
I then sit down and throw the album on for the first time, and my mind gets blown. How did I not know about this album? It's awesome. I mean this is some mind blowing discovery. There's a sense of exploration, a groove to help you get your boogie on, and guitar work that will make you stand up and take notice.
The album opens up with the title track, Maggot Brain.The first thing that caught my eye with 10:18 of instrumental beauty was how much the main melody sounded like an instrumental piece my buddy Matt and I wrote together well over a decade ago. I can also asure you that neither of us had listened to this album at that point. But it doesn't stop there, because I could see Matt busting out the solo that's over top of the melody as well. It's one of those universal constants as far as music goes I guess. A part of the main nerve some might think.
Then somewhere in the middle of the song it slowly starts to morph into little different, and quiet creatures, before coming back and turning into that roaring guitar beast yet again. This is some of the best exploritory music I've heard in a while. It figures it had to be hidden on an album released years before my birth, and out of my knowledge for over twenty years of my own musical listening.
It doesn't matter what song follows the album's title track, it's going to seem totally lame in comparison. That is the only reason I don't overly care for Can You Get To That. While this is a fun little track, it's also a cheap pop song, that's meant to be a little radio friendly, and help get the band some easy play. Over all it's a bit of a stock Motown like song. It sounds like something you might hear from The Jackson 5, or The Four Seasons, or maybe even Marvin Gaye if he was having a take it easy kind of day.
If you wanna get your groove on then you need Hit It And Quit It. This track picks the album right back up, but this time it's the organ that get's all the kick ass soloing, and that's perfectly okay with me. I love a great organ sound, especially when someone knows how to play it. Then it finishes with a bitchin' solo at the end as well. Yeah that's right, I said bitchin' solo.
You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks has a great back and forth, duet sort of thing. Maybe it would be better described as a great lead vocalist and background vocalist vocal repartee. I've cut out all the "Yeah, yeah, Yeah" repeating parts, because they pretty much go through out the song. "If you and your folks love me and my folks like / Me and my folks love you and your folks / If there ever was folks / That ever ever was poor / If you and your thing dig me and my thing / Like me and my thing dig you and your thing / And we all got a thing / Yeah, and it's a very good thing / Ha! But if in our fears, we don't learn to trust each other / And if in our tears, we don't learn to share with your brother / You know that hate is gonna keep on multiplying / And you know that man is gonna keep right on dying / Yeah / Yeah, yeah / The rich got a big piece of this and that / The poor got a big piece of roaches and rats / Can you get to that / Tell me where it's at / Yeah! / Hey! / You want peace / I want peace / They want peace / And the kids need peace / There won't be no peace / The rich got a big piece of this and that / The poor got a big piece of roaches and rats / Can you get to that / Tell me where it's at / If you and your folks loved me and my folks / Like me and my folks love you and your folks / If there ever was folks / That ever ever was poor / If you and your thing dig me and my thing / Like me and my thing dig you and your thing / Then we all got a thing / And it's a very good thing". Then there some more yeahs and the song finishes out. It's very enjoyable to listen to.
Super Stupid, is once again an example of guitar genius. Total Mind blowing awesomeness. I think today guitarists should really pick up this if they want to hear and learn great Hard Rock, or Heavy Metal guitar. It's like Hendrix, meets Van Halen, meets Nugent, but even better still.
Back In Our Minds is a goofy kind of song, with it's odd instrumentation, and weird overall tone. It works in that experimental sort of way, but overall not a song I would go out of my way to listen to.
The original album ends with Wars Of Armageddon, which is 9:43 of sound scape and awesome music. This is one bad ass Funk jam, with a wicked solo blazing through the center. This song it just complete insanity with wild craziness. It's a thought provoking pleasure, that explodes in the end.
With the song Whole Lot Of BS it's easy to see why this is a bonus track on here, and wasn't released on an album. It's okay, but not anything of significance.
You can hear a real Motown Inspiration on I Miss My Baby. I could see many people loving it. It's not my thing. Too much of a typical sappy song. I get it, but I don't feel a need to hear it.
Maggot Brain (Alt Mix) is the same Maggot Brain as before except that the original album mix had the entire band turned down in the mix, so all you mainly heard was this kick ass guitar. Now you hear the rest of the band, and it really doesn't add anything. In some cases I find the other instruments a bit distracting and it's easy to see why George Clinton pulled them down in the mix for the album.
There are two ways to look at this album. One includes the bonus tracks, and the other does not. I choose to look at this album as the seven original tracks, and ignore the three bonus tracks. They are cool for the hardcore fans, and I will admit I do like being able to hear the two different versions of Maggot Brain for comparison, and may even try some audio experiments of my own on the two tracks for further in depth exploration in the future, but in the meantime it's the original album that we care about here. My scoring is based on that, and that alone. If I were to include the bonus tracks it would hurt the content score a bit.
9/10 - content
8/10 - production
8/10 - personal bias