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Funk for Friday: Funkadelic, “Maggot Brain”

In previous music posts, I’ve brought up the issue of black music and white artists a number of times. It’s very complicated, and I want to talk about it directly in more detail at some point, but right now I just want to lay some guitar on you:

Funkadelic, “Maggot Brain” – from the album Maggot Brain (1971)

An awesome, withering, spooky/spacey, drug-addled trip down the rabbit hole from a classic 70s funk band… This song blew my mind when I heard it a couple of years ago.  I had no idea what I was listening to – though I did recall hearing it back in the day.  Who the hell is this, I thought?

Funkadelic was the second joint from George Clinton, after his doo wop band The Parliaments, but actually predates the now better know Parliament. A funk band, obviously, like Parliament, but deeply engaged in very direct ways with aspects of rock, specifically with 1970s psychedelic rock. This is a different kind of Detroit sound, one that makes me want to know more about the context that spawned it.  The only major band that is remotely like this is the Bay Area’s own Sly and the Family Stone.  Who are awesome.

So it’s black artists and white music this time, rather than the other way ’round.  But really what it points to is how phony these distinctions are, overall, more to do with marketing – and the messed-up state of race relations in the USA – than music.  Still, with the occasional exception like Lenny Kravitz or Fishbone, it seems far more common these days to find white boys rapping than black kids rocking. Which is a shame.

This track isn’t funky, so posting it as “funk for friday” is a bit of cheat. But it does melt your face off. Which is one way to begin your weekend.  Hmmm – where did I leave my drugs?

For more…

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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Oh - and hello to Jason Isaacs.

The 400 Blows

zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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