Bursting onto the Detroit music scene in 1970 was a new type of freaky sound, a band by the name of Funkadelic. Originally the backing band for leader George Clinton's "doo wop" (think The Temptations) group The Parliaments, Funkadelic became Clinton's recording name when he was embroiled in a contract dispute.
Although the sound quality of the debut album is poorer than most (Westbound,..., have yet to remaster the Funkadelic collection, leaving it in a forgotten shambles), the music itself is A material. Funkadelic was VERY wild from the start, acid-laden rock with one psychadelic core (the band's sophomore album, "Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow", continues this psychadelia to new heights). Their debut is very muted and soft compared to the later, heavier Funkadelic songs. It's a mish-mash of musical styles that manages to stay coherent thanks to the band's talent.
"Mommy, What's A Funkadelic?" is a very (and I mean VERY) funky 9-minute jam that opens the album. It has one killer bassline, some excellent guitar, and one witty monologue from Clinton about what his band stands for. It also features some amazing guitar work by what appears to be the late Eddie Hazel, a guitar god in his own right. Recently in concert Clinton and co. opened with "Mommy, What's A Funkadelic," a very cool experience (not to mention that live the bass guitar is deafening).
Following "Mommy" is "I Bet You", a well-written love song with some freaky feedback experiments. Needless to say, this song was covered by the Jackson 5, and is very Motownish in lyrics. However, the aforementioned feedback experiments are a MUCH different sound than that of Motown, crackling like a cricket's chirping before mysteriously echoing away. Very eerie... As is Funkadelic custom, a wild guitar solo makes up the middle of the song.
"Music For My Mother" is an underrated song (for its whiny monologue), but the wah-wah guitar and laid-back atmosphere of the song are perfect. It's a song that grows on you over time.
"I Got A Thing" is the album's best song, a short track that starts with SUBLIME wah-wah guitar. Its lyrics, well-written ones about how all people can/should get along, are inspiring. And although the song begins very relaxed and "empty", in the middle it just jumps right into one of the most insane, unexpected, hardcore bridges ever. Then, the highlight of the song is when Fuzzy Haskins (the singer who became a preacher later) suddenly screams out a lyric, ending the first jam. The song gets relaxed again, but quickly flies into a second jam after the first. For the shortest song on the album, "I Got A Thang" is the best.
"Good Old Music", another very long jam, features one of the coolest drum intros ever and some wild, WILD guitar.
"Qualify and Satisfy" is a great blues tune.
"What is Soul?" closes the album, the trademark early Funkadelic freakout song. Opening with a strange George Clinton monologue, this song is designed to be VERY different; you can hear people taking bong hits in the background. Not to mention the lyrics, describing soul as "a hamhock in your cornflakes." Right.
A near-perfect album, "Funkadelic" won't disappoint.