Thursday, March 4, 2010

Playlist: We want Bootsy!

Bootsy Collins is cooking up something in his kitchen, y’all. He has been tweeting about various folks coming to Cincinnati and working on his new album... like Snoop Dogg, Cornel West and Béla Fleck.

Last week Bootsy wrote: “I just talked to Sheila E. about playing her Drums and Percussions on the New Album, STAY TUNED COULD GET FUNKY, REAL SOON.”

In the meantime between time... let’s have our own little Bootsy party right here.

’Twas 40 years ago that William “Bootsy” Collins, at the tender age of 18, was thrust into the limelight as James Brown’s new bass player. Bootsy was hired, along with his young bandmates, when Mr. Brown fired his old musicians in a dispute over money.

Several years later, Bootsy was taken under wing by George Clinton and became a primary architect of P-Funk. Bootsy Collins quickly evolved from songwriter and session musician to one of America’s most flamboyant stage performers.

I’m streaming some choice cuts on my Vox blog, tracing Bootsy’s path to glory. Click the titles to listen. (And if your computer speakers don’t deliver the low end... I recommend earbuds. Seriously.)

1. “Super Bad” (live) – James Brown

Here’s Bootsy backing the Godfather of Soul at a 1971 Paris concert. Bootsy also played on the hit single version of “Super Bad.” Hot hot high-energy bass line.

2. “What So Never the Dance, Pts. 1 & 2” – House Guests

Bootsy and his boys only stayed with James Brown for one year. Generation gap type thing. J.B. was like the stern stepfather, and Bootsy was doing stuff like dropping acid.

After leaving the James Brown camp, Bootsy and his band called themselves House Guests. This is one of two singles the House Guests released in 1971.

3. “Together” – Parliament

Bootsy first hooked up with G. Clinton in 1971, contributing to the Funkadelic double-album “America Eats Its Young.” Bootsy soon departed, but he rejoined P-Funk in time for Parliament’s 1974 debut on Casablanca Records – “Up for the Down Stroke.” And he was home to stay.

This track (written by Bootsy) is from the 1975 “Chocolate City” LP. Bootsy flexes with a Mu-Tron effects pedal. Around this time he started rocking a custom-made star-shaped “space bass”... and Bootsy’s reputation soared as a musician and as a showman.

As he told Bass Player magazine a few years ago: “Once I discovered the Mu-Tron... I could almost talk through my instrument.” (To hear Bootsy’s original version of “Together,” minus the Mu-Tron and minus G. Clinton’s vocal polishing, click here.)

4. “Disco Lady” – Johnnie Taylor

Bet most of you didn’t know Bootsy played on this 1976 smash hit, which was the first single ever to be certified platinum (meaning 2 million units shipped).

On loan to Detroit producer Don Davis (along with fellow P-Funkers Bernie Worrell and Glen Goins), Bootsy didn’t stretch out on this track. Kept it in the pocket for the most part.

Coincidentally, while “Disco Lady” was dominating the singles charts, Bootsy’s Rubber Band released its debut album on Warner Bros. Records. Bootsy was about to become a hit-maker in his own right.

5. “Freak to Freak” – Sweat Band

Bootsy Collins flourished in partnership with George Clinton as a songwriter and producer. In 1980 Bootsy co-wrote and produced this track for Clinton’s new label, Uncle Jam Records. All the old heads remember.


junebug said...

Yabba dabba DOOZY, Baba!!!!! What's Bootsy doin'? Cookin' up hot FONK, that's what! More Bootsy trivia: as you know, he also played drums on Flashlight. Something you may not know: He wrote the theme song for a WB cartoon called "Loonatics Unleashed" AND in one episode, even voiced the MAIN VILLAIN! A cat named "Boots", spreadin' evil funk throughout the Galaxy! Here's a clip of the 1st part of the episode:!v=qER8-2LdlQE

The WHOLE episode is online, in fact. Give it a look. Oh-okay, BYE!

rreginald hudlin said...

Whew, good job UBM. Bootsy's career has so many highlights that it must have been tough to narrow it down.

Here's five more:

1. His iniation into P.Funk was giving them the bassline to COSMIC SLOP.

The greatness that is his first single STRETCHING OUT IN A RUBBER BAND - nuff said.

His funky bassline for GROOVE IS IN THE HEART.

the sampling of his work in Digital Underground's HUMPTY DANCE.

His great vocal performance in the documentary film STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ And don't forget the ballads, Reg. I once made my own mix CD of Bootsy ballads. Love that slow stuff.

bklyn6 said...

Bootsy didn’t stretch out on this track. Kept it in the pocket for the most part.

Snap. I had no idea that's Bootsy on "Disco Lady." :-) Thanks for the playlist, UBM.

Thanks for the tidbit and the link junebug. :-)

Undercover Black Man said...

Yeah, junebug, thanks for that clip. I never knew!

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I can't wait for the man to bring the funk!

Reginald Hudlin said...

The minute I finished the list I instantly regretted not putting any ballads down (like I said, hard to summarize his achievements). In later years, VERY YES and AS IN "I LOVE YOU" have replaced PHYSICAL LOVE and RATHER BE WITH YOU in heavy rotation in that particular catagory.

But my favorite Bootsy slow jam moment was when I used the instrumental PREVIEW SIDE TOO as a temp track in one of my films and a PA asked why I used Pink Floyd in that scene. I love the connections that honest ears make.

junebug said...

No problemo, baby-babas.

papasean said...

Hey UBM, check this out and get your funk on! Together (original version)

Undercover Black Man said...

^ My deepest thanks to you, papasean!

Someone hooked me up in the '90s with a cassette dub... and I always thought it was a demo. They actually put this version out on a record??

Nice track... but what a difference that Mu-Tron makes.