Mon. Dec. 10, 2018

Funkadelic – (Not Just) Knee Deep (Warner Bros.)

Most Wanted! Funkadelic – (Not Just) Knee Deep (Warner Bros.)

A native of Newark, NJ, Thomas Grady got himself into the circuit back in the late 50’s as a member of George Clinton led Doo-Wop group The Parliaments. A combo which would give birth later on to both Parliament and Funkadelic. Two entities whose respective line-ups varied upon circumstances along with time and eventually disagreements or disputes.

With Parliament getting to the forefront in the second half of the 70’s, a growing tension could be felt between members of the combos. This resulting in Grady‘s departure from the venture back in 1977, after financial and management disputes with Clinton. Funkadelic releasing their biggest album ever – ‘One Nation Under A Groove’ – the year after. Itself followed by the 1979 ‘Uncle Jam Wants You’ album which includes the electronic flavored ‘(Not Just) Kneep Deep’. The latter standing as one of the group’s signature jams. And, in the meantime, as a P-Funk anthem…

‘(Not Just) Knee Deep’ displays a rare infectiousness. With thanks to Bootsy Collins‘ drumming and Walter “Junie” Morrison‘s stellar synths lines. Not to mention the presence of former Spinners lead singer Philippé Wynne sharing the duties on lead vocals…

Unsurprisingly, countless artists sampled ‘(Not Just) Knee Deep’ along with time. Beginning with De La Soul on the memorable ‘Me, Myself & I’, and Tone Lōc (‘Funky Cold Medina’).

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Overview
Kinda hard figuring George Clinton gave birth to Funkadelic with the aim to target a Rock audience. Even though the psychedelic ‘Maggot Brain’ tends to be the proof of that. The unnamed backing section of George Clinton‘s Doo-Wop group The Parliaments while on tour, Funkadelic saw the light by the mid 60’s.

Eventually signing their first record deal with Westbound Records in 1968. And counting Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix among their major influences… Funkadelic first came up with a hard guitar-driven mix of Psychedelic Rock, Soul and Funk. Thus designated as a more experimental and freestyle guitar-based Funk band in comparison with twin group Parliament. With the latter using the same line-up of talents as a matter of fact. Although geared towards a more mainstream Funk dominated by soulful vocals and horn arrangements.

Funkadelic saw the arrival of an impressive array of talents along with its evolution. From Bootsy Collins to Bernie Worrell and Eddie Hazel. But also Thomas Grady and Clarence ‘Fuzzy’ Haskins to name a few. The group pretty much reached their peak by the end of the 70’s. At a time they’d already switched from Westbound to Warner. Scoring their biggest successes with ‘One Nation Under A Groove’, the title track of their 1978 album of the likes. Then the year after with ‘(Not Just) Knee Deep’ from their ‘Uncle Jam Wants You’ album. A cut featuring former Spinners lead singer Philippé Wynne. Meanwhile ‘Atomic Dog’, although recorded by the band, would finally appear in 1982 on the Clinton‘s ‘Computer Games’ album for Capitol.

Homeless after the release of their ‘The Electric Spanking Of War Babies’ album on Warner back in 1981, Funkadelic eventually resurfaced 13 years after. This on Japanese label P-Vine with the ‘Parliament – Funkadelic, P-Funk All Stars – Presents Dope ‘ album.

‘First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate’, their last album to date, saw the light back in 2014. A 3CD set which featured luminaries such as Sly Stone, Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker. Not to mention Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and Nu-Disco famous Soul Clap. With the latter releasing ‘In Da Kar’ featuring Sly Stone on their Soul Clap Records label. And Louie Vega eventually remixing the boiling ‘Ain’t That Funkin Kinda Hard On You?’ which we welcomed as our Single Of The Week at the time…

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