CD Review: Funkadelic "First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate"

George Clinton’s messy, three-disc Funkadelic freakfest is a thoroughly modern structure built upon the ghosts of yesteryear, and the results are reliably boombastic and bass-tastic.
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George Clinton’s messy, three-disc Funkadelic freakfest is a thoroughly modern structure built upon the ghosts of yesteryear, and the results are reliably boombastic and bass-tastic. The theme? Folding the flavor of second-and third-generation funksters back into the Mothership, and regenerating immortal Funk Mob DNA with strands of Autotune, hip-hop, and a guest list of legends. Highlights include “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You,” with classic synth bass by G Koop (plus bass by Lige Curry); Anthony Nickels’ velvet groove on “Jolene”; David Lee Spradley’s “Nuclear Dog (Part II)” in-your-face key bass; and “Pole Power,” which features Bedrosian on synth bass and G Koop’s tasty double-stops. G Koop and Jimmy Ali tag-team the head-nodding groove on “Zip It,” and instead of recreating James Jamerson’s classic line on “Bernadette,” Spradley rocks a juicy key-bass part straight from 1985. Rob Manzoli knocks it out of the park on “The Naz,” featuring Sly Stone, and on “Yesterdejavu,” with a riff straight from the classic Funkadelic playbook. True P-Funk bass legends step up to bat, too: “As In” winds the clock back to the ’70s with era-appropriate low end by Cordell “Boogie” Mosson, and the big, active slap tone on “Talking to the Wall”—as well as the goopy goodness on “Where Would I Go”— belong to none other than Rodney “Skeet” Curtis.

The Gate’s sprawl, modern touches, and refreshingly under-produced mix may not appeal to everyone, but it’d be silly for any true funk fan to not visit a house packed with so many juicy goodies. First, though, you gotta shake the gate.

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