Thursday, May 14, 2009

Go On Maggot Brain





















"Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time
For y'all have knocked her up...
I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe
I was not offended
For I knew I had to rise above it all
Or drown in my own shit...."

An amazing piece of music. Legend has is the band had taken acid before the recording started, but that´s not all. Funkadelic mastermind George Clinton famously asked guitarist Eddie Hazel to play at first as if he had just heard that his mother had died, and then as if he had heard she was in fact still alive. Hazel obliges with gusto, trying to out-Hendrix our Jimi with a cosmic six string symphony of epic proportions. Mother earth dies screaming, while Hazel´s guitar weeps and weeps.

The moment he realises his mom didn´t perish after all is quite hard to determine, but it could be roughly around the 6.50 mark, when after a quieter spell the pace picks up again and the guitar soon starts soaring anew. And that would be the same moment, in Funkadelic myth, where an ordinary maggot has become a maggot brain, meaning it´s able to rise above all the bullshit in the world...

To start off an album with a track like this, risking to alienate an audience looking for da funk, takes guts.

"Come on Maggot Brain...
Go on Maggot Brain..."

Fear not though, funkateers. Apart from the title track, the Maggot Brain monster (´71) means funk with a big P. Just check out the ultra-catchy Can You Get To That for proof.

And last but not least, there´s an alternate take of Maggot Brain doing the rounds, found as a bonus track on the cd reissue. Clinton mixed the band way low in the mix on the final master, but on this version the band is far more audible, which makes for a much mellower listening experience. Nice, but I´ll take the naked truth any time.

Funkadelic - Maggot Brain MP3
Funkadelic - Can You Get To That MP3
Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (alt. mix) MP3

12 comments:

LD said...

Dude, you're on fucking fire!!! Maggot Brain is a desert-island disc for me, no questions asked. And while I love the story of George asking Eddie to play for his mama, I've always thought the song itself was about Vietnam. The "third pregnancy" seems like a sly reference to World War III and the playing seems analogous to the world's final battle. Ragnarok, Armageddon, etc. Good ol' apocalypse, nothing beats that!

As far as the reissues go, I've been reluctant to get 'em because I heard what you said, that they fucked up the mix. It was already kinda lysergically fucked up, but I liked that about it. Maggot Brain is its own wacked-out, gloriously funky universe.

Ramone666 said...

An apocalyptic desert island disc indeed. Btw: you must have gotten me wrong Lance, I never claimed they fucked up the mix on the reissue. They merely added a completely different mix of the title track.

LD said...

My bad. I remember now. It was the Amazon reviews of the reissues. Some P-Funk obsessive wrote a 10,000 word treatise on each album, but pointed out the inferiority of the new mix. Well, I don't want a new mix. I like the old mix. It's like reissuing Casablanca ... FINALLY IN COLOR!!!

LD said...

Heh heh. Sorry for dropping so many F-bombs. I'm taking new allergy medication and I notice under 'side effects' it says, "May turn user into Bill Hicks."

Ramone666 said...

You´re welcome to drop the bomb here anytime.

Thomas Paine said...

Fucking awesome! I can't believe that I had not heard this before (or perhaps that when I did, I was too wasted for it to be retained in memory).

Southern Man said...

without question, one of my favorite (thereby making it one of THE best) albums of all time...thanks for posting the alt.mix.

bigsteveno said...

Wasn't a 7" with the 'alt. mix' version of Maggot Brain included as a bonus with a later Funkadelic LP? One nation Under a Groove maybe?

Ramone666 said...

That´s right Big Steve. But that´s another version altogether, from ´78 and with Michael Hampton (Hazel´s successor) on guitar. It came with the One Nation Under A Groove album. Don´t have it myself.

bigsteveno said...

Silly me ... the mp3's are right there appended to my vinyl rip of the rest of One Nation. I have the other songs of the 7" too -- Lunchmeataphobia ('Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet') and P.E. Squad/Doo Doo Chasers ["Going All-the-Way-Off" Instrumental Versi]. I can share if you're interested.

Ramone666 said...

Wouldn´t mind an mp3 of your alt version of Maggot, so I can put it up here too.

bigsteveno said...

I gmailed you the file.