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Bootsy Collins - World Wide Funk (Album Review)

Wednesday, 01 November 2017 Written by Jacob Brookman

Bootsy Collins is an American musical institution. A career that spans the J.B.’s, Parliament and Funkadelic now includes his ninth solo album, and while ‘World Wide Funk’ demonstrates his world-class talent in varied bandleading, the real meat in this funk sandwich is in the high energy, old-school grooves.

As with 2011’s ‘The Funk Capital of the World’, ‘World Wide Funk’ calls on a melee of musical cameos to create an effect that is both confusing and compelling.

The album races out of the traps with Pusherman, Bass-Rigged-System and the title track all offering up simmering, seamless grooves alongside fabulous gang vocals.

On these songs they are handled most notably by Doug E. Fresh, Iggy Pop, Blvckseeds and Alissia Benveniste, and they promote that distinctive funk community sound last seen at the top of the charts courtesy of Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson.

But the album struggles when easing off. Heaven Yes and Hi-On-Heels are smooth cuts that veer too close to middlebrow sleaze, and while Ladies Night has a compelling rhythm, the textures and production position it untidily in the early ‘00s.

Bootsy’s work has a marvellous vintage (he is 66), but sometimes updating his sound results in naff misfires. On the top of that, the raps are often a little pedestrian from MCs who feel like talented session players as opposed to top-drawer poets.

That said, ‘World Wide Funk’ is probably the most energetic album you will hear from a performer of pensionable age. Bootsy was first inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of fame in 1997 - a full 20 years ago. If he is still producing music of this quality and energy in another 20 years we can consider ourselves very blessed indeed.

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