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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Clinton Administration

One Nation Under a Regroove

Review by Gary Hill

George Clinton, both as a driving force behind Parliament Funkadelic (and its variants) and solo, has certainly been one of the most adventurous and powerful forces in funk music for many years, delivering music that captivates and entertains, while testing the boundaries of its musical form. So, it may seem fairly obvious that someone might come along to do their own take on his work. The project here seeks to bring modern sampling and hip-hop sensibilities along with a jam band purely instrumental take to cuts that Clinton wrote. The result is a bit of a mixed bag.

First, they have to get some points for the awesome name they have given the band. It definitely is great to hear these tunes in a fresh light, too. That said, much of the CD seems to have a sameness to it, and it is a bit too laid back in a lot of places. In other words, this might make for good light background music, but it seems a bit too sedate for a party atmosphere, or to just sit down to listen for a while. I found myself wanting to hear the originals after making my way through this. Still, for those whose tastes wander more to light jazz, this might be a great introduction to the works of Clinton. I have to add that the Hawkwindish space rock textures that are interspersed here were a nice addition for this reviewer.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
One Nation Under a Regroove
The group turns this into a smooth jazz jam. They manage to retain the funky texture while bringing in some nice electronic overtones.
(Not Just) Knee Deep
Cool effects start this, then the beat drops, and the jam is on. This one is very jazzy in the horn arrangement, and feels just a bit Latin in flavor at times. It includes a great piano solo, and is the first song that shows signs of Hawkwindishness, especially as the instrumental excursion becomes more intense.
Cosmic Slop
Percussion starts this smooth jam that is just good mid-tempoed fun with a jazz flavor. It has some Hawkish moments in the overlayers, and the guitar gets a rather crunchy as the cut intensifies.
Flashlight
One of the quintessential P Funk tunes, this is an energetic and entertaining number as delivered here. The main chorus riff is still a strong winner and well preserved. This one makes for a definite standout on the CD. It gets very intense and hard-edged as it carries forward and is another that has slight Hawkish textures. The bass gets the chance at a tasty solo on this extended piece.
Pop Gun (Endangered Species)
This smooth jazz adventure is one of the funkiest on the album.
Mothership Connection (Star Child)
This almost feels like Stevie Wonder as done here. The sax solo section is more smooth jazz.
Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)
This has a spacey texture at times, but they certainly do give up the funk. This is another that sometimes has a Stevie Wonderish texture.
Up For The Down Stroke
Not exceptionally unique, this is another fun and funky groove.
Chocolate City
Another solid bass groove starts this jam. After about three-minutes in the smooth format it takes on Hawkwind-like textures from time to time. Then a piano solo dominates the cut for a while. The last couple of minutes are especially space rock oriented, and it gets rather weird.
Hit It and Quit It
This one is another strong funk groove that features a great retro sounding organ solo. It becomes quite intense in its fusion-oriented jamming.
 
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