What are some essential funk albums

Bootsy Collins

World Wide Funk: the new album

On October 27, 2017, “World Wide Funk” (Mascot Records) was the first studio album by funk legend Bootsy Collins since 2011.

Recorded in his house in Cincinnati, Bootsy invited a whole group of artist friends for the album: blue-chip rappers like Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Quik, Dru Down and Chuck D, along with guitar shredders Buckethead. And as if this colorful group weren't crazy enough, there are also guest appearances by bass legends like Victor Wooten or Stanley Clarke.

We have the first single "Worth My While" for you here:

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Who is Bootsy Collins? - biography

William "Bootsy" Collins, who was born on October 26, 1951 in Cincinnati, Ohio, played in the clubs of Cincinnati when he was 13 in his brother's nine-year-old brother's band. The boys soon got the job as the house rhythm section of the record company "King Records" and recorded for their artists and accompanied them to concerts.

Bootsy Collins and James Brown

When James Brown was recording there with his own band, Bootsy and the like hung around to watch the master and, as fate would have it, Brown's bassist did not show up one day. Bootsy was rehearsing with the band and was amazed when he heard himself on the radio a week later - the tape was on!

A few months later, Brown and his band had a dispute over financial matters; in a night-and-fog operation he fired the old troop and let the "King Records" band fly in with his private jet. Bootsy gave the music of the “Godfather” a groundbreaking refreshment with his lively, driving style, his P-Bass gave songs like “Sex Machine” or “Talking Loud and Saying Nothing” the decisive kick.

Even during the long tour with Brown, Bootsy had the idea of ​​doing something of his own and completely crazy, and when there was trouble again because of the money, he and the whole band with him quit the service to go under the name " House Guests ”to tour the Midwest. They performed in wild, extraterrestrial costumes, and Bootsy - inspired by Jimi Hendrix - chased his bass through as many effects devices and amplifiers as possible.

Playalong and karaoke versions of James Brown's classic “Sex Machine” with Bootsy Collins on bass can be found in our Playalong shop!

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Funkadelic and Parliament

A few months later, the "house guests" replaced the original staff of Georg Clinton's Funkadelic, a no less freaky band, which resulted in a long collaboration between Bootsy and Clinton: Bootsy was the trained hairdresser as bassist and supplier of musical ideas for his bands Parliament and Funkadelic (in the collective term later referred to as P-Funk) to the side, Clinton in turn actively supported him a few years later at the start of his solo career.

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After his time as a sideman with James Brown, the second important phase in Bootsy Collins ‘career came - P-Funk. At the time, this music was part of the Afro-American civic movement and an expression of the new self-confidence, also of the musicians. The wild mixture of soul, gospel and rock created a rather rough sound that became known as P-Funk. It's less about sophisticated arrangements and more about pure funk energy and a colorful show that could sometimes be quite chaotic. Unusual costumes and huge bands turned the performances of the most famous representatives of this era, Parliament and Funkadelic, into almost spiritual happenings. Bootsy Collins found his own form of expression within this movement with his Rubber Band, and can therefore be described as one of the most important representatives of this genre alongside George Clinton.

The term P-Funk can be interpreted in different ways, the most likely to be understood as Pure-Funk. Further interpretations can be found in the origins of George Clinton and the band Parliament from Plainfield, New Jersey. The names Parliament and Funkadelic could also be combined to form P-Funk.

Even if the pure P-Funk has gradually gathered some dust, and George Clinton's performances these days leave a somewhat questionable feeling, the essence of funk music is still very much alive and will certainly remain so for a very long time.

Bootsy Collins today

In 2004 Bootsy Collins announced that he no longer wanted to play live, which can perhaps also be understood as an insight that this music has passed its zenith. But he's still active as a producer, and collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Fatboy Slim, Mousse T. and even Stefan Raab show that the P-Funk vibe is still in demand today.

Bootsy Collins live on tour 2018?

Bootsy Collins stayed true to his 2004 announcement that he would no longer play live. No tour is planned for 2018 either. If you still want to experience the funk bassist live, Bootsy Collins live albums with the Rubber Band are recommended:

  • Live in Louisville 1978 (1998)
  • Live in Oklahoma 1976 (2001)
  • Live in Concert 1998 (2006)

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An interview with Bootsy Collins

Shortly after the release of Bootsy Collins ’penultimate studio album" Tha Funk Capital of the World ", in 2011 Guitar & Bass conducted an interview with the dazzling funk-bass legend and Grand-Master-Of-Funk. Bootsy spoke about his time at James Brown and Funkadelic and what he took away from these important years for his career.

Do you remember the feeling when you got the job in the James Brown Band? What memories are you coming up with?

Bootsy Collins: (laughs to himself) Man ... wow! James Brown was like a father figure to all of us. Everything we played was under his total control, his special discipline. It was like being in the army. Woe to you if your shoes weren't polished! I came out of the gutter back then, a young, rebellious, skinny guy who didn't have a father at home. I respected James a lot, but on the other hand, I didn't give a shit about what he wanted from me. However, that changed completely over time. I had a lot to learn. I sensed that this was the great opportunity that you only get once in a lifetime. Playing for James Brown was a huge honor and recognition. But I had to get that first. Ultimately, I learned my lessons, even if I didn't even notice it at first.

Give us an example.

Bootsy Collins: If we had played cool, I mean that people danced in their seats and freaked out, James would come into our cloakroom afterwards and grumble we'd screwed up today. We would have played right wrong, really bad, honestly. "We did not do it tonight!" He yelled. "We were not on the one!" I thought that was silly until I understood later: if he put us down like that, we only tried harder. We all got better and better over time, while he kept berating us for not taking place on stage! (laughs) That was his twisted psychology! And ultimately his form of love. He wanted to drive us to get stronger and better. I am infinitely grateful to him for that today.

This was followed by your great time with George Clinton's band projects Funkadelic, Parliament and The Bridges Of Funkenstein.

Bootsy Collins: Oooooooooh yeah! Man! George was the exact opposite. He also knew what we can do and wanted to get the best out of us. He just didn't care how we felt, what clothes we wore and whether our shoes were polished or not. "Come like you wanna come" he said to us. I got to know both extremes, so to speak, the philosophies of two great band leaders. But to be honest: George's easy-going manner was more my thing! Through him I was able to show who I am and what I can do.

How many inquiries do you get from musicians who want to work with you each month today?

Bootsy Collins: (laughs his head off) Man! I can't count it, honestly! Inquiries come in every day, non-stop. That's more than I could ever play. I try to answer everything, do what I can - especially through Funkuniversity. For many, it's not just about playing, but about finding out who I am and what I stand for. Especially for the young people who are not very familiar with funk, it is important to give an example of how wonderful this music is. I love it when I see the youngsters, how seriously they make music and how they put their passion into it. I may be able to help you recognize your strengths. And in turn it makes me aware of what I have achieved in my life.

Have you ever tried to imagine what you would sound like with a double bass?

Bootsy Collins: (laughs his head off) Hey, that's good! I'll tell you something: When I was at school, I played the clarinet. After school, my music teacher let me play his double bass. It didn't really fascinate me because the electric bass was extremely popular and that was what I wanted to play. I wanted to be like my idol James Jamerson (1936-1983, American studio bass player on countless Motown productions). He also played the double bass first, then switched to the electric bass. That's what I wanted to sound like! At the time I was practicing a lot and orienting myself towards him. It was also an exciting time. A lot of things were changing right now. The music became more modern, wilder, different. But don't get me wrong: I still love the sound of a double bass to this day. Jazz bassist Ron Carter also appeared on my album, on a tribute song to all the great jazz masters. And Ron participated on his double bass - and how! Man, he really killed that upright bass! (laughs)

What would you advise a young bassist to do?

Bootsy Collins: First I would advise him to find his own style: Listen to a lot of music, go to concerts, have a look around! And then try to develop your own handwriting. There is no way you should copy me! (laughs) Be creative! Get the funk!

(first published in guitar & bass 05/2011)

Do you want an interview with Bootsy Collins? In 2010, Guitar & Bass spoke to the dazzling exceptional bassist at the Frankfurt Music Fair. Download the interview with Bootsy Collins as an audio file for free and find out how he felt about his time in his brother's band and how James Brown changed his life.

Bootsy Collins and David Sanborn

In 1989 Bootsy Collins appeared on the American late-night show Night Music, which was moderated by pianist Jools Holland and saxophonist David Sanborn. Sanborn insisted on picking up the saxophone and accompanying Bootsy on his hit "Stretching Out", which you can enjoy in the following video!

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Style and sound of Mr. Funk Bass

At the time of P-Funk, Bootsy began to develop his pronounced penchant for clowning, which is still expressed today in adventurous costumes and crazy instruments. Bootsy Collins can never be found without his disguise, his star sunglasses, his star bass with countless pickups, his hats and robes are simply part of his outfit. For some Europeans this outfit may be a little too thick, but the American show tradition is different. You love the glitter, and the content can become a minor matter behind the show.

Bootsy also lives out this clowning with his rubber band, although it has to be said that the musical quality does not suffer from it, which you cannot always say about other P-Funkers once you have seen him live.

Bootsy Collins is almost two meters tall, and therefore has large hands that make it easy for him to overstretch his gripping fingers. For normal mortals, this hyperextension may be almost impossible.

The all-time classic "Sex Machine" from 1970 is mainly carried by James Brown's spoken vocals and the groove. Bootsy's bassline is as simple as it is ingenious. With essentially three tones, it gives the groove a strong pulse, the forward move of which never seems to end. This groove is like a wave that constantly sloshes up and down, and thus, like a swing, takes on new momentum again and again.

In the 1997 song "Penetration (In Funk We Trust)" you can hear the raw power of P-Funk music. While the drums play a very simple, rested down-to-earth beat in medium tempo, the bass hammers a fat funk groove over it in slap style. P-Funk is never about virtuosity, it's just about groove.

Bootsy Collins equipment

For optical and technical reasons, Bootsy had the “Star Bass” built, an instrument with a star-shaped body and three pickups: from three outputs he was able to send a multitude of - as he calls them - “underwater sounds” to 18 (!) Speakers that were driven by nine power amplifiers.

You want to know how the cheap RockBass version of the Signature model fares in the big guitar & bass test? Then click here and learn more about the Warwick RockBass Bootsy Collins Space Bass!

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Are Snoop Dogg and Bootsy Collins related?

If you search the Internet for Bootsy Collins, you will repeatedly come across the question in forums whether he and Snoop Dogg are related.

The fact is: Bootsy and Snoop Dogg already worked together in 2002 on the song “Undercova Funk (Give Up the Funk)” from the film “Undercover Brother”. And the man who is also known as Snoop Doggy Dogg or Snoop Lion is also involved in the new album “World Wide Funk” (2017).

In addition, one often reads that Bootsy is Snoop's uncle, since Bootsy says in the video for the song “Play with Bootsy” at minute 0:11 “What's up, nephew Snoop?”. Also on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) you can read in the profile of Snoop Dogg that he is the nephew of Bootsy Collins, the legendary funk bassist and member of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic.

However, many users oppose this and lead the wrong track back to a kind of "rapper slang" that gives no indication of the actual relationship.

So this mystery will probably never be completely solved, because Bootsy and Snoop Dogg will also find a little pleasure in leaving the fans in the dark.

Bootsy Collins on TV Total

On April 5, 2011, Bootsy Collins was a guest on Stefan Raab's popular TV Total program for the second time. This time to present his 2011 album “Tha Funk Capital of the World”.

You can find the entire performance in theProSieben TV Total media library.

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Bootsy's (New) Rubber Band

  • Stretchin ’Out In Bootsy’s Rubber Band (1976)
  • Ahh ... The Name is Bootsy, baby! (1977)
  • Bootsy? Player of the Year (1978)
  • This Boot Is Made for Fonk-N (1979)
  • Jungle Bass (1990)
  • Blasters of the Universe (1994)
  • Keepin 'Dah Funk Alive 4-1995 (1995)
  • Live in Louisville 1978 (1998)
  • Live in Oklahoma 1976 (2001)
  • Live in Concert 1998 (2006)

Bootsy Collins solo

  • Ultra Wave (1980)
  • The One Giveth, the Count Taketh Away (1982)
  • What’s Bootsy Doin ’? (1988)
  • Fresh Outta "P" University (1997)
  • Play with Bootsy (2002)
  • Christmas Is 4 Ever (2006)
  • The Official Boot-Legged-Bootsy-CD (2009)
  • Tha Funk Capital of the World (2011)
  • World Wide Funk (2017)

Bootsy & Others (selection)

  • Sweat Band: Sweat Band (1980)
  • Herbie Hancock: Perfect Machine (1988)
  • Slapback: Fast Food Funkateers (1992)
  • Practice: Transmutation (1992)
  • Zillatron: Lord of the Harvest (1994)
  • Practice: Sacrifist (1994)
  • Johnnie Taylor: Lifetime (2000)
  • Science Faxtion: Living on Another Frequency (2008)

Authors: Tommi Lindemann (guitar & bass 10/1999), Emanuel Stanley (guitar & bass 11 & 12/2015)