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Published: 2003/05/28
by Brian Ferdman

One Nation Under A Re-Groove – The Clinton Administration

Magnatude Records 2301-2
Tribute albums follow a simple mathematical formula. For example, one might
take a groundbreaking funk band and their excellent repertoire of innovative
music. Then he might unleash that music onto a combination of legendary
funk musicians and young lions of the groove. The result should be a
powerful mix of inspired play and fresh interpretations of old classics.
The combination of DJ Logic, Skerik, Robert Walter, Melvin Gibbs, Clyde
Stubblefield, Phil Upchurch, and Chuck Prada playing the music of
Parliament-Funkadelic sounds great on paper. Unfortunately, something went
awry in the mathematical equation of The Clinton Administration’s
One Nation Under a Re-Groove, because this album is flat, stale, and
downright disappointing.
It’s almost hard to believe that musicians of this impressive pedigree can
produce something so lifeless. Musically, notes are
too precise, and nearly every phrase is squared-off, removing the unique
rhythm that is essential to funk. Producer Brian Brinkerhoff creates a
sound that is so alarmingly clean and antiseptic that some cuts from this
album belong on the local smooth jazz radio station. The music lacks
grittiness, edge, and courage.
The experimentation and daring that have marked these musicians’ fine
careers seems to have flown right out the recording studio window. It is
absolutely shocking to hear typical wildman Skerik deliver restrained,
sterile sax leads, while Melvin Gibbs plays some of the most straight-ahead
bass of his career. Only DJ Logic is able to carve out some interesting
territory, but many of his excursions result in a mere wash of sound that is
less than stimulating.
That’s not to say that the entire album is beyond terrible. "Flash Light"
is probably the best track because the musicians seem as though they’re
actually having a good time, led by Walter’s playful organ. For a brief
moment, the shackles come off, the hair comes down, and little baby teeth
slowly inch their way into the groove. "Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off
The Sucker)" and "Get Up On The Downstroke" have their all-too-brief
moments, as well, but there is honestly very little on this album that rises
above the territory of muzak.
Recording a tribute album to Parliament-Funkadelic was a nice idea with a
lot of promise. However, somewhere along the way, the participants forgot
how to enjoy themselves and chose to play it safe, resulting in an
album that reflects the seemingly stifled creativity of these musicians at
work.

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