Friday, December 3, 2010

Funkateers Rejoice - By Way Of The Drum

originally posted 4.28.07
In 1989 I lived in New London,CT, worked as a roofer, DJ'ed at WCNI (Connecticut College), and lived in a house with 4 other DJ's from the station. All of us were long past finishing or getting kicked out of college. Needless to say music was pretty important to us and I learned an awful lot there.

The characters were: Me, Mr.P-Funk, Hip Hop guy (listening then:X-clan, James Brown,PE,Black Heat); Rob: By day an accountant, by night a hard drinking, indie rock animal. (Slint,Fetchin' Bones); Greg: Mr.Acoustic, listener to all things americana. (Doc Watson,Johnson Mountain Boys);Tim (we called him King Tubby), muckety muck at WCNI and all around collector of "good" music, but specializing in reggae;Tapes: the sound guy at the local music haunt, The El N' Gee, where over the years many of todays MOG heroes paid some dues. Tapes had all those shows,over 1,000 in his collection. (The Reducers, Joe Louis Walker).

I probably would've stayed in this music cocoon for eternity, except that New London was a military sub building town and peace was breaking out all over the world and folks didn't want to buy any more submarines. So as good a time as I was having (and I was having a very good time), the town was running about 50% unemployment. This eventually led to a lay off for me from the roofing job I had. There I was in music nirvana, but I had no job.

Unemployment did not stop me from going to the local Strawberries and picking up a new Funkadelic single I'd read about called By Way of the Drum. It said all the right things on the back, produced by George Clinton, Eddie Hazel-Guitar, and from the forthcoming album,By Way of the Drum. Now he're was something to save that government check for! I waited and waited for this record, so long I almost forgot about it, so long that I moved from New London (unemployment ran out).

I ended up in Chicago, a new phase in my life and eventually the P-Funk machine started up again with tours, George Clinton Albums, and a renewed interest in all things funky. My move to Chicago forced me to dump all my 12" vinyl including, By Way of the Drum, and with my first music biz job and all my new surroundings I finally forgot about the "lost" Funkadelic LP.

I am now, almost 20 years on, happy to report that By Way of the Drum, has been found! Re-issued by Hip-O Select and currently only available on line, I now have the CD in my grubby little hands, and for me, that is a very cool thing. I'm not going to tell you that Drum is on the level with classics like Maggot Brain or even Uncle Jam Wants You, but it is different (in a good way) from material The Mob released in the late 80's- early 90's. The 80's sounding drums and synths are in full effect, but the guitars are hard and up in the mix a lot more. "Sunshine of Your Love "(one of the only covers I've ever seen on a legit Funkadelic record) and 'Some Fresh Delic" feature guitar goodness from Hazel,Hampton, and McKnight, and the rest of the LP is certainly not de void of funk with hip hop styles very much present. In the end, if you are not a fan, this prolly ain't for you, but if you are it is a good day.Funk on,children.

Highlights from By Way Of The Drum

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