Bootsy’s elastic transcends on ‘Stretchin’ Out ‘

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Bootsy Collins 1976 Album Stretch in Bootsy’s elastic band has long been considered a funk masterpiece. But what becomes clear all these years later is how the album transcends the genre, weaving together almost countless strains of music into a glorious psychedelic tapestry that spans the 1950s to the present day.

Released on August 6, 1976, the record was the first time the P-Funk bassist had released as a bandleader. As such, it represented the culmination of nearly a decade of hard work and intense musical learning, not to mention drug-fueled free-form cosmic exploration.

William “Bootsy” Collins began his long, weird journey in Cincinnati, where he grew up with a picture of Jimi Hendrix on his bedroom wall, feeling like “as a young black man Jimi Hendrix was like God”. Along with his older brother Phelps “Catfish” Collins and several other local musicians, Bootsy formed a funk band in 1968 when he was 16. brought in the legendary singer, changing his name to JB’s.

The tutorial started immediately. Young Collins loved LSD, peace and love; Brown demanded absolute musical professionalism. “I had lectures every night,” the bassist recalls in 2012. “Which at that time was great. Because I needed it.” It was from Brown that Collins learned perhaps the most important lesson of his musical career: the idea of ​​”The One”. It was Brown’s injunction to “always hit The One, the downbeat. In between, you can play whatever you want to play.” It’s an idea that is at the very heart of Collins’ playing and has made him one of the most influential funk bassists of all time.

Although they were with Brown for less than a year, the original JB performed on a number of his most famous records, including “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “Super Bad” . By 1972, Collins and his compatriots had fallen with another musical genius in George Clinton, the leader of the Parliament-Funkadelic music collective, a group of musicians dedicated to exploring new sonic frontiers, adopting alter egos and having a good time. moment. It was during this time that Collins “took LSD every day for at least two years, until I started to feel like I was living in another world.”

Listen to Bootsy’s Rubber Band’s “I’d Rather Be With You”

Madness paid off, and the band of merry pranksters produced album after album that would become masterpieces. After playing bass on most of them, Collins finally released his in 1976.

Stretch is a tight splendor of 40 minutes and seven songs. It ranges from the classic title track bounce and relatively sparse, horn-driven “Another Point of View” to the slow (and frequently sampled) jam “I’d Prefer Be With You” and bedroom vibes. deep of “Vanish in our Sleep.”

Collins’ play is very present when it needs to be, but just as often he stays low, holding objects under the fireworks. The production – by Collins and Clinton, with Fred Wesley contributing to the brass arrangements – layers multiple instruments and backing vocals to give a cosmic-sized feel that never gets muddy or overly complicated.

Beyond that, however, the album brings together a huge range of artists and influences. Many of Collins’ predecessors are present in spirit and in person. Hendrix’s influence can be heard everywhere (courtesy of his brother Catfish and former P-Funk Garry Shider and Michael Hampton), but on “Physical Love,” echoes of the great John McLaughlin fusion are present. Stevie Wonder’s spiritual presence is also present – check out “Love Vibes” and other tracks reminiscent of the heyday of the 60s Motown.

Even drawing on these disparate influences from Collins’ past, the album also looks to the future. Stretch often sounds like the music Prince would make in a few years, and the guitar and bass lines swapped out in the title song point to the Red Hot Chili Peppers of the early ’90s.

But there are also less obvious links. It is not by chance that Childish Gambino, Beyonce and 2Pac sampled “I’d prefer be With You”, and the more you soak up “Vanish in Our Sleep”, with its melodic lines and its organ work tasteful, the more you start to hear like a classic yacht-rock, played at two-thirds of the speed.

In fact, the more you listen to the album as a whole, the more you begin to realize how much Collins and the band have put their funky imprint on so much music since then. “Funk is the raw ingredient in the essence of all that exists,” Collins said. Listening Stretch in Bootsy’s elastic band, and you will probably agree with it.

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