Bootsy Collins - World Wide Funk
A growling introduction from Iggy Pop proclaiming, “Bootsy Collins was born a long, long time ago in a subterranean cavern full of shining dinosaurs deep below the Ohio River…”, sets the scene for World Wide Funk, which explodes onto your speakers like an explosion in a Skittles factory and lets you into the gloriously crazy mind of its creator Bootsy Collins. With a wealth of collaborators old and new, Bootsy’s first studio album since 2011’s The Funk Capital of the World gives us the familiar Bootsy/Parliament sound with a modern reboot. It marks an evolution for Bootsy with him creating an online community to collaborate on this record for those who could not contribute in person at his Cincinnati home base, dubbed the ‘Bootzilla Re-hab Studio’.
From the bombastic body slamming title track and album opener combined with furious guitar shredding courtesy of former Guns N Roses Slash replacement, Buckethead, and through to album closer ‘Illusions’, the energy barely lets up with contributions from legends such as Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, Dru Down, Blvck Seeds, and Nashville slide guitar hero Justin Johnson. Musically, it’s the kind of mix you expect from someone eclectic as Bootsy with additions of Rock and Pop RnB, but all of it anchored by Bootsy’s distinctive Bass acting as a lead guitar and providing the key groove to each track. Highlights include the triple bass attack of ‘Bass-Rigged System’ which is not as Spinal Tap as that might sound, ‘Pusherman’s take on evolution from a feminist perspective, the none too subtle food porn groove of ‘Hot Saucer’, and the demented ‘Boomerang’ which sees a collision of Bluegrass and Funk, two musical genres I never thought I’d see collide. But perhaps once is enough.
Overall, the album is a glorious statement from Bootsy proving that at 65 years old he can still command such respect that artists will fall over themselves to work with him for 30 seconds on one track. The roster of collaborators is so vast that it at times does threaten to overshadow World Wide Funk as you try to catch the snippets of the contributions, but this is still firmly Bootsy’s show. A touch too long at over an hour, but it is a glimpse into the silly-serious world of Bootsy, and can be best summed up by the man himself - “I've never really been concerned about what others thought about me or my music, as long as it made you feel good & sexy, like them old house parties, sharing a coke and a smile while doing a bump and grind.”