Bootsy Collins - World Wide Funk (2017)

Bootsy Collins
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Bootsy Collins - World Wide Funk 

World Wide Funk is an appropriate title for William “Bootsy” Collins’ new project – his first album since 2011’s Funk Capital of the World. Bootsy is a legend who attracts collaborators like a porch light draws moths. Bootsy’s collaborators on World Wide Funk include those who can rightfully be called the best in the world, such as fellow bass legends Stanley Clarke, Victor Wooten and newcomers Alissa Benveniste and Manou Gallo. While Bootsy is devoted to the bass, he provides ample space to six string practitioners such as Eric Gales and Buckethead.

Bootsy Collins - World Wide Funk 

World Wide Funk is an appropriate title for William “Bootsy” Collins’ new project – his first album since 2011’s Funk Capital of the World. Bootsy is a legend who attracts collaborators like a porch light draws moths. Bootsy’s collaborators on World Wide Funk include those who can rightfully be called the best in the world, such as fellow bass legends Stanley Clarke, Victor Wooten and newcomers Alissa Benveniste and Manou Gallo. While Bootsy is devoted to the bass, he provides ample space to six string practitioners such as Eric Gales and Buckethead.

Bootsy tapped veteran vocalists such as Musiq Soulchild as well as fresh faces like Tyshawn Colquitt, who also hails from Cincinnati. The Rhinestone Rockstar added international flavor to World Wide Funk with Gallo, is from the Ivory Coast and Columbian born vocalist Kali Uchis. Bootsy’s influence has been felt deeply in the hip-hop world, and rappers representing both coasts, including Big Daddy Kane and MC Eiht, appear on World Wide Funk.

Collins even gives a special cameo to his friend and long-time bandmate keyboardist Bernie Worrell, who died in 2016, on the track “Salute to Bernie.” That track features keyboard tracks recorded by Worrell in the early 2000s. Rather than saying that Worrell died or passed away, Bootsy says that his old friend ‘changed frequency,” and deploying those spacy keyboards that Worrell played so effectively for Parliament and Bootsy’s Rubber Band gives “Salute to Bernie” the atmospherics of a guy playing a church organ on the international space station.

Bootsy’s hard driving thumping bass has long energized up-tempo tracks, but he may be one of his generation’s underrated balladeers, as anyone who has heard “As In I Love You” or “What’s a Telephone Bill” can attest. Bootsy enhances his funky love man reputation on World Wide Funk with three: “Heaven Yes,” “High Heels” and “Worth My While.” “Heaven Yes” is a track that will find welcome ears among urban adult contemporary fans with its jazz influenced piano and sax solos as well as some smooth funk bass work. “High Heels” finds Bootsy pairing with Empire star October London and fusing those contemporary R&B hip-hop production techniques along that style of rap-singing with an ease that might surprise some – considering that Booty has been in the music game for five plus decades. “Worth My While” pairs Bootsy with Uchis, and with Collins’ bass digging deep and grinding slow it is probably the track that is most spiritually connected to classic cuts such as “I’d Rather Be With You.”

There is plenty of material on this album for those who prefer booty shaking to belly rubbing: “Hot Saucer” is a rangy dance track that mashes up funk, slashing rock guitars the lyrical flow of Big Daddy Kane, and Musiq Soulchild branching out from the ballads and mid-tempo romantic tracks that have been his stock and trade on a track where he promises to serve his lady a dish of good loving. The bouncy “Boomerang” combines some hard core funk with the blues rock of guitarist Justin Johnson, while MC Eiht’s laid back west coast rap style serves as the ying to the energetic vocal stylings of the ladies of Blvck Seeds on “Ladies Night.”

Bootsy Collins first came to our attention as a bass player for James Brown from 1970-71. That year was an education, and Bootsy never stopped learning and teaching. It is that openness as well as the greatness of his music that continues to draw generations of artists into his orbit. And on World Wide Funk, Bootsy once again shows he is that master of the funk universe. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

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