Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Funkadelic—
Hit It And Quit It/A Whole Lot Of B.S.


Released 1972 on Westbound
The Seth Man, November 2002ce
In the wake of the drugged-out and disgruntled disintegration of Funkadelic in the later months of 1971, George Clinton set about restoring the departed, core group lineup of Eddie Hazel, Tawl Ross, Billy Nelson and Tiki Fulwood into a different group altogether. Retaining keyboardist Bernie Worrell, he added into the newly reconstituted fold Gary Shider on guitar, bassist Cordell “Boogie” Mosson and Tyrone Lampkin on drums. Lodged in between their previous “Maggot Brain” album and what would be their highly uneven double album “America Eats Its Young,” Clinton released a stop gap single that reflected the stylistic shift in Funkadelic at this time. And although both songs sprung forth from jam sessions, they split off into completely different realms of the Funkadelic spectrum: From the slow and low slung honey-dripping, hip swivel funk of “Hit It And Quit” from “Maggot Brain” (fading right at Hazel’s guitar solo coda) to the flipside of “A Whole Lot Of B.S.” which was far lighter and bouncier an offering from the now post-psychedelic and new model Funkadelic as it landed square in the pure goofball terrain of Clintonian anarchy. Clinton’s own vocals are mischievously sped up to kiddie-sugar-buzz-running-off-at-the-mouth proportions as he rapidly heaps disdain on unnatural additives like polyunsaturates, cyclamates, formaldehyde and something he just made up called “vitamin DDT.” Jeeringly suggesting to “brush your teeth with rat poison” as if in direct opposition to Grace Slick’s pro-additives lyrics from The Airplane’s “Eat Starch, Mom” of the same year.

“A whole lotta Bee Ess… Jus’ a lotta Bee Ess…A whole lotta Bee Ess” runs the mantra chorus repeated so often, even if Clinton’s vocal hadn’t been tweaked to such an unreal degree it still would be prankish and wiseass as hell. And the musical track follows suit by being just as unmercifully sped up, sounding like the groove uncle of “Step On” by The Happy Mondays but faster: especially in the manner of Worrell’s piano cluster colourations as well as the impossibly quick strokes of Tyrone Lampkin’s snare and cymbal hits. But no human could play drums that accurate and fast. Someone once compared his style to that of Billy Cobham, but I remained unconvinced. So I wound up playing the 45 at 33 and a third speed so I could pick out some of the more difficult lyrics (like the brilliant summary of all those man-made ingredients: “It turned you on in twelve ways/None could set you free”) and what do you know: the music was paced and sounded for all the world like “Steal Your Face”-era Grateful Dead albeit with vocals too obviously low. Intrigued, I put it back on 45 and adjusted the revolution to a variable speed somewhere that and 33 1/3. The vocals sounded fine until the line about “brushing you teeth with rat poison” because it my hand trembled with laughter and caused my precariously placed fingers to edge off the edge of the platter and everything emitting out of the speakers not only went -- WHEEEOU! -- rocketing back up to its former velocity in the stratosphere because the tone arm bounced up and then down -- right on the beat and in the pocket, no less...and that ain’t no B.S.


Note:
Both sides of this single were issued on the double Funkadelic compilation “Music For My Mother”: a complete collection of their singles on the Westbound label along with some unissued tracks. Although sonically weaker than the original Westbound singles, it does have an inlay booklet with the largest amassed gathering of information extant on Funkadelic.