Bootsy Collins

The One Giveth, the Count Taketh Away

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With the release of the semi-autobiographically titled The One Giveth, The Count Taketh Away (1982), William "Bootsy" Collins (bass/vocals) concluded his eight-year relationship as a Warner Brothers artist. Once again, Collins came armed with a cache of longtime associates, namely sibling Phelps "Catfish" Collins (guitar), Bernie Worrell (keyboards), Robert "P-Nut" Johnson (vocals), and Frankie "Kash" Waddy (drums). Plus, of course, the Horny Horn section with Collins' fellow James Brown and P-Funk alums Maceo Parker (sax) and Fred Wesley (trombone). An added surprise to the assembled ensemble are synth-funksters Midnight Star, who are credited on the rear LP jacket under the heading "Vocalists who helped me make it" -- though not mentioned individually. Other than co-writing the sassy opener "Shine-O-Myte (Rag Popping)," George Clinton is conspicuously absent, with Bootsy listed as producer. Worrell's keyboards bop and groove over Bootsy and chorus -- the latter of which sound like they are chanting in the linguistically tricky syllabic word game commonly referred to as "Pig Latin." Collins' lead vocal proves he has lost none of the sly charm and trademark lyrical wit. His delivery of "Shine-O-Myte" is a callback to the catch-phrase of Jimmie Walker's character J.J. Evans on the hit sitcom Good Times. Bootsy must have been spending too much time in front of the television, as "Landshark (Just When You Thought It Was Safe)" is an unmistakable homage to Chevy Chase's parody during the first few seasons of Saturday Night Live. After quoting a few bars from John Williams' "Main Theme" for the film Jaws (1975), a full blown funk-a-thon breaks out with a noticeable sonic nod to the P-Funk songbook staple "Do That Stuff" from the Horny Horns. The age old concept of "The One" [read: placing the emphasis on the first or downbeat] dates back to a technique that Bootsy first observed and then perfected during his tenure with James Brown. Here he revisits it on the tongue-in-cheek cinematic spoof "Countracula (This One's for You)." Other selections worthy of multiple spins are the askew ballad "Ex-Con of Love," and the slow churning "So Nice You Name Him Twice." Saving what is undeniably the strongest material for the closer, "Take a Lickin' And Keep on Kickin'" -- sporting a title derived from yet another television slogan -- is a return to the full-blown party atmosphere that permeated Collins' earlier Rubber Band endeavors. Finally, the frisky and instrumental-centric "Funky Funktioneer" could easily be mistaken for a Prince performance circa Controversy (1981), especially given Worrell's penchant for piercing synth keyboard stabs coupled with Bootsy's swooping and swirling basslines.

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