The title track to Parliament’s second long player is an unadulterated funk primer -- setting the tenure for the band’s rhythm-intensive onslaught. Immediately obvious is the inescapably up front beat, immediately recalling Sly And The Family Stone’s thick and greasy R&B thump. Below the surface is a new opulent texture to the overall production. This includes various spoken interjections, sound effects such as whistles (courtesy of Peter Chase) and a general party-like atmosphere.
The arrangement incorporates a tight, funky precursor to the P-Funk Horny Horns section that blends the aggressive intensity of James Brown’s various J.B.’s and the laid-back groove of the Bay Area based Tower Of Power. A sneaky melodic syncopation provides an interesting aural diversion from the song’s highly repetitive and almost chant-like lyrics. In addition to “Up For The Down Stroke”, the song has also given rise to other P-Funk catch phrases such as “ … let’s take it to the stage …” “ … ain’t nothing but a party y’all” and “ …when your hot, your hot … look at what ‘cha got.”
There are several distinct edits and mixes of the song available. The album version is included on Up For The Down Stroke (1974) as well as the double-disc compile Tear The Roof Off 1974 -- 1980 (1991). The single edit can be found on Parliament’s Greatest Hits (1984) and a previously unissued and extended “alternate version” cropped up on Parliament’s instalment in the 12” Collection And More (1999) series.