By James Calemine
Funkadelic’s fourth album, America Eats Its Young, was released in 1972. North Carolina native George Clinton assembled a formidable musical line-up on this ‘double-album’ that included Gary Shider, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Prakash John, Tyrone Lampkin, Tiki Fulwood, Frank Waddy, Bruce Cassidy and others.
This variegated funk/soul/R&B collection features instrumentation of all kinds–from bass, guitar, drums, keyboards to pedal steel, saxophone, violin, viola, cello and various string arrangements. In the album liner notes, George Clinton wrote: “We are all America; all part of the pain and suffering and the agony of America; all feeding the agony and conflict of America–whether we are for or against or indifferent and unconcerned; whether we care or not.”
Clinton goes on to write: “…America eats its young. But we eat America, pollute it, abuse it, rape it, take from it, destroy it. As we give so do we receive…Christ help us: it’s not easy…The only way is to love our enemies!”
A grooving R&B number, “You Hit The Nail On The Head”, begins the album. Honorable song mentions include the gospel-shaded “Everybody Is Going To Make It This Time” where Clinton sings: “Our mothers and fathers had lives to live/And today is proof that mistakes were made/Our country & cities have been betrayed for money/But the people will make a change.” This song was recorded in 1968 with help from Cream’s Ginger Baker–one of Clinton’s favorite drummers.
Bernie Worrell arranged the strings on “A Joyful Process”, which is borrowed music from the children’s Christian song “Jesus Loves Me”. The sentiment of “Philmore” sneers at a cruel and uncaring woman. “I Call My Baby Pussycat” contends as one of the most out-and-out lustful songs ever composed.
Tunes revolving around the environment include “Biological Speculation” and “Balance” stand true in light of our country’s present concerns. A wicked tune, “Miss Lucifer’s Love”, contains the lines: “She’s The Devil/And I like it.” “Wake Up” closes this vintage recording with a political message that preaches positive change and awareness in the streets.
America Eats Its Young’s message still resonates on the same level…if not more now…as it did almost 50 years ago. This album throws in sex, drugs, rock & roll, politics, religion, nature, business and soul all into one musical cauldron that every American should taste…And Hear!