From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Maggot Brain is a 1971 album by the American funk band Funkadelic. It was released on Westbound Records. The music swings through psychedelia, hard rock, gospel and soul music, with tremendous variation between each track.
- See main article at Maggot Brain (song)
"Can You Get to That"
This song is a departure from the groove-oriented Funkadelic sound and is more of a traditional lyric-based acoustic rock piece. It begins with a descending acoustic guitar line which is joined by piano, bass and drums which support a cast of singers. It is a rewrite of a song by The Parliaments titled, "What You Been Growin'" and is heavily influenced by gospel music stylistically.
Where the Parliaments version was a break-up song, the singer of the Funkadelic version begins with the line 'I once had a life, or rather, life had me' (a possible reference to The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)", which begins with the lines, "I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me?"): rather than a bitter reminiscence about a woman, it becomes an account of the singer's revelation that living on principles of co-operation, sincerity and the principles of karma ('When you base your life on credit and your loving days are done / Checks you sign with love and kisses later come back signed 'Insufficient Funds' ' - interestingly, this line seems to echo part of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech) mark him out from the un-enlightened crowd and exalted his life.
This song has recently been heavily sampled in 2010 song "Rill, Rill" by Sleigh Bells.<ref>""</ref>
- Lead Vocals: Garry Shider
- Backup Vocals: Pat & Diane Lewis, Rose Williams, Ray Davis, Bernie Worrell, George Clinton
- Drums: Fuzzy Haskins
"Hit It and Quit It"
The song feature Bernie Worrell's vocals and organ-playing, as well as an extended Eddie Hazel solo at the end.
- Lead Vocals: Bernie Worrell
"You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks"
Some claim that this song is, lyrically and musically, a sequel to "Hit It And Quit It" (the previous song). It is a very class-conscious song, with the singer pleading for unity among the poor because without doing so, equality could not be achieved.
- Lead Vocals: Billy Bass Nelson
The title of this song refers to a drug addict who buys the wrong drug accidentally. He is also referred to as having a "maggot brain". The verse of the song uses similar combination of rap singing over drum rhythm plus occasional guitar chords as is heard on "Crosstown Traffic" by Jimi Hendrix.
The supergroup Audioslave has done several live covers of this song, the studio version was released on their 2005 single Be Yourself. The song was also covered by Tackhead on their album Strange Things.
- Lead Vocals: Eddie Hazel
"Back in Our Minds"
This song seems to be about the singer and someone else (possibly different races, former lovers or friends) having reconciled and are now "brothers."
- Lead Vocals: George Clinton, Tawl Ross
- Trombone: McKinley Jackson
- Bongos: Eddie "Bongo" Brown
- Jew's Harp: James W. Jackson
"Wars of Armageddon"
The music is a bizarre mix of music and special effects-type sounds, and intelligent, though unusual and abstract, lyrics.
This song is socially conscious, as the singer demands immediate freedom from oppression, as well as "power to the people" (and many more demands, many nonsensical, see above).
Whole Lot of BS
This song is a bonus track on the album, originally released as a non-album B-side to the single "Hit It and Quit It".
I Miss My Baby
This song is another bonus track, originally released as the B-side to an early take of "Baby I Owe You Something Good", which was later reworked for the Let's Take It to the Stage LP. The single was credited to U.S. Music with Funkadelic, as Garry Shider's group US was featured on the recording with Funkadelic playing most of the music.