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Album Review: The Big Ol' Nasty Getdown - 'Vol. 1'

A Musical Party

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Album Review: The Big Ol' Nasty Getdown - 'Vol. 1'
The Big Ol' Nasty Getdown is an unusual name for a band, but it's also pretty fitting for this vast collective of singers and musicians that includes the legendary George Clinton (of Parliament-Funkadelic fame). The band specializes primarily in Funk, but is also pretty proficient in about half a dozen other music genres, including Soul, hip-hop, rock and country (yes, country). Their debut release, Vol. 1, is a tasty musical gumbo made up of bits and pieces of the best of various musical styles. And as the group's name suggests, this album's a great big party that's open to anyone looking to have a good time.

Variety of Styles

Since George Clinton's one of the more well-known artists who's a member of the Big Ol' Nasty Getdown collective, it might be easy to assume that there's a sort of musical kinship between the Getdown and a couple of the other Funk acts that Clinton's had a hand in over the years: legendary act Parliament-Funkadelic. And while it's true that there are some similarities here and there, there are also a large number of differences. The biggest is that the Getdown is by far more musically diverse and eclectic. While Parliament and Funkadelic are known for their straight-up Soul and Funk, the Getdown has an amazingly impressive variety of styles baked into the 11 songs that make up Vol. 1. The band's self-titled opening song is funkily reminiscent of Fela Kuti's Afrobeat sound, while the love song "I Will Wait for You," with Laura Reed on vocals, has some strong Blues elements. The band even strongly incorporates Jazz on "Away From the World," a song about using one's inner dreams to escape mundane reality and reach inner serenity.
One of the more impressive examples of the depth of the band's musical pool is "Wake Me Up," which is a cross between a Country & Western tune and a Roots rock song, with a little Americana mixed in. The song, which is sung by Ralph Roddenberry and Belita Woods, would fit right in being played on a jukebox in a down South honky-tonk bar.

Extra Fun

Two of the other highly impressive songs on Vol. 1 are "Room 2012," a funky, swinging and rocking jam about kicking it in a hideaway with that special someone while the apocalypse brings the world to an end; and "Amplify," the album's sole hip-hop song. "Room 2012" is made extra fun by the vocal stylings of Reverend Desmond D’Angelo, whose loose and fun vocals makes it seem like he's having the time of his life. And "Amplify," which features rappers Gift of Gab (of the alternative rap duo Blackalicious) and Agent 23. And unlike most of today's hip-hop, the two rappers offer intelligent, witty, rapid-fire lyrics instead of dumbed-down, empty nonsense.
There's a lot to be impressed about with Vol. 1, not the least of which is the fact that several dozen artists contributed their talents to various songs, including the aforementioned George Clinton, who appears on on five of the 11 songs as either a lead or background vocalist; and musicians who have performed with Parliament-Funkadelic, the Meters, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Derek Trucks Band, and many other acts. But despite the album's cornucopia of artists and wide diversity in sounds, Vol. 1 has a solid, cohesive feel to it. And in a world where soild, cohesive bands are on their way to becoming an endangered species because of an increasing over-reliance on technology within the music industry, the Big Ol' Nasty Getdown is a welcome breath of fresh air.
Disclosure: The artist provided free access to this album for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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