Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow is the second studio album by American funk band Funkadelic, released in July 1970 on Westbound Records. The inspiration for this album was, according to George Clinton, an attempt to "see if we can cut a whole album while we're all tripping on acid."
The album and its title track, a feedback-drenched number taking a third of the album's length, introduces the subversion of Christian themes explored on later songs, describing a mystical approach to salvation in which "the Kingdom of Heaven is within" and achievable through freeing one's mind, after which one's ass will follow. Many of the songs (such as the title track and "Eulogy and Light") subvert Christian themes, including the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm.
The album's gatefold cover forms something of a visual pun, echoing the sentiments of the album title. The sight of a woman holding her arms towards heaven in an ecstatic pose is subverted upon opening the sleeve to find that she is nude.
On the Billboard Music Charts (North America), Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow peaked at #11 on the Black Albums Chart and #92 on the Pop Albums chart. The album and eponymous song influenced the band En Vogue, leading to the title of their hit song "Free Your Mind".
It's one of the best titles in modern musical history, for song and for album, and as a call to arms mentally and physically the promise of funk was never so perfectly stated. If it were just a title then there'd be little more to say, but happily, Free Your Mind lives up to it throughout as another example of Funkadelic getting busy and taking everyone with it.
The title track itself kicks things off with rumbling industrial noises and space alien sound effects, before a call-and-response chant between deep and chirpy voices brings the concept to full life. As the response voices say, "The kingdom of heaven is within!" The low and dirty groove rumbles along for ten minutes of dark fun, with Bernie Worrell turning in a great keyboard solo toward the end -- listening to it, one gets the feeling that if Can were this naturally funky, they'd end up sounding like this. From there the band makes its way through a total of six songs, ranging from the good to astoundingly great. "Funky Dollar Bill" is the other standout track from the proceedings, with a great, throw-it-down chorus and rhythm and a sharp, cutting lyric that's as good to think about as it is to sing out loud.
The closing "Eulogy and Light," meanwhile, predates Prince with its backward masking and somewhat altered version of the Lord's Prayer and Psalm 23. At other points, even if the song is a little more straightforward, there's something worthwhile about it, like the random stereo panning and Eddie Hazel's insane guitar soloing on "I Wanna Know If It's Good for You," with more zoned and stoned keyboard work from Worrell to top things off. The amount of drugs going down for these sessions in particular must have been notable, but the end results make it worthy.
01."Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow" (George Clinton (lead vocals), Ray Davis, Eddie Hazel) - 10:04 minutes
02."Friday Night, August 14th" (Clinton, Hazel, Billy Bass Nelson (lead vocals)) - 5:21 minutes
03."Funky Dollar Bill" (Clinton, Davis, Hazel, Tawl Ross (lead vocals)) - 3:15 minutes (released as a single-Westbound 175)
04."I Wanna Know If It's Good to You?" (Clinton, Clarence Haskins, Hazel (lead vocals), Nelson (also lead vocals)) 5:59 minutes (released as a single-Westbound 167)
05."Some More" (Clinton, Ernie Harris, Hazel (lead vocals)) - 2:56 minutes
06."Eulogy and Light" (Clinton (lead vocals), Harris) - 3:31 minutes
Lead vocals are noted by superscripts: (a) George Clinton, (b) Billy Bass Nelson, (c) Eddie Hazel, (d) Tawl Ross
07."Fish, Chips and Sweat" - 3:22 minutes
08."Free Your Mind Radio Advert" - 0:55 minutes
09."I Wanna Know If It's Good to You" - 2:50 minutes
10."I Wanna Know If It's Good to You (instrumental)" - 3:12 minutes