In 2004, Entertainment Weekly ran a feature article on music's buried treasures, those rare or unreleased albums not yet reissued in the reissue era. The piece singled out By Way Of The Drum, Funkadelic's "trippy unknown gem" from the late 1980s that even P-Funk founder George Clinton had ost to the ages. Fusing "psychedelic rock and body-shaking drum-machine beats," the album, recorded for MCA Records, was expected to bring Funkadelic back in the wake of Clinton's solo success with "Atomic Dog." But after the title song was issued as a single that went nowhere, the LP release was cancelled. Fans found snatches of tracks through the underground. But the full album has never seen the light of day.
Fans, and readers and editors of EW, the drums have finally seen the light. Following "Atomic Dog," a variety of bad deals had capsized Parliament-Funkadelic. Yet Clinton found the means to stay in the studio. He retained a small core of loyalists and eager proteges to record this LP, including vocalists Gary Shider, Donnie Sterling and Mallia Franklin; and keyboardist/ programmers David "Chong" Spradley, Loic Gambas and Amp Fiddler.
Modern technology replaced the traditional bass and drums of Funkadelic past but the soaring guitars are alive and well. DeWayne "Blackbird" McKnight plays all the parts on the torridly funky and out-there cover of Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love" and teams with the late Eddie Hazel for the twisting guitar parts on "Some Fresh Delic," which is a continuation of "Sunshine"'s rhythm track. Clinton reinvented his solo hits "Double Oh-Oh" and "Nubian Nut" into "Freaks Bearing Gifts," "By Way Of The Drum" and "Primal Instinct." His son, Tracey, a.k.a. Trey Lewd, takes the mic on "YaDaDaDa."
Only the 12-inch single of "By Way Of The Drum" was issued, with Jeff Lorber-produced overdubs, angering Clinton. Then MCA changed their mind on issuing the LP. Fast-forward 20 years, when the Universal tape vault is turned inside out and the finished album is discovered.
For those beatmakers out there, this cd also contains an 'a cappella' amongst other glorious tracks.