The first album that could be called insubstantial in the Parliament-Funkadelic discography.
The outtakes, the B-sides, the cast-offs: for any band, big or small, diving into the trove of jettisoned material is a bit like thrift shopping. Lower your standards and the results can be delightful; hold it to the same high bar and you’ll only find sorrow (most of the time). But what if there are some dubious reasons for the unreleased to be released? The vaults of Clinton’s unending grooves should be a slam dunk. But Kant and Clinton have more in common than you’d think, and intent is the key to Tales of Kidd Funkadelic’s failings.
Westbound Records had released all of Funkadelic’s albums up to Kidd Funkadelic, with The Ohio Players and Clark Sisters being their other big hitters. But Funkadelic were undoubtedly the face of Westbound, even when they weren’t raking in the dough. For every Maggot Brain there was also a Cosmic Slop, with Clinton never providing a consistent Midas touch, but a game of chart-centric Russian roulette. That changed with Mothership Connection which, though on Casablanca, went gold and officially made Clinton’s conglomeration as profitable as it was influential (well, almost).
Though Funkadelic had officially jumped ship before the release of Kidd Funkadelic, the Westbound executives had dollar signs bulging in their eyes. So, they settled on a smash-and-grab job of Funkadelic’s hidden catalog, cranking out a nonsensical, strung together seven songs that should not constitute as a proper album, especially in the midst of this near unprecedented run of excellence. It’s the first album that could be called insubstantial in the Parliament-Funkadelic discography. It is, after all, the goofs too goofy for even these silly mothersuckas.
We’ve got a song called “Butt-To-Buttresuscitation” here which, even by Clinton’s scatological standards, is a bit much. And things go downhill quickly after that brown note envibing opening. Kidd Funkadelic is simply a mess. Parliament/Funkadelic’s best albums slipped into one entrancing groove that flowed between songs. It’s obvious that these tracks were stitched together. The spoken-word, synth heavy groove of “Undisco Kidd” isn’t just a lesser version of “Star Child” but also makes no sense next to the tepid funk-rock of “Take Your Dead Ass Home!” Although we do get the amazing limerick: “He was dreaming of Venus/ And took out his penis/ And woke up with a hand full of goo!”
And, even over this short run time, that’s how Kidd Funkadelic unfortunately goes. Uncoupled, nonsensical castoffs that even an LSD-addled Clinton knew better than to fuck with playing out like parodies of the good shit. The only thing that enters the canon proper is the righteous grove of “I’m Never Gonna Tell It,” which is catchy as it is furious.
Thankfully, this wasn’t a foretelling of a sudden drop off. One Nation Under Groove was cooking up just fine as Kidd was floundering and the solid Hardcore Jollies was released the same year. So just tack on “I’m Never Gonna Tell It” and “Butt-To-Buttresuscitation” (because, come on) to your funk playlist and pretend Westbound Records never made this cash grab.