Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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***1/2

BOOTSY'S RUBBER BAND
Stretchin' Out in Bootsy's Rubber Band
Collectors' Choice

**1/2

BOOTSY'S RUBBER BAND
This Boot Is Made for Fonk-n
Collectors' Choice

***

BOOTSY
Ultra Wave
Collectors' Choice

***

WILLIAM "BOOTSY" COLLINS
The One Giveth, the Count Taketh Away
Collectors' Choice

Casper, Bootzilla and all their pals return to discographic life at last

With four albums under their own name and another pair under two of the leader's many solo sobriquets, Bootsy's Rubber Band was the star spin-off of George Clinton's ever-permuting Parliament-Funkadelic brand. The concept was cartoon music for tweens, with Bootsy Collins's bass more limber than lubricious, Bernie Worrell's synth squiggling whipped cream everywhere and voices high, higher and highest--the original chipmunk funk, only squirrelly. These reissues do bypass the band's two already-available gold albums, but--what the hell-even Bootsy's best records are too sonically uniform to satisfy like a first-rate P-Funk CD. The 1976 debut Stretchin' tops this competition more with wandering ballads than with deep pulse. Fonk-N is long on stale jokes and automatic grooves that run out before the six-minute mark. Ultra Wave declares independence with its billing and its light, lighthearted beats. The One Giveth provides shorter track lengths and pop-crafted songs to match. And then there's the one to buy: the Back in the Day best-of--still in print, and it don't stop.

Blender, Mar. 2008