What's Bootsy Doin'?

Bootsy Collins

Columbia, 1988


REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


Without Bootsy Collins, there’d be no Prince. There’d have been no Rick James either. Many, many others who took the P-Funk influence and ran with it would have never gotten close to the flame without taking a bit of Bootsy with them. While it’s true that George Clinton is the Commander In Chief of the Parliament Funkadelic organization, it is equally true that Bootsy was the heart, soul, and sex of the organization, and if anyone fully encapsulated what it was to be truly funkadelic, it was Boosty Collins.

Bootsy first began releasing his solo albums with various line-ups during the mid-‘70s just as the whole P-Funk thang was really taking off. This carried on throughout the late ‘70s into the early stages of the 1980’s. Following the release of The One Giveth, The Count Taketh Away in 1982, Collins took a six-year break from the recording industry. What he did during those years is anyone’s guess, but when he did eventually resurface in 1988, it was with a bangin’ new album that sported a whole new sound for Bootsy.

What’s Bootsy Doin’? also marked his reunion with three prominent P-Funk figures in Bernie Worrell, Fred Wesley, and Gary Cooper, who all pitched in to help create the funk/soul/hip-hop hybrid that we have here. Collins produced the album himself and wrote and recorded it during the middle months of ’88. The album kicks off with a rap reintroducing Bootsy in “Party On Plastic (What’s Bootsy Doin’?),” which is a funk-dance classic that features Bootsy’s famous fuzzed-out bass/electric guitar combo chops. The funniest track on the record is without a doubt the story of the birds and the bees done in Bootsy style, “1st One 2 The Egg Wins (The Human Race).” 

Other funk-outs work a treat, such as the Prince-esque “Shock-It-To-Me” and the pop rocker “Subliminal Seduction (Funk Me Dirty),” featuring some great vocal distortion and some blistering guitar workouts.  “Leakin’” is a fantastic pop track that should have seen some serious chart action and “Save What’s Mine For Me” is a fine example of a mid-tempo love ballad of the day with some chunky bass lines thrown in for good measure. “*ing The Luv Gun” is the hottest track on the album and it fully embraces the hip-hop sound that was just about to breakthrough at the dawn of the next decade into the mainstream. “(I Wannabee) Kissin’ U” and “Love Song” keep the mood of seduction flowing as both feature great vocals by Bootsy and Vicky Vee, as does the sweet tones of the heartfelt ‘Yo-Mama-Loves-Ya.” 

All in all, What’s Bootsy Doin’? remains a classic funk album of the 1980’s and to this day is still my favorite Bootsy album.

Rating: A-

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