The Class of 1974: Funkadelic: ‘Standing On the Verge of Getting It On’

In the 12-year span from 1970 to 1981, the Parliafunkadelicment Thang produced 21 studio albums. Parliament/Funkadelic were one of the greatest touring bands in the 1970s along with The Grateful Dead and whatever band was backing Frank Zappa at the time. Despite little radio airplay for years, albums from each of George Clinton’s two bands, just alter egos of each other for the most part, were highly prized.

After the eponymous Funkadelic debut in 1970, the follow-up later that year made a splash with Free Your Mind…And Your Ass Will Follow. Similarly, the second Parliament album, Up for the Downstroke (1974), put them firmly on the map. However, it was the follow-up, 1975’s Mothership Connection, that hit the airwaves with an explosion. Funkadelic wouldn’t dent the album charts that way until One Nation Under a Groove (1978).

The whole Funkadelic catalog was fabulous, from Maggot Brain (1971) and America Eats Its Young (1972) through Cosmic Slop (1973). So what about the album that followed a year later?

At the time, Standing On the Verge of Getting It On did not catch as much attention as, say, Maggot Brain. But it contained one song later covered by hundreds of bands, another song often covered, one long psychedelic outing, and some of the best guitar funk that this band ever produced. And it marked the last appearance by master guitarist Eddie Hazel on a Funkadelic album (although we were fortunate to get Hazel’s solo gem Games Dames and Guitar Thangs in 1977).



BERNARD (BERNIE) WORRELL: Spaced Viking, keyboards & vocals
CALVIN SIMON: Tenor vocals, congas & suave personality
CLARENCE ‘FUZZY’ HASKINS: an prototype werewolf, berserker octave vocals
C. ‘BOOGIE’ MOSSON: World’s Only Black Leprechaun, bass & vocals
EDDIE ‘SMEDLEY SMORGANOFF’ HAZEL: Maggoteer lead/solo guitar and vocals
GARY SHIDER: Rhythm/lead guitar, down vocals, sinister grin
GEORGE CLINTON: Supreme Maggot Minister of Funkadelia, vocals, manic froth & spit, Behavior illegal in several states
R. ‘TIKI’ FULWOOD: Percussion & vocals, Equipped with stereo armpits
RON BRYKOWSKI: Rhythm/lead guitar, polyester soul-powered token white devil
‘SHADY’ GRADY THOMAS: Registered and licensed genie, vocals
RAY (STINGRAY) DAVIS: Subterranean bass vocals, supercool & stinky fingers
GUEST FUNKADELIANS: Gary Bronson, drums; Jimmy Calhoun, bass; Leon Patillo, piano; Tyrone Lampkin, drums

Inside cover right

SOTVOGIO was the sixth of eight Funkadelic albums on the Westbound label, issued July 10, 1974. The cover was one of two dozen the late Pedro Bell produced for George Clinton, one of his nine Funkadelic covers. And, as Bell included on the back cover:



The first song, “Red Hot Mama,” is preceded by a soliloquy that appears several times in the Funkadelic canon:

A luscious bitch she is, true
But it’s not nice to fool mother nature
The proud mother of god like all ho’s
Is jealous of her own shadow
Who is this young Vic Tanny bitch
Who wish to be queen for a day?
Who would sacrifice the great grandsons and daughters of her jealous
By sucking their brain until their ability to think was amputated
By pimping their instincts
Until they were fat, horny and strung-out
In a neurotic attempt to be queen of the universe
Who is this bitch?

The first time this surfaced was on the title track to America Eats Its Young, where the slowed down voice is overshadowed by the instrumental playing simultaneously. For this appearance, there is no musical distraction. The first reading is in a speeded-up cartoon voice which gets interrupted. Then the original slowed-down version follows.

The instant the voice finishes with “Who is this bitch?”, Eddie Hazel on guitar, Bernie Worrell on clavinet, and the boys immediately throw down that oh-so-familiar intro to “Red Hot Mama.” Hazel is blazing, and the vocals are red hot.

Red hot mama lookin’ to the city
Taxi dancers and big time spenders
She’s been groovin’
Red hot mama was gettin’ down
Scoping the places where fun to be found
She was smokin’

Finally, they just cut Hazel loose. Then Clinton says, “Play, boy,” and Hazel obliges. DAMN!

Back in the day, most Funkadelic shows opened with “Cosmic Slop,” one of the greatest songs ever. However, in 1980, on the Gloryhallastoopid tour, Clinton was absent (at least from the show I attended). And the show began with “Alice in My Fantasies,” track 2 on the album. There’s a world of music tucked into this 2:22 package. The band comes out roaring, Worrell on Hammond B3, and after two stanzas Hazel again comes blazing in on top of a riff you’ve heard countless bands cop. Also, there is this imagery:

Alice in my fantasies
Promised to do all kind of things to me
Said she would, uh, suck my soul if I’d lick her emotion
And that I would even owe her my devotion

I said, “Uh, lady, be my dog and I’ll be your tree
And you can pee on me.”
Mama said never eat yellow snow
So away we go!

Hazel. Seriously, if you want the best introduction to this amazing string-bender, this album is it. “I’ll Stay” is a gorgeous ballad laced with Hazel’s guitar sustain stating the melody. Worrell’s grand piano strikes the perfect balance, and the harmony vocals are deluxe.

“Sexy Ways” is a bouncy soul song that is the most innocent track on the album. The band and vocals again rule.



“Standing On the Verge of Getting It On” begins with 25 seconds of silliness harking back to “Alice in My Fantasies”:

Hey lady won’t you be my dog and I’ll be your tree
And you can pee on me
Hey lady won’t you be my dog and I’ll be your tree
And you can pee on me
Hey lady won’t you be my dog and I’ll be your tree
And you can pee on me
We will do you no harm, other than pee in your afro
Hey lady won’t you be my dog and I’ll be your tree
And you can pee on me

And then begins the title track, as great a funk anthem as Funkadelic ever performed. (There is a stunning 29-minute medley from a show 10.07.95 in Gainesville where Clinton and the band wove ten other songs into the fabric of “SOTVOGIO.”) The drums from Gary Bronson and Tyrone Lampkin and Cordell ‘Boogie’ Mosson’s bass are relentless. In concert and here, this was distinctly a ‘Fuzzy’ Haskins vocal feature. The essence is this:

Even if you don’t dig it
Don’t mean it’s not the thing or thing to do
It could be just for you

You really shouldn’t ought to fight it
The music is designed to do no harm
We’re just for you

People, what you doing?
Standing on the verge of gettin’ it on
Really gettin’ it on

“Jimmy’s Got a Little Bit of Bitch in Him” broaches a different subject:

Jimmy’s got a little bit of bitch in him
The bitch in him
Upsets the Jim
Jimmy’s got a little bit of bitch in him
The bitch in him
Outweighs the Jim
Jimmy’s got a little bit of she in he
But when he pee, he see

Reality can be a-hard
But then again it can be a-swinging
Like I said, depending on the angle of the dangle
Increased by the heat of the meat
And with the proposition that all men are not created equal
So why frown?
Even the sun go down
We’ll call it mixed emotions for now

Inside cover left

It’s a bouncy, uptempo rock tune with a great chorus and coy vocals.

Finally, after a 3:30 instrumental at slow tempo once again featuring Eddie Hazel’s guitar wizardry, Clinton offers up “Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts,” hitting a number of recurring themes with that deep, slowed-down voice:

Travel like a king
Listen to the inner voice
A higher wisdom is at work for you
Conquering the stumbling blocks come easier
When the conqueror is in tune with the infinite
Every ending is a new beginning
Life is an endless unfoldment
Change your mind, and you change your relation to time

You can find the answer
The solution lies within the problem
The answer is in every question
Dig it?
An attitude is all you need to rise and walk away
Inspire yourself
Your life is yours
It fits you like your skin

The oak sleeps in the acorn
The giant sequoia tree sleeps in its tiny seed
The bird waits in the egg
God waits for his unfoldment in man
Fly on, children
Play on

You gravitate to that which you secretly love most
You meet in life the exact reproduction of your own thoughts
There is no chance, coincidence or accident
In a world ruled by law and divine order
You rise as high as your dominant aspiration
You descend to the level of your lowest concept of your self
Free your mind and your ass will follow

The infinite intelligence within you knows the answers
Its nature is to respond to your thoughts
Be careful of the thought-seeds you plant in the garden of your mind
For seeds grow after their kind

Play on, children

Every thought felt as true
Or allowed to be accepted as true by your conscious mind
Takes roots in your subconscious
Blossoms sooner or later into an act
And bears its own fruit
Good thoughts bring forth good fruit
Bullshit thoughts rot your meat
Think right, and you can fly
The kingdom of heaven is within
Free your mind, and your ass will follow

Play on, children
Sing on, lady


Start to finish, you won’t find a more solid Funkadelic album than this gem. “It could be just for you.” After all, you’re “Standing on the verge of gettin’ it on, Really gettin’ it on!”

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