The Westbound Years

by: Junie

After leaving the Ohio Players -- upon signing to Mercury -- and prior to joining Funkadelic for One Nation Under a Groove, Junie Morrison recorded a trilogy of albums for Westbound, Funkadelic's original label. A talented arranger, songwriter, singer, and keyboard player, Junie handled everything but the horn and string arrangements on his records -- those were done under the supervision of Johnny Trudell and David Van De Pitte (with help from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra string section). This set is compiled from the When We Do, Freeze, and Suzie Super Groupie albums, and also includes the added unreleased track "Junie's Ultimate Departure." In encountering the tunes after so many years, it is amazing to hear the similarities between Junie and Sly Stone -- the musicality and tight arrangements, the underlying backbeat funk underlying the in-your-face rhythms, and the place of texture in the melodic construction of any tune. Just check out "Walt's Third Trip" or "Johnny Carson Samba" for examples. His psychedelic chops were plentiful too, as evidenced by the title track of When We Do. Lenny Kravitz ripped off this cat's bag wholesale on his album. "Cookies Will Get You" is something Frank Zappa might have written had he any concept of the funk. In all, with the exception of a couple of stinker ballads here that are included only to show Junie's "diversity" (and he couldn't write a ballad for sh*t), this is a stellar comp. Fans of P-Funk and Sly as well as Rick James' punk funk will be right at home here in the court of the sophisticated but nasty funk. ~ Thom Jurek

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.