|Standing on the Verge of Getting It On|
|Studio album by|
|Released||July 10th, 1974|
|Genre||Funk, soul, psychedelic rock|
|Christgau's Record Guide||B+|
|Rolling Stone||favorable (1975)|
On this album, the lyrics generally take a backseat to the music and the jamming. It is one of the most popular Funkadelic albums among fans, and considered an essential album for fans of lead guitarist Eddie Hazel. Hazel co-wrote all of the album's songs, although the songwriting credits were mostly in the name of Grace Cook, Hazel's mother (a gambit by Hazel to avoid contractual difficulties with the publishing rights).
Note: on songs 2-7, Eddie Hazel's songwriting credit was in the name of his mother, Grace Cook.
(all the below is from the liner notes)
This song is a remake of a song by Parliament while the band was signed to Invictus Records. The title of this song has been spelled in three different ways on various Parliaments, Funkadelic, and Parliament releases that have featured a version of the song, with the final word being spelled as "Mama," "Mamma," or "Momma."
The song begins with a spoken word intro that seems to be describing a woman who has the effect of rendering a person unFunky (see P Funk mythology). This intro first appeared in the Funkadelic song "America Eats Its Young", but in this song is played sped up, then slowed down. The second section is sung and includes the second quote above as the refrain. It is not clear whether the first woman is the same as the "Red Hot Mama" from the second section. It is said that Eddie Hazel was asked to play the solo like Jimi Hendrix.
The guitar solo and jam that conclude this song were continued in the studio, and ended up as a B-side titled "Vital Juices," featuring guitar work by Eddie Hazel and Ron Bykowski. That track is found on Westbound compilation CD Music For Your Mother: Funkadelic 45s as well as the recent CD reissue of the original album.
Birthed during Funkadelic concerts as far back as 1971, this song was originally an instrumental jam that was regularly improvised on stage. An early, much longer, and then-untitled instrumental version can be found on the 1996 live release Live: Meadowbrook, Rochester, Michigan - 12 September 1971. The version on Standing on the Verge of Getting It On features the same bassline and guitar riffs from Eddie Hazel (often borrowing from Jimi Hendrix's "Izabella"), plus new vocals by George Clinton, and minus the psychedelic keyboard section by Bernie Worrell.
A rare outtake version of the song (circulating around the internet under the album name "The Ultimate Turd") continues where the glaring fade-out occurs on the album; in the outtake version the band continues to jam for an extra 30 to 40 seconds before suddenly stopping.
Alice is apparently trying to seduce the singer, but he is apparently unwilling to sleep with her. No reason is explicitly given, but it can be inferred that he is unwilling because she will demand a commitment ("The freak said I would even owe her my devotion"). Therefore, the titular "Alice" who exists only "in (the singer's) fantasies" may be an Alice who does not demand the commitment.
The singer tells the listener that he will stay because one day she will love him like he once did. This song is a reworked version of The Parliaments song, "I'll Wait."
The singer exhorts the listener to get funky with it. In contrast to several previous songs with a similar lyrical theme, the suggestion to "get funky" also explicitly includes a connection with social change and an awakening of the mind, and not just dancing. The definition of the funk (as described in P Funk mythology) could be said to have started with this song.. The song was later covered by Motown act Platinum Hook, who made a minor British hit out of it.