Bootsy Collins spoke with music writer Brian Baker for this week’s CityBeat, revealing the conceptual, philosophical and educational elements behind his new album, Tha Funk Capital of the World (out this Tuesday). The album’s label home, Mascot Records, is giving a sneak peak in the form of tribute track “JB-Still the Man,” Bootsy’s James Brown requiem featuring a spoken-word tribute to Brown’s rare influence on the world by Rev. Al Sharpton. The groovy track (available as a free download at the link below) is just one of the tributes to Collins’ heroes on the album. Collins talked to Baker about how Jimi Hendrix’s own voice ended up on Funk Capital’s Hendrix tribute, “Mirrors Tell Lies.”—-
With fitting guitar from Hendrix disciple and longtime Collins collaborator Ron Jennings, Hendrix's ghost-voice delivers words of wisdom from the great beyond on the cut. The Hendrix estate is very selective when it comes to allowances for the use of Jimi’s work and image, but Hendrix’s family has shown its respect for the Cincinnati native/Funk legend previously. They personally requested Collins voice some of Hendrix’s letters for the DVD portion of the recent West Coast Seattle Boy box set.
So when Collins told the Hendrix family members about the planned tribute, they sent their blessing … and archival interviews with the iconic guitar legend. During Baker’s interview, Collins said working on the DVD project revealed what a kindred soul he had in Hendrix.
“Reading his personal stuff, I realized I was more connected to him than I thought,” he said. “In doing the tribute to Jimi, I wanted to make it more than just an ordinary tribute. I asked the family and they sent me a bunch of interviews, I believe it was from some of the BBC archive stuff, but I picked some stuff out to make it go with the song.”
Collins had a more direct connection with James Brown, of course, playing in Brown’s band for years with his brother, late guitarist Catfish Collins (whose inspiration is also noted on the album’s “Don’t Take My Funk”), and drafting the blueprint for Funk.
Click here to download “JB-Still the Man,” which features Sharpton percussively testifyin’ to Brown’s broad cultural impact over a groove true to the era. (Mascot asks for your name and email address for mail-listing purposes and sends you a password — in case you’re weird about that kind of thing.)