1/  Get Yo Ass In The Water & Swim Like Me     (Clinton,Laswell)             4.25
  2/  Iceberg Dead Ahead (Chorus Instrumental)   (Clinton,Laswell)             7.25
  3/  Get Yo Ass In The Water - Extended Vocal   (Clinton,Laswell)             6.00
  4/  Get Yo Ass In The Water - Instrumental     (Laswell)                     5.40

          Vocals recorded at Dog In Me, Inc.
          Music recorded and mixed at Orange Sound Studios, Orange, New Jersey
          Constructed by Bill Laswell
          Produced by Alan Douglas, George Clinton & Bill Laswell
George Clinton: vocals; Bill Laswell: music.

          1997 - Douglas Music (USA), ADC16 (CD Single)


Here's one you won't find in your average record store anymore. George Clinton and Bill Laswell got together in 1997 (the year of the Hollywood Titanic craze) and put out a 12" on Gravity Limited's Douglas Music label. They reworked a toast about the Titanic and a fellow named Shine. Toasts, orally transmitted folk tales (often humorous or raunchy), are one of the forerunners of rap, and exist independent of author or origin. Prisons happen to be one of the places that toasts were recited, added to, and refined, since inmates had lots of time on their hands.

The Titanic toast was written shortly after the ship went down, and has been passed on through the generations, It tells the story of Shine, a coal-shoveling boiler room worker who had the sense to jump ship despite the orders of the captain and the offers of money and sex from rich, white passengers. He tells them to "get yo ass in the water and swim like me", useful advice, but they die waiting in the shadows of technological hype.

This isn't your typical P-Funk outing and, despite 4 remixes, it is hard to imagine this being a dancefloor hit. Still, Clinton and Laswell (working from a traditional arrangement by Robert Gardiner) preserve a bit of history by retelling the story of the mythical Shine and, in the process, reminding us to think for ourselves. As Shine says to the captain after being "reassurred" that there are 48 pumps on board to handle the water coming in: "Your bullshit is good, your bullshit is fine, but this one time, you ain't bullshittn' Shine."

2 1/2 out of 5

grotski (courtesy of the Indiedisco website)