1/  Sax Machine                                (Collins,Parker,Byrd)         6.01
  2/  Let 'Em Out                                (BC,Parker,Byrd,JBrown,RT)    10.39
  3/  Tell the World                             (Collins,Parker,Stewart)      3.16
  4/  Let 'Em Out (First Cut)                    (BC,Parker,Byrd,JBrown,RT)    8.58
  5/  Sax Machine (Bonus Saxed Version)          (Collins,Parker,Byrd)         4.52

          Recorded at BC Studio and Platinum Island
          Engineered by Robert Musso, Oz Fritz and Martin Bisi
          Produced and directed by Bill Laswell and Bootsy Collins
          Mastered by Howie Weinberg at Masterdisc
Maceo Parker: alto sax, organ, vocals; Fred Wesley: trombone; Bobby Byrd: vocals; Bootsy Collins: guitar, bass, synthesizers, drum programs, vocals; Joel "Razor Sharp" Johnson: synthesizer, vocals; Jeff Bova: synthesizer; Bernie Worrell (1,5): synclavier; Nicky Skopelitis: fairlight; Sly Stone (3): piano, organ, synthesizer; Chong Spradley (3): synthesizer; Timothy "T-Bone" David (1,5): percussion; Carolyn Stanford: background vocals; Arnenita Walker: background vocals; Cynthia Girty (3): background vocals.

          1990 - 4th & B'Way/Island (USA), 444 027-1 (Vinyl)
          1990 - 4th & B'Way/Polystar (Japan), PSCD-1074 (CD)
          1990 - 4th & B'Way/BMG Ariola (Germany), 261 193 (CD)
          1990 - 4th & B'Way/Island (USA), 444 027-2 (CD)
Note: Bill Laswell does not play on this album.


Despite the fact that the album is really more of an EP, with only five songs (and two of those remixes), I have high praise for it, because it's one long, funky party. It's Maceo back with an assortment of P.Funk All-Stars, most notably Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell. "Saxmachine" also features Bobby Byrd urging things on. Maceo is in top form here, with Bernie providing his typically ethereal sounds for the high end, and Bootsy holding down the bottom. T-Bone David adds some great percussion to the usual drum machines. "Let 'Em Out" is a great tribute to James Brown, who at the time was in prison. It features a hilarious rap from Byrd and Maceo, and like the first track, it's musically a take-off on "Sex Machine". Snippets of "Soul Power 74" can also be heard, done in an ultra-slow manner. Maceo & Fred really drive the whole thing, with more great keyboard work. Only complaint is the electronic drums, but they're pretty subdued. Bootsy handles the guitarwork as well. Sly Stone weighs in with "Tell The World", a low-key ballad that features Godmoma doing the vocals, backing up Bobby Byrd. Stone handles the keyboard work. A good mood piece, it would probably work better on a longer album as a sort of 'rest piece'. The two remixes differ only slightly from the originals, with the original "Let 'Em Out" less interesting percussively, and the remix of "Saxmachine" is more of an instrumental.

The album was significant as a comeback for a number of people: Bootsy, Maceo, Sly, Bobby Byrd, etc. It's a rousing and varied funk grab-bag that makes you want more. It was done at the same time (and with much the same personnel) as Bootsy's Jungle Bass EP, and predated Maceo's hugely successful jazz album Roots Revisited by a few months. Both "Saxmachine" and "Tell The World" ended up on the Funkcronomicon album, making this one less of a necessity, but "Let 'Em Out" can only be found here as a studio tune.

4 stars out of 5

RC (courtesy of the Motherpage website)