Alphonze Mouzon: Funky Snakefoot and Gotta Have You and The Beggar
Taken from the album Funky Snakefoot on Bluenote (1974)
Ok. So I’ve been gone for a minute. But ask yourself this: if ever there was a way to resurface from oblivion, is this not it. That opening break for “Funky Snakefoot” is straight danger–I was in my living room shouting “Pull up!” to no one. Woah. Best five bucks I ever spent.
Mr. Mouzon is a man of many talents. A pioneering fusion drummer (that’s right, it’s his break), actor, scholar, the man is also responsible for a vast array of the musicianship on Funky Snakefoot. He’s singing, drumming, moog-ing out. Keys, synths, et al. Snakefoot was part of an early run of nasty solo releases that, by mid seventies, gave way to some seriously misguided pop attempts. Funky Snakefoot was followed by Mind Transplant one year later, arguably his last solid record.
The title track is fairly widely-known, primarily for the break (I mean, it hits like a cudgel). For me, however, the real joint is “The Beggar”. When I first heard it I kept praying to the gods of funkiness that the song wouldn’t deteriorate into a slushy, stringy breakdown or a cheap synth bridge. I listened with bated breath. And I listened. Around every turn, Mouzon kept his promise. And by the time he hit the solo near the end of the track I was convulsing on the floor. PULL UP!