John-Paul Shiver

John-Paul Shiver

SF Music Journalist who writes for @pulplab @sfsonicmag , likes more songs about buildings and food. He's written for several Bay Area Music publications over the past 15 years.

Forgotten Treasures

Bernie Worell “All The Woo In The World” (1978, Tidal Waves Music)

Soul & Funk

When “All The Woo In The World” was originally released on Arista Records in 1978, it was thought to possibly be a cast-off Parliament-Funkadelic record that just happened to bear Bernie Worrell’s name, giving him a long overdue début release… which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Trust. Anything from that mighty concentration of musical wizards is always welcomed and ready to be consumed by all tiers of fans. All the Parliament-Funkadelic players are heard and credited here.

Ken Tucker of Rolling Stone took the bait in 1979: “And it’s disco of the highest sort – passionate, varied and very clever – reaching its peak in the epic ‘Insurance Man for the Funk’, one of the most attractive metaphors George Clinton has yet yielded. As the synthesizer burbles amiably in the background and bassist Bootsy Collin’s mumbles about ‘Leroy’s of London’, Bernie Worrell observes to his beloved: ‘You sure need some insurance on all you got there’. He is one convincing salesman.”

However.

To ignore the intricate strings, layered vocal passages, and bass playing cool running beneath the vocal directives of Worrell on the mid-tempo strut of ‘Woo Together’ is criminal. That introduction is a sneaky preface to the elongated full-on Worrell showcase on ‘I’ll Be With You’. It’s an extended listen so we get to really understand the genius behind all his legendary keyboard driven excursions. Here, we get to have 2 to 3 minutes of Worrell just running… lording Jazz, R&B, and Classical phrasing on an acoustic piano. Proving again that technology is merely an enhancer. Talent is always the first innovator.

“Bernie is an intuitive musician” remarked Grammy award-winning producer and friend Bill Laswell in an interview with SF SONIC in 2016 before Worrell’s passing. “He’s spaced out. He doesn’t really know where he is most of the time, but when he sits down to play, it’s a whole different thing.”

Heavily sought after by collectors, “All The Woo In The World” is an essential funk album by an artist who leaves a legacy as big as his career. Now back available as a limited colour vinyl edition with 1500 copies, released exclusively for RSD Black Friday 2017 and officially in North America for the first time since 1978.

Purchase Album