Funkadelic felt the fire in their veins and opened up their funky minds to discover a new kind of soul with this lysergic liberation. The group had released their eponymous debut album earlier that year and recorded Osmium as Parliament before an injunction prevented them from using that name.
'Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow' was recorded at United Sound Studios, Audio Graphic Services, and G-M Recording Studios in Detroit with George Clinton on lead vocals; Raymond Davis, Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, Grady Thomas on vocals; Eddie Hazel on guitar and lead vocals; Tawl Ross on guitar and lead vocals; Bernie Worrell on Hammond organ, Vox organ, and keyboards; Billy Nelson on bass guitar and lead vocals; Tiki Fulwood on drums; with Martha Reeves on uncredited vocals; and Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent (aka Dawn) on vocals. The album was engineered by Ed Wolfrum and Milan Bogdan. Producer Clinton says the sessions were done quickly (allegedly in one day) in an effort to “see if we can cut a whole album while we’re all tripping on acid...The most important thing though was for it to be philosophically cool. Because of the times, black people were angry so we had to be saying something, even if it sounded like a joke. I didn’t want to sound preachy. ‘Free your mind and your ass will follow.’ The time dictates what it needs...You can get so frustrated in life that you just want to jump out the window...Funk tells you, Go ahead, man, but nobody gonna pay you any attention if you do.' It's a way of getting out of that bind you get in, mentally, physically...To me, funk is 'Okay, let's start jammin',' and people just follow."
'Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow' found its way to number ninety-two on the US Billboard 200 and eleven on the US R&B album chart. Clinton remembers: "It was like the Stooges! I had a head with a dick shaved onto it right down the middle with a star on one side and a moon on the other and bald all around that. I was crawling all around the floor sticking my tongue out. We were James Brown on acid, the Temptations on acid, the Stooges — that's how people described us. Because we didn't just get costumes and look like hippies. We really were silly! When we got into town for a gig, I'd get to the Holiday Inn, take the Holiday Inn towel, cut four holes in it, and that was my diaper. I'd take the sheet off the bed, use that. Or take the drapes down and use them. We got away for three years without having to pay for costumes...We were ten crazy niggers. With Jimi Hendrix, it was cool because it was him and two white boys. People don't go for ten niggers doin' that shit — pullin' off your clothes and runnin' around. But we had a hard-core following. The pimps used to tell us, "The whores won't work when you come to town." The slogan was, "Pimps, whores and hippies." That was the audience we'd get...I'd hung around Boston and Harvard for a long time, got into debates with people about B.F. Skinner and Timothy Leary. The shit was really political. It wasn't just being free and love and peace. The Vietnam War was really fucking things up. And the dope thing — I was from a place where everybody was a junkie. "Maggot Brain" and things like that were all about "How you gonna straighten yourself out when the things you're using, the drugs, your brain, are all fucked up?...No psychedelic guitars for Parliament and no horns on Funkadelic. We broke those rules a couple of times, but for the most part, that was the main difference. Funkadelic was the rock & roll band, with guitars dominating, the crazy stream-of-consciousness lyrics. Parliament was going to be as close to structure as we could get. I later used a lot of Funkadelic theory to do Parliament, but it was more structured. There were melodies, real songs, a straightforward message."
"Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow"
"Freedom is free of the need to be free"
"Funky Dollar Bill"
"I Wanna Know If It's Good to You?"
"Eulogy and Light"
'Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow'
1. "Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow" George Clinton, Edward Hazel, Raymond Davis 10:04
2. "Friday Night, August 14th" George Clinton 5:21
3. "Funky Dollar Bill" (released as a single - Westbound 175) George Clinton, Edward Hazel, Raymond Davis 3:15
4. "I Wanna Know If It's Good to You?" (released as a single - Westbound 167) George Clinton, William Nelson, Clarence Haskins, Raymond Davis 5:59
5. "Some More" George Clinton 2:56
6. "Eulogy and Light" Eugene Harris 3:31
7. "Fish, Chips and Sweat" (Westbound W 158) George Clinton, William Nelson, Edward Hazel 3:22
8. "Free Your Mind Radio Advert" 0:55
9. "I Wanna Know If It's Good to You" (Westbound W 167) George Clinton, Clarence Haskins, Edward Hazel, William Nelson 2:50
10. "I Wanna Know If It's Good to You" (instrumental - Westbound W 167) George Clinton, William Nelson, Clarence Haskins, Raymond Davis 3:12