"In Your Face"
"It's a Wonderful Life"
"Fishbone" Import-Combination of "In Your Face" and "It's a Wonderful Life"
"Truth and Soul"
"Set the Booty Upright (E.P.)"
"Reality of My Surroundings"
"Give a Monkey a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe"
"Fishbone 101: fossil fuelin the nuttmeg dinosaur"
A LOOK AT THE MUSIC FROM A GUITARISTS PERSPECTIVE:
The debut album. With the exception of "VTTLOFDGF" (featuring very Funkadelic-influenced fuzzed-out guitarisms), it's straight ska for the most part. Clean dry guitar skank tone. Kendall's melody line on the intro section of "Party at Ground Zero" is great. "Lyin Ass Bitch" features some great single note snarls.
"IN YOUR FACE"
the first full-length Fishbone album. The album opens with "When problems Arise", which demonstrates great chord voicings by Kendall. "I wish I had a date" also has great chord voicings in a very funky matter. The outro of "Cholly" has a guitar-drum-vocals breakdown that has some of the greatest chord voicings in the Funk universe (it's up there alongside Roger's guitar line from Zapp's "More Bounce to the Ounce"). I think the greatest strength of this album is the amazing clean rhythm guitar tracks that are way up in the mix.
"ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE E.P."
The christmas EP. "It's a wonderful life" is such a great song, merging punk, ska & gospel. "Iration" has some good reggae tones, and "Call me Scrooge" has some distorted funk tone.
"TRUTH AND SOUL"
"Freddy's Dead" is a great grooving metalized version of the Curtis Mayfield track. Ska tracks like "Ma & Pa" & "Question of Life" feature great thickly chorused tone. "One Day" is a great guitar song with understated chord movement creating tension with the single-note guitar lines (Kendall also played Bass on this song that locks very tightly with Fish's kick, awesome). The solo is very Dr. Know-ish (Bad Brains). "Change" demonstrates Kendall's acoustic skillz. "Bonin in the Boneyard" has a great rhythm line that is very similar to what Prince is doing on "1999." The guitar-melody of "Mightly Long Way" is reminiscent of Thin Lizzy minus the twin harmony....
"SET THE BOOTY UPRIGHT E.P."
John Bigham is credited as a Fishbone member on this EP, but I dont know if he actually played on it. Most of the EP is reworkings of "Bonin in the Boneyard." Mainly clean tones on here, a cool thing here is the sped up guitar on some tracks (ala Prince's "Erotic City"). "Hide Behind my Glasses" features that great superchorused clean tone that is so asswhuppin...
"Reality of My Surroundings"
At this point, John Bigham had joined Fishbone, and it becomes difficult to verify who is playing what guitar line, a similar problem one has when listening to P-Funk albums and discerting what guitarist is playing what part.... This is a PERFECT album. Every song on here is amazing, and the flow of songs is prefectly constructed. This is the album I use as measuring stick to determine how great an album is. I have heard that for sure Kendall plays the solos on "Fight the Youth" & "Sunless Saturday", while Bigham does the "feedback solo" on "Those Days Are Gone." The album opens with "Fight the Youth," with great demonstration of merging classic Fusion with Metal at the intro, which is so tightly executed it still drops my jaw (that's Kendall hitting those fast triplet runs). The clean sickly chorused tones on "Pray to the Junkie Maker," "Everyday Sunshine" are great. There is great Metal to Funk switches in "Behavior Control Technician", I love the twilight zone-ish harmony line at the beginning, and that unsion guitar-bass transition between the intro and verse 1 is damn cool. I'm not sure who's doing what at the beginning of "Those Days Are Gone," but both parts are tight & sick, and the phaser tone is awesome. A great thing about Fishbone is the juxtoposition of clean and distorted guitar tones and how well they are arranged to not step on each other. "Sunless Saturday" is great, beginning and ending with Kendall's solo acoustic before launching into heavy rock with a Yes influence. Great dynamic changes. "Babyhead" has some great ambient guitar that is way back in the mix, listening with headphones will bring it out.
"GIVE A MONKEY A BRAIN AND HE'LL SWEAR
HE'S THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE"
Continued team of Jones & Bigham. Again, hard to tell who's doing what. A good way to tell is to listen to live recordings from after Kendall split and you can put one and one together that whatever line is missing is most likely what Kendall was doing. "Swim" was written by Bigham, but Jones' metal experienced tone really puts alot of beef into it. "Servitude" was written by Jones, and by this point you realize this will be a heavy ass album. Great metal runs (with an Arabic/East European influence) on this song that has a triplet thing going on that grooves like hell. Also, the acoustic break (don't know who plays that part) and fade to drum outro are continuing the tradition of dynamic changes. Kendall is probably playing the melody/single string lines on "Black Flowers." Kendall wrote the ska jam "Unyeilding Condition" and most likely plays the jazz run solo as well. Kendall wrote "End the Reign" that starts with a great phased clean tone before veering into grooving metalism. On much of the rest of the album it's hard to sort out who is doing what part (deciphering parts on "Properties of Propaganda" is dizzying)...This has been Kendall's final album with Fishbone...
This is a best of compilations on CD one. CD two is made up of demo material recorded before the debut EP, which shows early Kendall guitar work.