Feb 29, 2008

Into The Groove (20)

Hello, Into the Groove goes P-funk today, Dr Funkenstein please ..

By the time his on-the-move family settled in New Jersey during the early '50s, George Clinton (b. July 22, 1941) became interested in doo wop, which was just beginning to explode in the New York-metro area. Basing his group on Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Clinton formed the Parliaments in 1955 with a lineup that gradually shifted to include Clarence "Fuzzy" Haskins, Grady Thomas, Raymond Davis, and Calvin Simon. Based out of a barbershop backroom where Clinton straightened hair, the Parliaments released only two singles during the next ten years, but frequent trips to Detroit during the mid-'60s -- where Clinton began working as a songwriter and producer -- eventually paid off their investment.

After finding a hit with the 1967 single "(I Wanna) Testify," the Parliaments ran into trouble with Revilot Records and refused to record any new material. Instead of waiting for a settlement, Clinton decided to record the same band under a new name: Funkadelic. Founded in 1968, the group began life as a smoke screen, claiming as its only members the Parliaments' backing band -- guitarist Eddie Hazel, bassist Billy Nelson, rhythm guitarist Lucius "Tawl" Ross, drummer Ramon "Tiki" Fulwood, and organist Mickey Atkins -- but in truth including Clinton and the rest of the former Parliaments lineup. Revilot folded not long after, with the label's existing contracts sold to Atlantic; By 1970, George Clinton had regained the rights to the Parliaments name: he then signed the entire Funkadelic lineup to Invictus Records as Parliament. The group released one album -- 1970's Osmium -- and scored a number 30 hit, "The Breakdown," on the R&B charts in 1971. With Funkadelic firing on all cylinders, however, Clinton decided to discontinue Parliament (the name, not the band) for the time being.

Though keyboard player Bernie Worrell had played on the original Funkadelic album, his first credit with the conglomeration appeared on Funkadelic's second album, 1970's Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow. Clinton and Worrell had known each other since the New Jersey barbershop days, and Worrell soon became the most crucial cog in the P-Funk machine, working on arrangements and production for virtually all later Parliament/Funkadelic releases. His strict upbringing and classical training, as well as the boom in synthesizer technology during the early '70s, gave him the tools to create the synth runs and horn arrangements that later trademarked the P-Funk sound. Two years after the addition of Worrell, P-Funk added its second most famed contributor, Bootsy Collins. The muscular, throbbing bass line of Collins had already been featured in James Brown's backing band (the J.B.'s) along with his brother, guitarist Catfish Collins. Bootsy and Catfish were playing in a Detroit band when George Clinton saw and hired them.

Funkadelic released five albums from 1970 through early 1974, and consistently hit the lower reaches of the R&B charts, but the collective pulled up stakes later in 1974 and began recording as Parliament. Signing with the Casablanca label, Parliament's "Up for the Down Stroke" appeared in mid-1974 and reflected a more mainstream approach than Funkadelic, with funky horn arrangements reminiscent of James Brown and a live feel that recalls contemporary work by Kool & the Gang. It became the biggest hit yet for the Parliament/Funkadelic congregation. "Testify," a revamped version of the Parliaments' 1967 hit, also charted in 1974. One year later, Chocolate City continued Parliament's success. Clinton & co. ushered in 1976 with the third Parliament LP in as many years: Mothership Connection. Arguably the peak of Parliament's power, the album made number 13 on the pop charts and went platinum, sparked by three hit singles: "P. Funk , "Tear the Roof Off the Sucker ", and "Star Child". In addition to Bootsy Collins, the album featured two other James Brown refugees: horn legends Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley. Just six months after the release of Mothership Connection, Clinton had another Parliament album in the can, The Clones of Doctor Funkenstein.

Several internal squabbles during 1977 apparently didn't phase Clinton at all; the following year proved to be the most successful in Parliament's history. In January, "Flash Light" -- from the Parliament album Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome -- became the collective's first number one hit. It topped the R&B charts for three weeks. The LP became Parliament's second platinum album. Early in 1979, Parliament hit number one yet again with "Aqua Boogie," from its eighth album, Motor-Booty Affair. The album became the group's fifth consecutive album to go gold or better. Parliament's ninth album, Gloryhallastoopid (Or Pin the Tale on the Funky), was released later in 1979 and showed a bit of a slip in the previously unstoppable Clinton machine. Clinton began to be weighed down that year by legal difficulties arising from Polygram's acquisition of Casablanca. Jettisoning both the Parliament and Funkadelic names (but not the musicians), Clinton began his solo career with 1982's Computer Games. He and many former Parliament/Funkadelic members continued to tour and record during the '80s as the P-Funk All Stars, but the decade's disdain of everything to do with the '70s resulted in the neglect of critical and commercial opinion for the world's biggest funk band, especially one which in part had spawned the sound of disco. During the early '90s, the rise of funk-inspired rap (courtesy of Digital Underground, Dr. Dre, and Warren G.) and funk rock (Primus and Red Hot Chili Peppers) re-established the status of Clinton & co., one of the most important forces in the recent history of black music.

While Funkadelic pursued band-format psychedelic rock, Parliament engaged in a funk free-for-all, blending influences from the godfathers (James Brown and Sly Stone) with freaky costumes and themes inspired by '60s acid culture and science fiction. From its 1970 inception until Clinton's dissolving of Parliament in 1980, the band hit the R&B Top Ten several times but truly excelled in two other areas: large-selling, effective album statements and the most dazzling, extravagant live show in the business. In an era when Philly soul continued the slick sounds of establishment-approved R&B, Parliament scared off more white listeners than it courted.

Bernie Worrell, Reunald "Renny" Jones, Eddie Hazel, Maceo Parker, Walter "Junie" Morrison, Bootsy Collins, Jerome Brailey, George Clinton, Gary "Muddbone" Cooper, Ray Davis, Ron Ford, Ramon Tiki Fulwood, Rick Gardner, Glen Goins, Michael Hampton, Clarence "Fuzzy" Haskins, Tyrone Lampkin, Cordell Mosson, Lucius Tawl Ross, Garry Shider, Dawn Silva, Calvin Simon, Grady Thomas, Greg Thomas, Jeanette "Baby" Washington, Fred Wesley, Debbie Wright, Shirley Hayden, Billy "Bass" Nelson, Larry Heckstall, Robert "P-Nut" Johnson, Prakash John.

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Parliament - The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein ( 76 ^ 230mb)

Come 1976, and Parliament got up to its usual tricks, the opening backwards-masked vocal weirdness plus sci-fi scenarios in the "Prelude," where "funk is its own reward." With Bernie Worrell and Fred Wesley splitting the horn arrangements and Clinton and Bootsy Collins taking care of the rest, the result is a concept album of sorts you can dance to. The clones get up and do their thing . Given Clinton and company's sheer work rate, something likely had to give and this is one of the stress points. There are a couple of stronger songs -- "I've Been Watching You (Move Your Sexy Body)" is classic slow jam territory. Not exactly Barry White, but hearing Parliament tone it down just enough pays off, especially with Worrell's drowsy, sensuous horn charts. "Funkin' for Fun," meanwhile, brings the album to a strong, lively end, with just enough in the call-and-response vocals and horns to spark some extra energy into the proceedings.

01 - Prelude (1:39)
02 - Gamin' On Ya (2:58)
03 - Dr.Funkenstein (5:39)
04 - Children Of Production (3:53)
05 - Getten' To Know You (5:11)

06 - Do That Stuff (4:44)
07 - Everything Is On The One (3:42)
08 - I've Been Watching You (Move Your Sexy Body) (5:50)
09 - Funkin' For Fun (5:49)

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George Clinton - Computer Games (82 ^ 351mb)

The mastermind of the Parliament/Funkadelic collective during the 1970s, George Clinton broke up both bands by 1981 and began recording solo albums, occasionally performing live with his former bandmates as the P.Funk All-Stars. By 1980, George Clinton had begon to be weighed down by legal difficulties arising from Polygram's acquisition of Parliament's label, Casablanca. Jettisoning both the Parliament and Funkadelic names (but not the musicians), Clinton signed to Capitol in 1982 both as a solo act and as the P.Funk All-Stars.

Computer Games, his solo debut, is actually only solo in its billing, however, as the album features several of the core P-Funk musicians with whom Clinton had collaborated in years past, most notably Bootsy Collins, Gary Shider, Fred Wesley, and Walter "Junie" Morrison. All the same, Clinton is clearly in the spotlight throughout Computer Games, and his vocal performances are as wacky and charming as ever, especially on the album's two hit singles, "Atomic Dog" and "Loopzilla." From a musical standpoint, there's a heavy emphasis here on synthesizers and drum machines, considerably more so than on any previous P-Funk effort. This was partly because of the times, for it was the early '80s, after all, but also partly because of the smaller stable of musicians on hand. Whatever the reason, Computer Games marks a sharp break from Clinton's past in many ways, and though it was a tremendously successful rebirth, with "Atomic Dog" topping the R&B chart and eventually becoming immortalized by hip-hop postmodernists, in an unfortunate twist of fate this debut effort also ended up marking the zenith of his solo career, as he would progressively stumble creatively in subsequent years.

Clinton stayed on Capitol for three more years, releasing three studio albums and frequently charting singles -- "Nubian Nut," "Last Dance," "Do Fries Go With That Shake" -- in the R&B Top 40. During much of the three-year period from 1986 to 1989, Clinton became embroiled in legal difficulties (resulting from the myriad royalty problems latent during the '70s with recordings of over 40 musicians for four labels under three names). Also problematic during the latter half of the '80s was Clinton's disintegrating reputation as a true forefather of rock; by the end of the decade, however, a generation of rappers reared on P-Funk were beginning to name check him.

In 1989, Clinton signed a contract with Prince's Paisley Park label and released his fifth solo studio album, The Cinderella Theory. After one more LP for Paisley Park (Hey Man, Smell My Finger), Clinton signed with Sony 550. His first release, 1996's T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. ("the awesome power of a fully operational mothership"), reunited the funk pioneer with several of his Parliament/Funkadelic comrades from the '70s. Clinton's Greatest Funkin' Hits (1996) teamed old P-Funk hits with new-school rappers such as Digital Underground, Ice Cube, and Q-Tip.

01 - Get Dressed (3:37)
02 - Man's Best Friend / Loopzilla (12:51)
03 - Pot Sharing Tots (3:34)
04- Computer Games (6:37)
05 - Atomic Dog (4:39)
06 - Free Alternations (4:09)
07- One Fun At A Time (4:22)
08 - Atomic Dog (Special Atomic Mix) (10:00)

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Parliament - Funked Up: The Very Best Of (02, 79min ^ 192mb)

Funked Up features a crisp, booming remastered sound, this is both the place to start for beginners and a welcome place to revisit for the coverted. Yet, always check out the original albums the songs came from, but this is a fantastic listen from beginning to end. Get funked!

Parliament - Funked Up ( ^ 533mb)

01 - Up For The Down Stroke (3:27)
02 - All Your Goodies Are Gone (5:06)
03 - Ride On (3:37)
04 - Chocolate City (5:39)
05 - Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker) (5:48)
06 - P. Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up) (7:43)
07 - Mothership Connection (Star Child) (3:16)
08 - Do That Stuff (4:50)
09 - Dr. Funkenstein (5:47)
10 - Let's Take It To The Stage (Live) (5:11)
11 - Fantasy Is Reality (5:58)
12 - Bop Gun (Endangered Species) (3:42)
13 - Flash Light (5:50)
14 - Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop) (4:29)
15 - Theme From The Black Hole (4:40)
16 - Agony Of Defeet (4:25)

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All downloads are in * ogg-7 (224k) or ^ ogg-9(320k), artwork is included , if in need get the nifty ogg encoder/decoder here !


Station said...

Lovein' the funk there Rho. Have you ever heard the post modern funk aficionado Capt. Funkaho (El Captain Funkaho)? He usually turns up on Peanut Butter Wolf's stuff. Funky but usually very funny too - such as 'My 2600'- about his Atari console.

Anonymous said...

Great article about P-Funk! I talk about Sly's influence on and relationship with George Clinton and P-Funk a lot in my book about Sly. I hope you'll read it.

Anonymous said...

Do you have copy writer for so good articles? If so please give me contacts, because this really rocks! :)

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i like the you write...:)

Anonymous said...

I read a article under the same title some time ago, but this articles quality is much, much better. How you do this?

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George Clinton received a proclamation from Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs of Plainfield, New Jersey, the city in which he was raised he is the best of the best !!22dd

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Anonymous said...

Dear Rho -

It's Frank again with another PARLIAMENT-related requests.

I'd be very grateful if you could reupload FUNKED UP.

Thank you very much in advance.


Anonymous said...

Dear Rho

Please re-up these fantastic P-Funk albums.

Many thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi Rho

Can you please re-up The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein?

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Hello Rho

Is it possible to re-up these P-Funk albums?

Thank you