I wants to get funked up.
October 25, 2007 2:15 AM   Subscribe

From 50's doo-wop crooner (and hairstylist extraordinaire) to 60's soul stepper to 70's psychedelic funk overlord and beyond, Parliament Funkadelic: One Nation Under A Groove takes a loving, informative and very entertaining look at the career of the legendary George Clinton and his unstoppable, hydra-headed funk machine. posted by flapjax at midnite (13 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What I like most about George Clinton is that he likes making people dance more than anybody I've heard, except Tito Puente. In conception and execution, P-Funk was too big for my taste, when it was fresh, but in this retrospective, it looks like more fun than it seemed back then. Maybe I should have paid closer attention, back when. Good post, flapjax at midnite.
posted by paulsc at 3:38 AM on October 25, 2007

I saw them on that 'Free your mind' tour here in the UK, and it was a bit of a tragedy. At that time, the UK music market was divided between the soul fans, and the prog rock fans. Funkadelic made what would seem to be an intelligent marketing plan, by attempting to target the prog rock fans, they alienated the soul fans -- and to be honest, it was probably a bit way out for most of them anyway -- but they didn't really stand a chance with the prog rock fans, who saw soul as being repetitive generic formulaic music, and thou shall not listen to repetitive generic music, so the hall was absolutely dead. Like, dead as a doornail. Tiny, tiny audience. Clinton and co struggled masterfully to create the party vibe, but it really wasn't haooening for anybody.

Of course, he did have a following on the Northern Soul scene, with the Parliaments, 'I wanna testify', and with a solo track, 'Please don't fun from me', but the latter is a pretty mundane cut, undeservedly rescued from obscurity because it had the right beat.

They did eventually manage to build that rock audience eventually though. Along with a couple of other less funky bands like Earth Wind an Fire and Kid Creole and the Coconuts -- whatever happened to THEM? Obviously, there isn't much that an audience likes more than a bit of slap and glitter. Roar of the greasepaint, smell of gay sex, etc. I never understood though, why it was OK to like Sly and the Family Stone, but it wasn't OK to like Issac Hayes or the Jackson Five. Perhaps it was because Sly played Woodstock and fucked Doris Day while wasted on coke.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:40 AM on October 25, 2007

I just watched the Youtube stream of that PBS doc at home last week.

I was in high school and college during the heyday of PFunk and at the time, they were that band with the really weird album covers and science fiction stuff going on, but I never really listened to the music.

A few months ago, I was at a video and CD discounter that had a bunch of Parliament CDs on sale for like 7 or 8 bucks and I picked up a few just to see what I'd missed. Boy are they a trip. Since then, about 50% of my music purchases have been either Parliament or Funkadelic albums from those days gone by.

I can't believe I passed that stuff up the first time around. I love "Maggot Brain" particularly.
posted by hwestiii at 5:15 AM on October 25, 2007

I saw Clinton in concert about 8 years ago, and he was this amazing performer in a huge Technicolor caftan singing his heart out. But one of the things that I really loved about the performance is that during the many band member solos, he'd move to the side of the stage, and turn his back to the audience giving his full attention to the soloist. I'm so used to band members spending downtime staring off into space while fiddling with their instrument, or skipping off stage for a quick drink, that this gesture really impressed me.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:26 AM on October 25, 2007

I saw the Mothership when I was a senior in high school. Quite an experience. George Clinton is a genius in a very over-the-top way.

About five or six years ago, my cousin was working in the kitchen of a small venue in Richmond, Virginia. Early one evening, I got a phone call from him saying, "I've got someone here I want you to talk to"- and he put George Clinton on the line. Seems George showed up early for a gig so he could chill and have a little dinner. My cousin and George hit it off, got all smoked up, and George decided he wanted to cook everybody dinner. They gave him the run of the kitchen, and they called me during the fun. He was very nice, but the "out there" persona is not really that much of an act.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:45 AM on October 25, 2007

I'm sure jealous of any of you who saw them play in the seventies. I'd have loved to have seen them play Free your mind etc. (even just hearing the title sends that guitar line echoing around my head). I dont really get how it could have been a toss up between the progrock and soul boys though - what about the Hendrix crowd? It must have been weak promotion. Funkadelic was more blues than soul really, so i mean the Led Zep crowd, Cream, all of them. All the rockers I know wet themselves at Eddie Hazel, no matter how much they protest that they hate soul.
posted by criticalbill at 7:38 AM on October 25, 2007

I just saw him at the Santa Fe Musik Fest this august. it was fucking awesome. in high school I stood outside a 21 and up show and just heard him. this time i was front row, must've high fived george and sir nose about 10 times. I was surprised, a little, when he started chanting "from the window, to the wall, till the sweat rolls down my balls, till all skeet skeet skeet skeet skeet" it IS super funky but it surprised me
posted by MNDZ at 7:40 AM on October 25, 2007

Saw him in Portland, OR, in the late '90s. Played for almost four hours. Tore the roof off the mother.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:50 AM on October 25, 2007

I just started getting into P-Funk a few years ago, and while a lot of Parliament's stuff isn't really my speed, the first three Funkadelic albums are, as I said in one of the earlier threads, THE SHIT. Maggot Brain is the top album, but "I'll Bet You" is (all of this is IMHO, of course) the best thing they ever recorded and one of the best rock/funk tracks of all time (with "Super Stupid" not far behind).

Wish I could have seen 'em live back in the day. I did see the P-Funk All-Stars at Lollapalooza in the mid-'90's, but we got bored and took off to see Flaming Lips on the second stage.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:03 AM on October 25, 2007

P-Funk were great. Right after I moved to NYC I heard "One Nation Under A Groove" blaring out of a shop entrance and knew I'd come to the right town. Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 9:02 AM on October 25, 2007

The Mothership tour with Mothers Finest opening...THAT was a funky show!
posted by bonefish at 11:37 AM on October 25, 2007

George Clinton for president! I got to see Funkadelic in the late 90's. I wish I could have seen them back in the day. Ween has a song called A Tear For Eddie that is dedicated to the late great Eddie Hazel. Maggot Brain is an all time classic album. Can You Get To That? is about as good as it gets. Thanks for the post flapjax at midnite.
posted by Sailormom at 11:47 AM on October 25, 2007

Cosmic Slop is my pick for best Clinton/Funkadelic album. First, "Cosmic Slop", the response to "Poppa Was A Rolling Stone" featuring Momma (...the Devil sang/"Won't you come and dance with me/we're doing the cosmic slop"). Then, "March On The Witch's Castle", the lyric trick coming when it's revealed the soldiers are marching home to the castle, that they (we) were the winged monkey guards of the wicked witch of the west -- perhaps the best Vietnam metaphor in music.

But maybe the single greatest Funkadelic song is "Music for My Mother" with that wonderful harp vocal.
posted by CCBC at 1:53 PM on October 25, 2007

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