Roc Around the World • Nowniber, 1976

The Honor Roll of Soul *************

PARLIAMENT

This is an introduction to interplanetary funksmanship. At the close of this article you will be awarded one credit in FUNK. I am a funkadelic and I will do you no harm! Funk manifests itself in many forms. The form we shall deal with is music. Funky music is as old as man himself. Raw funk as we know it was best utilized by James Brown. James made it funky no matter what it was. James played games.

It wasn't until George Clinton mixed raw funk with space age technology that the secrets of Funk began to appear. Parliament first brought their funk to the people in 1955; their first hit came in 1968, "I Wanna Testify". Problems with record companies led George and his band to the Westbound label where they changed their name to Funkadelic. Funkadelic has been characterized as crude. offensive and vulgar. This is all true, funky is nasty, yet it can still be good to you. George Clinton has been called a black Frank Zappa, which says notheing about George or his music. George Clinton is a musical phenomenon and he is black. The Parliafunkadelicment thang is a story only George could tell and I only know what I have heard. Have you heard about the Parliafunkadelicment Thang?

Once the listener understands that Parliament is just the nucleus of a much larger entity, it becomes easier to piece together a theory. Theory: these people are different groups.

Momma, what's a funkadelic?

(a discography should be inserted here)

Late sixties saw the rise of black culture and music. The commerciality of Black Music then. and to a great extent now depended upon its acceptance by the larger white market. Funkadelic projects musically the images of black life, through a fusion of psychedelic rock and grass root R&B, funkadelic was an overground sensation with underground blacks. Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow led the way to a better understanding of the black American experience. "The Kingdom of Heaven is Within". Maggot Brain & America Eats Its Young made a surreal presentation of true social attitudes. Some people cannot understand the meaning of the music or the lyrics. The droning guitars and vocals exhibit a very morbid scenario of black and white America. This scene went inter

planetary with Cosmic Slop. It was with this album that the exoteric funkadelic began to reform the esoteric Parliament I. The new Parliament is supposed to be the band of the act, funkadelic. Anyone who has read the credits on their albums can see that they are relatively the same group of people.

The "Cut" was removed from the FUNK with three albums. Standing On The Verge Of Gettin It On, Up For the Downstroke and Chocolate City via the media, the one group was once again two.

Psychotic bump school

This is your first exam. Question: what is a rubber band Each musician of Parliament is a satellite of Mothership which stretches out and spreads P Funk music. Mothership Connection is the space craft which carries the messengers of P FUNK. Mothership Connection was named album of the year by the national association of television and radio announcers, as well as being certified platinum. Only Maggot Brains know the message the Mothership carries. (Maggot Brains are fans of P FUNK). Like a secret cult whose hidden mysteries are revealed only to initiates, Parliament music expresses the philosophy of the Chocolate freak in habit form—George Clinton. As writer, producer, vocalist, leader and star-child, he is now preparing we, the people, for the bomb. The bomb is the end result of embracing P FUNK and the landing of the spaceships. There is a vague resemblance between Clinton's visions and those of the book of revelations. "When the horn blows you better be ready to go." Is there funk after death? Yes, there is, but what of this life before death?

What is it we must know to prepare ourselves for our funky ending? The clones of Dr. Funkenstein have been created to "take the people back to get more of that funky stuff," from the Mothership. We will have to go back to the beginning which will be very difficult for those who don't quite understand why Parliament is so funky.

Are you ready to be black?

Funky music is pure black music. Because of the struggles that black people have had to endure since the age of the pyramids when the secrets of the great civilizations were buried and hidden, Parliament music resurrects the gospel, blues and rock for the next century.

Parliament is the connection between the black past and future. Much has been written about the schizophrenic confusion of this group's music. Those writers have let the music take them too deep. Deeper still. I find the music refreshing only because it speaks a language that I can understand: It says "we are black musicians who have worked hard to bring our music to the people within the confines of a very conservative industry which doesn't understand black art and music anymore than the groups who go to the record shops to buy the newest release from `the sound of young America'."

Parliament/funkadelic have yet to reach their full potential as an act. With a market soaking up all the disco it can hustle, the cloak many musicians wear is one of strings and gaity. In most cases disco is funky, but funk is not necessarily disco.

The opera—mothership/clones—is the new beginning for a group who used to freak their fans by peeing on them. "Let me pee in your earhole." The opera will give new meaning to the FUNK message of George Clinton. Supergroovalisticposifunkstification—this is the ability to excel in any funky deep situation. What other group could be five groups at once. Parliament may already be five, with the potential for ten. Let's count them:

Parliament

Funkadelic

Bootsy's Rubber Band

Fuzzy Haskins

The George Clinton Band

Bernie Worrell

Gary Shider

Eddie Hazel

Fred Wesley

Maceo Parker

Record companies and even Funkadelic have joked about Parliament music. Silly dance music this is not. Serious Funk it is. The word was "Play Funkadelic Music" and Parliament does just that.

PARLIAMENT

"The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein"

Casablanca NBLT•7034

October Funk Year '76

The Extraterrestial Brothers have returned via the Mothership Connection. All funk is once again pure and uncut. The time has now come for The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein to spread the message of inter-planetary

funksmanship.

"Clones" will take you deep into the realm of Funkadelic music. The music of George Clinton, Gary Shider, William Collins, and Bernie Worrell has never been boring lyrically or instrumentally. The distinction in the music of Funkadelic and Parliament is however lyrical. The music of these writers has been aired more frequently through the Parliament vehicle. Osmium (Invictus 7302), the group's first album introduced the band of Funkadelic with such cuts as "I Call My Baby, Pussycat" and "My Automobile". Many of the songs Funkadelic will sing won't be played by many radio stations. There was a time when I would not play Funkadelic music around my mother. I guess I was embarrassed for diggin the funky vulgarity of the group. Ma just wouldn't understand. "But if you see my mother/tell her I'm alright/I'm just funkin' around for fun".

The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein is the breath of life for star children. "Gamin' On Ya", "Do That Stuff', and "Funkin' Around For Fun" are all performed in the Parliafunkadelicment fashion. This album should stand as a beacon which will call commercial attention to Funkadelic music. A general review of the Parliafunkadelicment Thang will show that many of the gang's best albums are buried in funk history.

"I wanna go back and get/More of that funky stuff'. "The Clones" will move you if you let them. So have no fear. They are Funkadelics and will do you no harm. I'm not really here, but heed my message: Funkin' is the thing to do.

—Tessil Collins

4.--*********************************

TATA VEGA "Full Speed Ahead Tamla T6.34751

Full Speed Ahead is and as first albums go tiny niche reserved for efforts. This lady can s that takes the lyrics to them into pure energy.

Tata Vega's first album it should be placed in the rare and surprising

ing and has a delivery a song and transforms Her style is vibrant. Her

voice never stands still.

"Full Speed Ahead" (also the single release) is a celebration of woman as huntress, searching for a man, letting no obstacle get in her way. The album version has a break that makes you wish the song would last twice its length. "Just When Things Are Getting Good" is a traditional motown love ballad; lots of pain and moody reflection here. "Been On My Own Too Long" gets funky, fantastic things begin to happen, and Ms Vega ends up sounding like a cross between Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder.

Side two offers a variety of R&B, all of which seems to suit this talented artist. "Music In My Heart," one of the album's better cuts, is a fine rhythmic tune full of life and melodious lyric.

"Keep It Coming" builds up to a gutsy driving beat that moves the heart and head. "Try God" (the last cut) is Tata at her best. The background vocals are superb.

Mixed and produced with subtlety, every sound is crystal clear. The musicians are strong and fill each side with plenty of Wonder-like keyboards and synthesizer. There's very little to dislike about this fine Ip. Tata Vega's often times strange and brilliant voice makes every cut a pleasure to listen to.

EDDIE KENDRICKS "Goin' Up In Smoke" Tamla T6 346S1

Eddie Kendricks is one of the people who

have made R&B what it is today. With a string of hits, he keeps the R&B market in a state of near hysteria with the release of each new album. Gob' Up In Smoke, proves Kendricks is one of the few artists who manages to hit upon a multitude of subjects and put his explorations into a musical format.

The title cut, "Goin' Up In Smoke", continues the religious feeling laid down in Kendricks' previous album He's A Friend, but takes it to an apocalyptic level in which warning and despair merge on the dance floor. "Sweet Tenderoni" (an LA term for California girls) is light and pretty. "Born Again", a strong Kendricks sound, is joyful but a little too short; a song of hope and continuation.

Side two starts with "Music Man", a powerful dance number where Kendricks explains, "I sing about love, I sing about disco, I sing about God . . . ". "Thanks For the Memory" (the top cut in discos) is an up-tempo

track with a definite Norman Harris intro and break. The LP closes with "Skeleton In Your Closet", the shortest selection on the disc.

The background singers are superb. Produced by Norman Harris and fine mixing by Arthur Stoppe and Paul Parubo make the album one of the best released this season.

—J. Armstrong-

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