13 September 2009

HOT FIVE: Parliament-Funkadelic

05: Funkadelic: Maggot Brain [1971]
Featuring..."Maggot Brain", "Hit It & Quit It", "You & Your Folks, Me & My Folks","Wars Of Armageddon"

Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time...For y'all have knocked her up! I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe...I was not offended! For I knew I had to rise above it all...Or drown in my own shit! Come on Maggot Brain! Go on Maggot Brain!

(I wanna know if you can get to that!)

I want you to hit it! Good god, hit it and quit it! I want you to (hooo-whoaa) Oh mama, hit it! Good god, hit it and quit it!

If you and your thing dig me and my thing, like me and my thing dig you and your thing, and we all got a thing, yeah, and it's a very good thing...

(We are back in our minds, again!)

More power to the people, more power to the people, more pussy to the power, more pussy to the people, more power to the pussy, more pussy to the power...Power to the pussy!

(Right on, brother...)

04: Motor Booty Affair [1978]
Featuring..."Mr. Wiggles", "Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)", "The Motor Booty Affair", "Deep"
DG was the only black kid in my middle school, circa 1977-1979...The comfortably numb white middle-classed suburbs of Grafton...DG's family had moved to our languid town from the north side of Milwaukee, an area I knew well on account of my grandparents...
Stereotypes be damned, DG excelled at basketball and boxing...During recess, out on the playground, playing hoops, he'd take it to the rim and totally smoke some taller, gawky kid of ambiguous Nordic descent, and just to make things clear that the only black kid in the school wasn't to be trifled with, he'd start shuffling his feet like Ali when he was done with the rope-a-dope, and start jabbing and dancing, jabbing and dancing, getting in a quick lick or four, and then take off running in the opposite direction of Mr. Stangle.
I was a decent enough basketball player myself in those days, and smart enough not to get sucked into any boxing matches with DG, and so we became pretty good friends...Good enough friends that Stan, Paul and me would go over to DG's house during lunch sometimes, and we'd sit in his bedroom in the basement, passing around a bottle of rhubarb wine his mom had made, and listen to Parliament and Bootsy Collins records...
Never any Funkadelic, for some reason, though...I got into them via the One Nation Under A Groove album, which I bought for myself after DG had schooled me in the ways of George and Bootsy and the rest of the P-Funk crew...
I was a 12 year old white Polack in the suburbs, getting drunk on Parliament! So it shouldn't be so strange to consider the 43 year old white Polack in hipster Madison getting high on Parliament right now?
"I got a string on my thing, rhythm in my thing (Wind me up)... I can do my thing underwater!!! I got a string attached to my thing, when you pull my string, I can do my thing like I oughta!!!"

03: Mothership Connection [1975]
Featuring..."P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)", "Mothership Connection (Star Child)", "Unfunky UFO", "Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)", "Night Of The Thumpasaurus People"
Back in those same middle school years, I used to go with my parents to rummage sales, and one breezy Saturday morning I was rummaging through crates of vinyl, both 7 inch and longplaying varieties in some crumpled uncle's garage, and I happened upon a promotional 45rpm of Parliament's "P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)" with an extended, somewhat dirty version on the flipside...Rather rare these days, and you bet yr ass I got that baby tucked away in a sturdy case in the front hall closet...
Imagine a middle-aged man of ambiguous Nordic descent selling a Parliament 45 to a 12 year old kid of Polish descent out in the whitewashed bedroom community of Grafton!
And damn if I didn't jam that sweet sweet single frequently, full volume in my big fat KOSS cans, bouncing around at the foot of my bed, watching the neighborhood girls ride past and thinking about teenaged sex...
"Good evening. Do not attempt to adjust your radio, there is nothing wrong. We have taken control as to bring you this special show. We will return it to you as soon as you are grooving. Welcome to station WEFUNK, better known as We-Funk, or deeper still, the Mothership Connection. Home of the extraterrestrial brothers, dealers of funky music. P-Funk! Uncut Funk! The BOMB!!!"

02: One Nation Under A Groove [1978]
Featuring..."One Nation Under A Groove", "Who Says A Funk Band Can't Play Rock?", "Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad (The Doo-Doo Chasers)", "Into You", "Lunchmeatphobia (Think, It Ain't Illegal Yet!)", "Maggot Brain [Live]"
So wide can't get around it! So low you can't get under it! So high you can't get over it! Do you promise to funk, the whole funk, nothin' but the funk??? One nation under a groove, gettin' down just for the funk of it! One nation and we're on the move...Nothin' can stop us now!
'Bout that time they asked me where was I going, ya know? I, said, " Well, you have to be reasonable...So you know I've never been away from home before...And, uh, besides, they gave me a good deal, and I think that, uhhhh, Funkadelica is...you know... the nation, uhhhh, you know, I would like to, live under..."
(What in the world is this boy talking about?)
The world is a toll-free toilet...Our mouths neurological assholes...And psychologically speaking, we're in a state of mental diarrhea...Talking shit a mile a minute! Or in a state of constipated notions, can't think of nothin' but shit...And in this world of stinky futures, shitty memories and constipated 19 now-nows...Emerges from the hiney of your head...The doo doo chasers!! The Promentalshitbackwashpsychosisenemasquad!!! The prune juice of the mind! The doo doo chasers!! Friends of roto-rooter!!! Bringing you music to get your shit together by...The band in the tidy bowl of your brain!
(Fried ice cream is a reality!)
You know, it was in my hands, it was in my feet...I got it all over me! Yes, I did! I got it all over me! Got to go, got to go, got to go with the funk!

01: Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome [1977]
Featuring..."Bop Gun (Endangered Species)", "Sir Nose D'Voidoffunk", "Wizard Of Finance", "Funkentelechy", "Placebo Syndrome", "Flashlight"
What I consider the greatest Funk album ever made...Six fat, sick slabs of groove and hardcore funk, bookended by arguably the two best songs in the entire Parliament catalog...Or at least the two best-known and most-sampled...
I guess it isn't much of a surprise that two of my favorite Hip-Hop albums, Ice Cube's Death Certificate and Digital Underground's Sons Of The P, infringes upon this album hardcore...
I don't know what else to say at this point, about my favorite album by a band you might never expect would mean so much, and run so deep, for a guy like me...What might I have missed if I hadn't been such good friends with the only black kid in Grafton in the 1970's? Would we have jammed Grandmaster Flash on the boombox in the JV football locker room a couple years later? Would I have loved Run-DMC if they hadn't teamed with Aerosmith? What about Fela Kuti?
Of course, they were on the same label as KISS, so maybe all of this was inevitable...
"Everybody's got a little light under the sun!"
Hotcha! Hank

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