Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Funk After Death)
Happy Parliafunkadelicment Thangday! I have a fine P-Funk performance today, a live show from the famous P-Funk Earth Tour. Recorded in 1976 on Halloween, the show was filmed for video release. Thus, the recording quality of the audio is superb.
Opening with “Cosmic Slop,” the P uses the Space People intro. A tale about a mother, forced into being a prostitute to support her kids, pleading with god to forgive her actions, “Cosmic Slop” is about acknowledging the guilt caused by our ability to do unscrupulous things in order to survive.
GC comes out for the rhythm guitar propelled intro of “Do that Stuff” before the main groove is reached. The Horny Horns make their presence known, as does Bernie on what could be a clavinet, but the rhythm guitar riff is still the star. Segueing into “Gamin’ On Ya,” Dr. Funkenstein is first mentioned. The chorus from the old Parliament song “Come In Out of the Rain” is thrown into the mix.
Unstoppable ferocity is unleashed on “Standing On the Verge.” P-Funk could rock harder than most. They did come up playing with MC5 and other rock groups in Detroit. Fuzzy Haskins gets busy whipping the crowd into a frenzy with with pelvic gyrations and a wild vocal performance. The thumping bottom and rhythm guitar riff are excellent. Quickly, the groove changes into a slow, simmering groove. The tambourines add a lot to the sound, but one must bow down to the bass work. GC runs through the “Undisco Kidd/Call My Baby Pussy” routine before stepping aside for Bernie.
With the crowd hollerin’ for more, the moment of arrival is tantalizingly close as the “Mothership Connection” suite begins. Before the chariot rides in, the purification of the mind must take place. On “Children of Production,” the Clones of Dr. Funkenstein arrive to act as a q-tip and blow the cobwebs out your mind. The beginning of “Mothership Connection” gives a friendly warning that if you hear any noise, it’s just George and the boys coming. Soon, Glen calls the Mothership down as trumpets herald the landing. Communion is served.
When Gabriel’s horn blows, you’d better be ready to go
The ecstatic hum of the crowd lingers before GC gets the show going again. “Dr. Funkenstein” philosophizes as the gorgeous guitars take the center. Backed by a closed hi-hat, the guitars are locked in together, yet free to roam around.
With the main theatrical piece finished, the band is free to play. “Coming Round the Mountain” is classic Funkadelic. Dirty guitars over thumping, heavy drums, it is raw, pure unkut funk. Who says a funk band can’t play rock? The heavy guitar emphasis of the past two songs give way to the Horny Horns, one of the finest horn sections ever assembled, on “P-Funk.” Demanding his funk unkut, GC goes zen:
Once upon a time called Now!
Somebody say, “Is there funk after death?”
I say, “Is Seven Up?”
Introducing “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker,” Ray Davis brings the bass. GC, Glen, and Starchild dominate the vocals as all the funkateers, including Sly Stone, come onto the stage to say goodbye. Bootsy plays some cowbell. Saying goodbye to the crowd, the band busts into “Funkin’ for Fun.” If you see my mother, tell her I’m alright, just funkin’ for fun!
Mothership Connection: Live from Houston is pure, unkut funk. I can’t recommend watching the dvd of the performance for the visual presentation enough. Witnessing it confirmed my decision that if I could travel back in time to only one event, it would be a vintage P-Funk performance. Time to go to church with George and his merry band of funkateers.
If you got faults, defects or shortcomings,
You know, like arthritis, rheumatism or migraines,
Whatever part of your body it is,
I want you to lay it on your radio, let the vibes flow through.
Funk not only moves, it can re-move, dig?
The desired effect is what you get
When you improve your Interplanetary Funksmanship.
01- Cosmic Slop
02- Do That Stuff (Intro)
03- Do That Stuff
04- Gammin’ On Ya
05- Standing On The Verge
06- Children Of Production
07- Mothership Connection
08- Dr. Funkenstein
09- Comin’ Round the Mountain
10- P. Funk
11 Tear The Roof Off The Sucker
12- Funkin’ For Fun
Bass: Cordell Mosson
Guitars: Michael Hampton, Garry Shider, Glenn Goins
Drums: Jerome Brailey
Horns: Fred Wesley(trombone), Maceo Parker (saxophone), Richard Griffith (trumpet), and Rick Gardner (trumpet)
Keyboards: Bernie Worrell
Vocals: George Clinton, Glenn Goins, Garry Shider, Fuzzy Haskins, Grady Thomas, Calvin Simon, Ray Davis, Debbie Wright, Jeanette Washington