Parliafunkadelicment Thangday! (Synthentically Engineered Funk 100% Natural)

Sunday, August 31st I had the unique experience of seeing Saul Williams speak before catching T.I. at the main stage during Bumbershoot. The contrast between the two was extremely jarring. I do enjoy T.I.’s beats, he has some catchy songs, and does live the life he raps about; however, I felt disgusted after the show. Who wants to get down and party to song after song about wood-grain and rims, yayo, guns, and misogyny? Especially when most of the crowd is made up of wannabe Paul Wall’s.

Certain activities should not be celebrated. Lacking almost all substance, excluding a song for the dead peeps and a hilarious 40 second shout out on how important it is to vote (obviously for Obama), the fans in the stadium ate it up without any apparent irony. Rare for Seattle. T.I. always quickly made sure to “bring it back to the party”. Saddening and hilarious at the same time. One fortunate thing was the people watching. I will never forget the sight of a wispy lad of 16 or so attempting to lift his stouter girlfriend up to get a camera picture of T.I. 20 or so minutes of entertainment were had by me, and a few other keen observers.

“BAD is something phony, clumsy, witless, untalented, vacant, or boring that many Americans can be persuaded is genuine graceful, bright, or fascinating.” Paul Fussell

“If voting could change anything, it would be illegal.” Howard Zinn

P-Funk combined party music and pointed social commentary, as did T.I.’s ATL brethren Outkast, who definately marinated in the P’s Funk juice. Dealing with the ethical problem of enjoying T.I. while simultaneously being disgusted, seeing the drunken buffoonery of the DNC and RNC, and dealing with personal matters have me seeking solace in the Funk. Non-epiphany! Funk is whatever it needs to be, at the time that it is. Like the vapor of Delphi, Funk can transport one to a mystical state. Foma be gone!

“Power to the slogans!” Paul Krassner

I have stated before that P-Funk was ahead of its’ time. Thinking about it though, P-Funk was actually more timeless than ahead of its’ time. Or maybe it’s that things that are timeless will always be ahead of their time? Anyways, here is your weekly portion of the P.

I realize I didn’t deliver this post last week and that this one jumps around a bit, but thoughts spark thoughts and flow must be allowed to flow. If you have been suffering from a limp noodle, a daily dose of the P will restore turgidity. If the concrete buster funkrection lasts more than six hours, you may be neglecting other “essential” human needs.

Before becoming the slicker side of the P-Funk Army, Parliament showed a more experimental side earlier on Osmium. Osmium sounds much more like a Funkadelic production than the stereotypical Parliament sound. It found George and his band of funkonauts toying with a variety of sonic vibrations, including yodeling and a bagpipe, Osmium is a grab bag of funkiness. An intriguing album in the P-Funk canon, Osmium represents the heaviest element well.

“Little Ole Country Boy” finds Parliament experimenting with yodeling, steel guitar, and porch pickin’ acoustic guitar.

“If You Don’t Like the Effects, Don’t Produce the Cause” is a gorgeous sounding number with blunt lyrics. No hiding behind lyrical lunacy. Sonically benefiting from the Motown influence. Bernie tickles the keys, while joining a host of others on vocal duties.

You say you don’t like what your country’s about (yeah)
Ain’t you deep
In your semi-first class seat
You picket this and protest that
And eat yourself fat

Funkadelic’s The Electric Spanking of War Babies (1981) is a great P-Funk album. Introducing a few new funkateers, including Roger Troutman and Blackbyrd McKnight to the fold, along with usual standbys like Hampton, Junie, and Shider. Electric Spanking is a very strong effort in the P-Funk canon, making it one of the funkiest productions of the 1980s. A perfect demonstration that synthesizers don’t have to mean sterility, that dance music doesn’t have to include vapid lyrical diarrhea masked by music that ranges from Ojo Molo (beware of the evil eye) to the finest of Belgian beers. The drums may be electronic and Bernie is nowhere to be found, but Electric Spanking proves that the Funk was alive and well in the early 1980s.

“The Electric Spanking of War Babies” is a synthed-out effort delivered almost exclusively by Junie Morrison, who was credited for playing the bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards, and drums. Michael Hampton also shreds while George does his usual lyrical assault. After a short intro, which is reminiscent of Maggot Brain-era Funkadelic, a vicious groove is unleashed. Love the “Shock it to circuit” chant. The underneath touch adds so much to the sonic assault. And the super liquidy synth line starting around the 6:00 minute mark is a sound rarely heard.

You can walk a mile in my shoes
But you can’t dance a step in my feet

I believe that “Funk Gets Stronger, Pt. 1” is Roger Troutman’s introduction as a funkateer. George and Bootsy share vocal duties, while Roger played bass, moog, and rhythm guitar. I also think that Sly has a vocal part, but the esteemed Mothership doesn’t have him credited. Perhaps Sherlock Holmes is needed. Lige Curry, also a new addition, played bass on the song. An extremely funky track with a nice soulful organ solo at the 5:00 mark. The rhythm guitar line provided by Zapp is syrupy sweet and his moog work a tasty treat.

“Funk Gets Stronger, Pt. 2” features George and Sly sharing vocal duties to amazing effect. Sly is also credited as playing drums, rhythm guitar, and keyboards. A rare later appearance by Eddie Hazel on lead guitar definitely helps make it sound like an earlier Funkadelic track. The horn riff caps an already tremendous track.

Funk gets stronger
As it goes longer
Funk gets stronger
As they say in the great big state of Texas
An armadillo millimeter longer

Gleefully obscene “Icka Pricka”, would make Blowfly proud and shames most equally obscene but somehow much more vile, hip hop. Lige Curry delivers the goods on bass, while David Lee Chong is knighted as an official member.

Put on some protection for your ears

Recently, I have also been listening to a plentiful amount of Prince. Prince helped out a broke George Clinton in the 1980s. George covered Prince’s “Erotic City” for the PCU Soundtrack. What an insanely awesome movie! Hilarious ultimate frisbee, college republicans, and a whole P-Funked ending. Jeremy Piven kind of rubs me wrong, but I love him in that. George and the boys contributed “Count Funkula” and “Erotic City” to the soundtrack. I was ignorant of the Prince origins of the song util I stumbled upon Prince’s original version.

P-Funk’s version really bangs. Much heavier in sound than Prince’s version, the bass pulsates over George’s amazing vocal lines. George was insane with melodies. Coming from the barbershop quartet tradition, George made P-Funk’s sound jump with vocal melodies and chants. Using non-word vocals as an instrument in a different way then James Brown, P-Funk certainly utilized much more of human vocal abilities than most.

Prince’s version is wondrous. A wicked groove with an amazing climax with the anticipation building around the 5 minutes into the track. Creaming electrical boards! That moment at the 5:26 until the end can be listened to endlessly. The buried noises at the 7:00 mark are hilarious.

Say no to Dr. Spock! (Warning: jarring segue ahead)

If we need government to insure a compassionate, adequate social safety net haven’t we already lost. Does that not prove that some humans are cold-hearted, avarice-ridden leeches requiring regulation to control lustful urges? In the “democracy” we live in, nothing is preventing the vampires from turning money into power and then power into money and then money into power. Idiot’s Delight! Buggery of masses to move wealth from the poorer to the richer. Is that socialism? Or reverse socialism?

Today, I had the pleasant experience of discussing America. History, and Americans lack of historical context, which is partly due to the jeopardy style “fact”, rote memorization history taught in public schools rather than the dynamic, engaging living history, was one issue touched upon. History is dehumanized, which makes no sense since history is History. Sorry James Lewis, but I am not going overboard on the political correctness. Obfuscation destroys any chance of full understanding. It is precisely how the government gets away with so much malarkey. This is a topic that demands a much lengthier dissertation, so it will be dropped for now.

Historically-minded as I am at this moment I will leave you with a few choice ideas about history and the track “Bonzo Goes to Washington (5 Minutes)”. History Happens! Remember the Alamo Bowl!

“History is everything that happens everywhere.” Philip Roth

“…harmless history, where everything unexpected in its’ own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.” Philip Roth

“A people without a positive history is like a vehicle without an engine.” Steve Biko

“Bonzo Goes to Washington (5 Minutes)” was a collaboration between Jerry Harrison, (Talking Heads guitarist/keyboardist) and Bootsy Collins. Using the infamous clip of Reagan’s”My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes”, a “joke” that was not meant to be heard by the masses. Remind anyone of a certain P.O.W.?

A final drop of knowledge from the biting wit of the late, great Michael O’Donoghue.

“Rule of Thumb: The more gold a man wears around his neck, the more worthless he thinks himself to be.”

Obviously this excludes B.A. Baracus, who was a bad mothalicka!

“Law is only a mean. Government is only a means. ‘Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness’ – are the ends.” Howard Zinn

Erykah Badu’s “The Healer (Hip Hop) would make P-Funk, Zinn, and Vonnegut all proud, so it is included. Always a beast, Erykah delves deep into the psychedelic soul sound made famous by The Temptations. Pharoah Monch contributes a clever verse bringing some here and now “reality” to Erykah’s slightly more abstract musings.

Told you we aint dead yet
we been livin’ through your internet
you don’t have to believe everything you think
we’ve been programmed wake up, we miss you.

Keep on stroking!

Life is just a moment!


One Response to “Parliafunkadelicment Thangday! (Synthentically Engineered Funk 100% Natural)”

  1. party music can range from R&B, Disco and of course mainstream pop music like Lady Gaga “-;

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