Related: Detroit - American music - funk - P-funk - Pedro Bell - George Clinton - black rock
Years active: 1960s - 1970s
Cosmic Slop (1973) - Funkadelic
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Funkadelic were bad motherfuckers. They shared management and stages with the other "bad boys of Detroit" -- Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes, MC5, and The Stooges. Their management even cooked up a marriage between George and Iggy Pop as a publicity stunt. Iggy was probably relieved that it was never followed through. "He could have been my wife," tittered Clinton. Clinton would certainly have incorporated Iggy into his entourage like a cyber-funkified bodysnatcher. --A.S. Van Dorston
Funkadelic was originally the backing band for the doo wop group, The Parliaments. The band was added in 1964, primarily for tours, and consisted of Frankie Boyce, Richard Boyce and Langston Booth. They enlisted in the army in 1966, and George Clinton (the leader of The Parliaments) recruited Billy Bass Nelson and Eddie Hazel in 1967, then also adding Tawl Ross and Tiki Fulwood.
Due to legal difficulties between Clinton and Revilot, The Parliaments' label, the name was abandoned in favor of Funkadelic, which consisted of the same group of people (that is, both the former Parliaments and their back-up band, now both combined in the name "Funkadelic"). The group signed to Westbound in 1968.
The self-titled debut album, Funkadelic, was released in 1970. The credits listed organist Mickey Atkins plus Clinton, Fulwood, Hazel, Nelson and Ross, though the actual recording also included several sessionmen, then employed by Motown, as well as Ray Monette (of the Rare Earth) and Bernie Worrell, all uncredited.
Bernie Worrell was officially credited starting with Funkadelic's second album, 1970's Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow, thus beginning a long collaboration between Worrell and Clinton (who had been friends for quite a while). Worrell would go on to produce many Parliament and Funkadelic albums, as well as play keyboard on albums by other members of P Funk.
After the release of Maggot Brain in 1971, Bootsy and Catfish Collins joined the group. The brothers would go on to become major contributors to the P Funk sound. In 1972, this new line-up released America Eats Its Young, but many members left the group after that, due to internal squabbles, plus Hazel spending a year in jail for drug possession and assault, Tawl Ross experiencing either a bad LSD trip and/or a speed overdose, while Billy Bass quit due to financial concerns. Michael Hampton, a seventeen-year-old guitar prodigy, replaced Hazel.
1975 brought Funkadelic to Warner Brothers, and saw the release of Hardcore Jollies in 1976. The same year, Westbound released archived tracks as Tales of Kidd Funkadelic, which did significantly better than Hardcore Jollies and included "Undisco Kidd," a R+B Top 30 single. In 1977, Westbound capitalized on the success of Tales of Kidd Funkadelic by releasing The Best of the Early Years. Funkadelic recorded and released its magnum opus, One Nation Under a Groove in 1978. The titular track spent six weeks at #1 on the R+B charts, while Parliament was enjoying success with "Flash Light" and "Aqua Boogie."
With the new found fame of Funkadelic, longtime members Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon and Grady Thomas (who were original Parliaments) left the group (in 1977) and released a single, "Connections and Disconnections" under the name Funkadelic (in 1981). The song charted at the same time as the titular song to Clinton's Funkadelic's The Electric Spanking of War Babies.
As the 1980s wore on, legal difficulties arising from the multiple names used by multiple groups, as well as a shakeup among Parliament's record label, Parliament and Funkadelic disintegrated. George Clinton recorded several solo albums (sometimes under the name George Clinton & the P.Funk All-Stars). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funkadelic [Mar 2005]
- Funkadelic (1970) - Funkadelic [1 CD, Amazon US]
This is the debut album by the outstanding musical pioneers Funkadelic & my favourite of what I've heard so far. it opens w/ the immortal line "If you will suck my soul, I will lick yr funky emotions" before getting into the groove of their manifesto track Mommy, What's A Funkadelic? combiming humour, stoner-rock, soul, & something else in a magical blend for the ears. I Bet You is a supreme soul stomper type song unlikely to leave yr head too quickly, perfection. Other highlights are What Is Soul? which closes the album & is a sequel to the 1st track & I Got A Thing... which includes the statement "you don't drink what I drink what I drink, you don't smoke what I smoke, you don't think like I think, you don't joke like I joke" which is to bring people together despite superficial differences. The players are Eddie Hazel, Bernie Worrell, Tiki Fulwood, & others & the occasional narration of the man behind the curtain George Clinton. I had written a more indepth review before but for some reason it never got posted, all I mean to say is that this is an excellent, intelligent, essential & overlooked album that will indeed Free Yr Mind if you give it a chance. FunkMeister G for amazon.com
- One Nation Under a Groove (1978) - Funkadelic [Amazon US]
George Clinton's post-bicentennial message to those in the "chocolate cities" was that America could be theirs, too, without any loss of their own black, regional identities. One Nation Under a Groove remains Funkadelic's most provocative release, as well as one of the funkiest long-players released in the disco era. The band vamps on a world where people of different color play each other's songs ("Who Says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock?!"), lose their inhibitions (the classic title track), and bond together with the glue of shared secrets (the wonderful "Groovallegiance"). Standout: the slow-grooved "Into You," in which a lover vows to stay true or a patriot pledges devotion to a new flag--take your pick. You might think that a complex and moving ode to commitment is out of place on an album with such political overtones, but it's not. It's really the quiet-storm centerpiece. --Don Harrison for amazon.com
- Cosmic Slop (1973) - Funkadelic [Amazon.com]
My favourite Funkadelic recording, including 'Cosmic Slop', later versioned by Bill Laswell's Material. 1973. Detroiter George Clinton was both behind Parliament and Funkadelic.
- Electric Spanking War Babies (1981) - Funkadelic [Amazon US]
George Clinton's Funkadelic went through many changes over the years, and though the group's name is here, neither the personnel nor the music has much in common with earlier incarnations. That said, there is some fantastic playing here. Newer members--Blackbyrd McKnight, Ron Ford, and Ron Dunbar among them--keep the energy level high and shift the music into heavy funk. Clinton pal and influence Sly Stone takes a few turns at the mike, and Eddie Hazel proves there was no guitar player better equipped to match wits with Clinton. The lyrics are sublimely surreal, and the band's musical quotes (including "She Loves You") are dexterous and right on the money. --Rob O'Connor for amazon.com
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