Soulful Detroit Forum: Archives: Parliament-Funkadelic
Top of pageBottom of page   By Rich ( - on Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 09:13 pm:

Like there's not enough to discus already! I knew I'd bring this up eventually, even though lots of folks resent their success and acclaim. Spin Magazine last month listed Parliament-Funkadelic as either the 6th or 7th greatest band of all-time, and ahead of the Rolling Stones. At the end of 1999, Guitar player magazine recognized Free Your Mind ... as one of the albums of the Century & Maggot Brain as one of the songs of the Century. I love the forum and the site but as a fan I'd also like to continue to impress upon folks the connections of Detroit and P-Funk. And they're not a finished story either. March 23rd, they're heading back out again. Their Story runs through so many threads posted to this forum. The Parliaments were rejected at a Motown audition in 1962. George Clinton was a song-writer for Jobete New York around '63 & '64, where he had at least a couple of songs published ("I'll Bet You" & I Can't Shake Loose"). George Clinton along with fellow Jobete New York song writer Sidney Barnes (Later of Rotary Connection ... w/ Minnie Ripperton) formed a production company with Motown's Mike Terry around '65 ... GeoSiMik that produced several sides for the Golden World, RicTic & Solid Hit Labels for vocalists such as JJ Barnes, Darrell Banks, The Debonaires, Flaming Embers, The Holidays, Pat Lewis & Theresa Lindsay. The Parliaments recorded a single of their own for Golden World ("Heart Trouble" b/w "That Was My Girl" in '66. "(I Wanna) Testify" became the first smash on LaBaron Taylor's new Revilot Label in '67, Billy Bass, Eddie Hazel & Tiki Fulwood relocated to Detroit to rehearse and develop the material for the first Funkadelic Lp in the summer of '68. When the rhythm section temporarily left Detroit, Funk Brothers Babbit, Monette, Coffey, Hunter, Van Dyke & Smith jumped in and recorded the first Funkadelic album in 1969 for Armen Boladian's new Westbound Label. The live band during the interim featured Zachery Slater (Frazier) drummer for the Politicians. Parliament (with Funkadelic playing the music) recorded their extraordinary first album Osmium for Invictus in 1970. By 1971 Funkadelic had grown in popularity to the point that they were playing Cobo Hall instead of the 20 Grand. The POliticians McKinley Jackson plays trombone on "Back in Our Minds" from Maggot Brain. By year end, Mallia Franklin introduced George Clinton to Bootsy Collins at a Detroit Club (I forget the name), while the Whitfield produced "Face to Face with the Truth" album features a song (You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell) that is a direct copy of "Mommy What's a Funkadelic", as well as the musical foundation for the Tempts version of Papa was a Rolling Stone. In 1972, Funkadelic's Eddie Hazel & Billy Bass went to work as studio musicians for Motown playing on a tremendous number of sessions over the next 10 years in Detroit & then in LA. The Undisputed Truth's Law of the Land LP tells all "Let those who have ears to hear, listen". In 1973, the Jeffrey Bowen produced Invictus top-ten hit Finder's Keepers for the Chairman of the Board features a rhythm section of Billy Bass, Eddie Hazle & Bernie Worrell, who've begun playing on various sessions for Invictus. In 1974 the style of bass playing that Billy Bass had developed at the encouragement of James Jamerson leaps out of speakers everywhere as the Commodores "I Feel Sanctified" becomes a smash hit. In 1975 Billy & Eddie backing Damon, Dennis & the rest of the Tempts take "Happy People" & "Shakey Ground" straight to #1. 1976 - Bernie Worrell & Bootsy Collins provide the musical back-drop at United Sound Studios for the Don Davis produced mega-hit Disco Lady he did on Johnnie Taylor, while Parliament shakes up the world with their Mothership Connection LP, also recorded at United Sounds. After spending most of 1977 either on tour or recording in LA, Clinton returns to Detroit in 1978 producing & co-writing predominantly with Junie Morrison (who'd joined P-Funk after three albums with the Ohio Players & 3 solo LPs all on Westbound) and Ron Dunbar (who'd written Band of Gold for Freda Payne & Edfith Wayne.

I don't know any of this for any other reason than there's something about the music that moves me. Which is why I always appreciate John Lesters "fan-persective" posts. A fact or two slightly out of place is not the point. The point is that no one should diminish the affect of P-Funk on the entire Detroit scene from as early as '65 forward. We're all living down stream of the music they cast upon the water. FUNKADELIC Y'ALL!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Davie G ( - on Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 09:44 pm:


I don't think anyone would dispute Parliament /
Funkadelic's importance either to Detroit or to the wider world. If we don't write as much about them as much as lesser known people it's precisely
because the point of this forum, well my
perspective of it anyway, is to give recognition,
no matter how belated, to all the bit players on
the scene whose contributions were underappreciated at the time but nevertheless
should not be forgotten.

George and the rest of the gang are pretty well
documented - people like Gwen Owens aren't. If
we, the people on this forum, don't try to cover
them who will ?

So if you think we don't appreciate George and
the others that's not really the case - it's just that information on hundreds of other people
who were in the Detroit music scene is very hard
to come by and I see it as our job to try and remedy that situation.

George doesn't really need publicity here, Emmanuel Laskey and Carl Carlton do.

Please take this in the spirit in which it's intended.

Incidentally, have you ever heard of supposed Clinton involvement in a record called "Incense"
by the Anglos - personally I'm dubious - nothing
I've ever read about him mentions this record and George is preety good about talking about his
"straight" days.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie Hardin ( - on Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 09:56 pm:


The Anglos' Incense - really digging into distant memory for this one.

This was a UK production on Island, and as far as I remember, the lead vocal was someone such as Stevie Winwood, or Chris Farlowe - certainly a "name" on the British R&B scene. I've certainly never heard any claims to a George Clinton connection for this, and seriously doubt there was one. (More like Chris Blackwell!)

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( - on Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 10:04 pm:


The Osmium CD on UK Sequel sells so well that Sequel keep trying to re-package them.

When the next one comes up, I am gonna recommend you write the sleeve notes!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph Terrana ( - on Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 10:11 pm:

I first met George Clinton at Golden World one night. He was still a writer. He was wearing a sport coat and tie. Can you imagine? That night we were talking in the area outside the control room while a session was taking a break. We were discussing how funny the record business could be. At that moment Don Davis came walking by. He was playing guitar on the session that night. George stopped him and said " isn't it true Don? " Don said " isn't what true? " that the record business can be funny. Don looked at us and said.." HA HA " and walked back into the studio.

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( - on Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 10:25 pm:

Ralph...that goes under studio stories too!!

and a sports coat and tie on George Clinton is NOT something I can picture...

Top of pageBottom of page   By phillysoulman ( - on Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 10:42 pm:

I first met George Clinton in the fall of 1968 at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.
I was there with the Vibrations.
The Parliaments were wearing regulation "uniforms"
that were indigenous to the r&b acts of the day, matching suits with skinny ties and patent leather shoes.Also on the bill were The Winstons who recorded "Color Him Father", The Dells",Etta James and several more I am trying to remember.
I wish that I would have kept a journal, as I am doing this all from memory except for the photographs. There must be a million gigabytes of info up there waiting to be downloaded on to my hard drive.
Back in the day "hard drive" took on a whole 'nother meaning!!!!! And thankfully, in my case it still does.!!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By david, glasgow, scotland ( - on Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 11:59 pm:


as a token of respect for you hanging in here, ralph and me are going to use a pic of the funkadelic album for the tera shirma story.

it will be up in about 3 weeks but i need a good quality scan of the cover.

can you provide one at all?

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( - on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 07:25 am: day at a time please......its too much to take in all at one go

Top of pageBottom of page   By Rich ( - on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 01:31 pm:

Compared to me, Bobby Eli is a scanner genius! But Gimme a minute to think of something. Davie G, I agree totally, I'm very interested in the unsung players and singers and don't think GC needs any more exposure. He's already taken too much of the credit for himself. I've seen pics of the Parliaments in dinner jackets as well as matching sweaters. such nice boys, shame! Bobby Eli, is there any chance that the year you intro'd Tiki to Eddie or saw them at the Howard was '67 & not '68? There was this guy John Jenkins who temporarily replaced Calvin Simon in the Parliaments (while Calvin was in Viet Nam) who alledgedly supplied the group with every drug known to man. Calvin has said that when he returneed in the fall of '68 the group was hardly recognizable to him.

Top of pageBottom of page   By recordboyusa ( - on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 07:59 pm:

Here's a Clinton related question I've been wondering about:

There are very strong similarities between "I Wanna Testify" by the Parliaments, and "Soul Power" by Derek Martin (released on the Tuba label). Yet Teddy Randazzo and his wife Victoria Pike take writers credit for "Soul Power". I wonder if they ripped off George Clinton, or if perhaps both were taken from gospel songs. "I wanna testify" sounds like it easily could have had its roots in gospel. Does anyone know for sure?

Jeff Lemlich

Top of pageBottom of page   By phillysoulman ( - on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 08:15 pm:

Testifying is an African American Baptist tradition which has it's roots in slavery and African lore. The "throw your hands in the air , wave 'em like you just don't care", so prevelant in hip-hop culture, has it's roots in testifying in church, as there is always a raised hand or two exclaiming the emotion felt therein, whereby "summonning the spirits,and speaking in tongues.
If you remember the dance routine that The Parliaments were doing to I wanna Testify, they were doing just that.
Also, i started with with the Vibrations in late November ,1967 at the Apollo for 3 days and on to Germany and England. The Howard was 1968, as was the 20 grand and my Tera Shirma session with Mike Terry.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( - on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 08:49 pm:


I guess that's why the ol' Church is doing so badly in England these days. All we get to do is sing "All Things Bright And Beautiful"

Now if we could TESTIFY.....

Top of pageBottom of page   By recordboyusa ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 12:47 am:

"Friends, inquisitive friends"...

I saw Wayne Cochran's name pop up in a thread. He has a church in North Miami now, and only sings songs for the lord... but he still sings soul! "Jesus makes me want to shout"! "The lord has lifted me higher than I've ever been lifted before"! That is MY kind of church!

Jeff Lemlich

Top of pageBottom of page   By Rich ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 02:15 am:

Change, there's been a change, just come over me.

Yeah, Jeff that's stuff straight outta church. Fuzzy Haskins is now a preacher who recorded an album for Armen Boladian's gospel label a few years back before hooking up with fellow Parliaments Calvin Simon, Grady Thomas and Ray Davis in Original P. In fact Clinton's whole Mothership era live show was a thinly vieled tent revival that bordered on blasphemous. They even sang Swing Down Sweet Chariot before the space ship landed with the second coming of Dr Funkenstein. Raising hands, all that straight outta GC's pentacostal backround. Ritchie, I take it the Asuza Street Revival never got as far as London, that is a shame.

Top of pageBottom of page   By phillysoulman ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 03:43 am:

Also the Isely's Shout is directly connected the Black tradition of Shouting,which is a spiritual dance whereby they the parishioners and the pastor and whoever else for that matter, is taken over by the spirit and sort of jump around and also testify, sometimes to the point of having to be revived!! It is also rooted deep in African culture, and passed on to the earliest of slaves.
Stepping,which is a competitive showcase done by students of Black fraternities and soroties, whereby they demonstrate their latest original "steps", usually for a trophy.It was also an African cultural phenomena whereby all the famous Black vocal groups inherited the spirit of the dance and incorporated these routines into their shows.I remember times when people would go to the Uptown to take in the latest "steps" and the latest "uniforms" that the groups were wearing.
Even the mode of dress was steeped in African tradition of finery.It is all connected.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 07:43 pm:

The rarely mentioned element that is the engine for ALL 20th. century American musical genres is 18th century protestant Gospel music which was preserved almost entirely by African Americans while at the same time being enriched with African traditions.

In the late 1940s some of the most popular Gospel singers began performing secular music while retaining the dance and vocal flavor of African American Gospel. (Jazz performers had unleashed Gospel's improvisational tradition 25 years earlier.) A lot of church people were not very happy to see this happen. Jackie Wilson was one of the most influential and Elvis Presley cited Wilson as being one of his major sources for his performance style. Presley had also started out in Gospel and, needless to say, upset a lot of people by embracing Jackie Wilson's approach to entertainment.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie Hardin ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 07:59 pm:

Hi Bob

I think we could include Clyde McPhatter and Ray Charles in with the Gospel/R&B pioneers too, I suspect.

On the "Million Dollar Session", Elvis describes watching Billiy Ward's Dominoes, and imitates the lead singer's delivery. Though he didn't mention the man by name, it would have been Jackie Wilson at that time. Jackie frequently cited Clyde McPhatter - his predecessor in the Dominoes - as his biggest influence.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 08:18 pm:

Elvis had been booked on shows opening for these guys. He wore the same expensive European sports clothes and hung with them when he wasn't working. Sun had been producing regional R&B records and selling the most successful to Chess in Chicago.

We visited the original Sun studio the day before yesterday. It reminded me a lot of Hitsville although it's a little smaller. The acoustics are a little deader but it's a killer funk room that I'd love using even if it wasn't famous.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 08:27 pm:

Just to bring this conversation full circle, the very first rhythm session that I ever watched was the one for Testify. I'll never forget telling Don Davis that I thought the playing was incredible and him responding something to the effect of "this was nothing compared to number of churches I can think of but none of those folks are willing to play outside of church."

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph Terrana ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 08:50 pm:

I can testify to that. I'm acquainted with a very popular black preacher here in Monterey. I have been to his church services several times. The music program at this church is awesome. Because of my background, I was approached by them to play organ ( B3 ), work with the choir and work also with this DYNAMITE men's chorus they had.I wanted to do this badly. I'm sure I had things to learn from these talented people. However, because of my other commitments, I felt I wouldn't be able to devote the time necessary to do justice to this fine church. I still think about it though.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 08:58 pm:

There's a Gospel radio station here in Nashville that is incredible. Nashville, Detroit and Chicago have long been major centers for Gospel music.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Carl Dixon London ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 09:17 pm:

I need some gospel singers in London! Anybody got any ideas?

Top of pageBottom of page   By ErikT.O. ( - on Friday, February 22, 2002 - 08:34 am:

A friend of mine lived in Memphis for a while and saw a Rev. Al Green sing and preach; he said it was great (early to mid 80's)...

Top of pageBottom of page   By david, glasgow, scotland ( - on Friday, February 22, 2002 - 08:36 am:

al green was in glasgow last year and blew everybody away.

still a great performer and preacher.

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