One Nation Under A GROOVE ... Getting Down Just FOR The Funk Of It!
Inductees: George Clinton (vocals; born July 22, 1940), Jerome Bigfoot Brailey (drums; born August 20, 1950), William Bootsy Collins (bass, vocals; born October 26, 1951), Raymond Davis (vocals; born March 29, 1940), Tiki Fulwood (drums, vocals; born May 23, 1944), Glenn Lamont Goins (vocals, guitar; born tk, died 1978), Michael Hampton (guitar; born November 15, 1956), Clarence Fuzzy Haskins (vocals; born June 8, 1941), Eddie Hazel (guitar, vocals; born April 10, 1950, died 1992), Walter Junie Morrison (keyboards, synthesizers; born tk), Cordell Boogie Mosson Jr. (bass; born October 16, 1952), William Billy Bass Nelson Jr. (bass; born January 28, 1951), Gary Shider (vocals, guitar; born July 24, 1953; died June 16, 2010), Calvin Thang Simon (vocals; born May 22, 1942), Grady Thomas (vocals; born January 5, 1941), Bernie Worrell (keyboards, vocals, born April 19, 1944)
Under the guiding hand of mastermind George Clinton, the affiliated groups Parliament and Funkadelic established funk as an heir to and outgrowth of soul. If James Brown is funks founding father, Clinton has been its chief architect and tactician. Over the decades, hes presided over a musical empire thats included Parliament and Funkadelic, plus numerous offshoots (such as the Brides of Funkenstein and Parlet), solo careers (Clintons and bassist Bootsy Collins being the notable) and aggregates (the P-Funk All-Stars). The pioneering work of Parliament and Funkadelic in the Seventies”driven by Clintons conceptually inventive mind and the band members tight ensemble playing and stretched-out jamming”prefigured everything from rap and hip-hop to techno and alternative. Clintons latter-day disciples include Prince and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Between them, Parliament and Funkadelic virtually defined the melting pot known as funk: a melding of rhythm & blues, jazz, gospel and psychedelic rock. With them, Clinton has purveyed larger-than-life characters and concepts from the stage, culminating in such theatrical milestones as the Mothership, a mock flying saucer from which the black space aliens of Clintons musical entourage alighted onstage. Though his musical productions have been typified by danceable grooves and driven by a laser-sharp sociological wit, Clintons ultimate goal is serious: I am intent on making the word funk as legitimate as jazz and rock and roll.
George Clinton spent his teenage years in Plainfield, New Jersey, where he founded a vocal group called the Parliaments. They recorded as far back as 1956 but didnt impact the charts until 1967, when (I Wanna) Testify"”a prescient mix of Sixties soul, rock and pop”went #3 R&B and #20 pop. That year, Clinton began listening to the new wave of psychedelic rock by bands such as Cream, Vanilla Fudge and Sly and the Family Stone. The dual influence of cutting-edge soul and rock served as inspirations to Funkadelic. In 1970, Clinton dropped the s from his other band, and Parliament was born.
Each group had a distinct identity and alternated releases into the late Seventies on a variety of labels”Invictus, Westbound, Warner Bros.”with Clinton dividing his time between them. Parliament was essentially a horn-based soul group and Funkadelic a guitar-based rock group, but both were built on a foundation of funk. Parliament and Funkadelic were flip sides of the same coin, and these overlapping entities respective outputs were referred to in stylistic shorthand as P-Funk. In Parliaments self-referential theme song, P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up), Clinton and entourage referred to themselves as dealers of funky music, P-Funk, uncut funk, The Bomb.
Parliament and Funkadelic frequently resorted to allegorical concept albums to make larger points about societal injustices and ways in which a community of like-minded souls could liberate themselves from its constrictions. Clinton animated the moral conflict between opposing forces of good (the trippy funkateer Starchild") and evil (the uptight, uptight Sir Nose DVoid of Funk") over the course of a five-year run of Parliament albums, from Mothership Connection (1976) to Trombipulation (1981). Meanwhile, Funkadelic gelled on one of the finest funk albums ever produced, One Nation Under a Groove, whose title track was a rousing anthem of union and community.
Parliament and Funkadelic dominated and revolutionized the music scene in the latter half of the Seventies”particularly in 1978 and 1979, when they racked up four #1 R&B hits: Flash Light, One Nation Under a Groove, Aqua Boogie and (Not Just) Knee Deep. Clintons main collaborators during Parliament-Funkadelics heyday included keyboardists Bernie Worrell and Walter Junie Morrison and bassist William Bootsy Collins. Known for his star-shaped sunglasses, glittery space bass and cartoonish demeanor, Collins became a funk icon and solo star in his own right. Melding soul, funk, jazz and psychedelia, a succession of P-Funk guitarists”including the late Eddie Hazel, Mike Hampton and DeWayne Blackbyrd McKnight”have carried forward the legacy of Jimi Hendrix with their adventurous, exploratory soloing.
During the 1970s, Parliament, Funkadelic and a host of related offshoots placed roughly 60 singles on the R&B charts and were among the hottest attractions on the concert circuit. They were responsible for some of the most theatrical tours ever undertaken, deploying one of the largest props”the otherworldly Mothership"”ever dragged from city to city. Financial, legal and personal problems grounded the Mothership in 1980, but Clinton resurfaced stronger than ever as a solo artist on Capitol Records.. Atomic Dog, the popular dance-funk centerpiece of 1982s Computer Games”one of Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Albums of the 80s”topped the R&B chart for four weeks. In 1983, Clinton also released an album credited to the P-Funk All-Stars, which drew on the talents of various members of Parliament and Funkadelic (including Bootsy Collins), plus guests like Sly Stone and Bobby Womack.
A new generation of hip young listeners discovered P-Funk via rap and hip-hop records that heavily sampled Clintons vast body of work. By the Nineties, Clinton was widely recognized as a black-music patriarch and pioneer whose contributions put him in a league with James Brown. In fact, Clinton is second only to Brown as the most heavily sampled artist. Meanwhile, the Parliament-Funkadelic juggernaut has shown no signs of slowing down, remaining active on the recording and touring fronts as George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars. One of their later albums”The Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Mothership (T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M.), released in 1996”returned the funk collective to the concept that helped establish them as visionaries 20 years earlier.
P-Funk Mothership Crew
aka Dr Funkenstein is the founding member of the P-Funk Crew aka FUNKADELIC and PARLIAMENT. GC was the main influence behind the P-Funk vibe and after 40 years of funkin, is still going strong.
aka Bootzilla | Casper is the original funk master bassist, who, in hes early days was funked up by none other than James Brown and developed the tightness required for echelons of funk bass. Bootsy got on-board the mothership and joined with George in 1972 for the next phase of P-Funk
Phelpsplays a funkstastic rhythm guitar and is mostly known for his work in the P-Funk collective. Catfish and his brother, Bootsy, heped to create that P-Funk sound. Catfish played on many important and influential records by Parliament, Funkadelic, and Bootsys Rubber Band.
started his funk career from a young age by joining the Parliaments as a lead guitarist in 1967, aged 17! He mustta been a great musician at that age to get on board the mothership. He played in one of Funkadelics finest albums: Maggot Brain and over three years helped to develop the P-Funk Sound. Eddie is no longer with us in phisical form, but will always be remembered for that outfit and his unique sound.
a funkstastic guitarist and soulful vocalist, got on board the mothership in the form of Funkadelic, and performed on most of their best albums. From hit songs like, Cosmic Slop, and One Nation, his voice is recognisable. He was also influential in the success of Bootsy Collins first releases, as a solo artist.
is pure funk on keys. Another virtuoso from the mothership who wrote a concerto when he was 8! One or two of them notes mustta been funky. He was with Parliament from the start. Through the 1970s, he toured with Parliament and Funkadelic. Bernie played, and still plays the keyboards, and occasionally the organ, plus other instruments on studio tracks. He officially joined the P-Funk in 1970, and recorded the album Free Your Mind¦ And Your Ass Will Follow.
The Brides of Funkenstein
were previously backing singers for Sly Stone. Mabry and Silva joined the P-Funk collective around '77. Dr Funkenstein renamed them, and then recorded their first album with the p-funk collective, Funk Or Walk, for Atlantic Records in 1978.
The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me").
As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.
The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created.
The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon).
If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) yahoo.com and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available.
Enjoy. "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
"I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
"Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
"If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)
Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.
Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay."
While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).
The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.