Parliament – 1975 – Mothership Connection
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Parliament’s Mothership Connection is easily the greatest funk albumof all time. If you want to listen to music to make you feel good and dance, this is the perfect album.
Mind-blowing. A milestone in funk history… From the spoken intro of ‘P. Funk’ to the disco vocals of the title track, everything sounded like the ultimate reference in the genre. Each song had been crafted as a timeless classic : never ending jams bursting with multi-layered grooves, thumping basslines, crazy vocal arrangements and George Clinton’s hilarious lyrics… It seemed all the musicians involved had the time of their life during the recording. As a result, this was the definitive partying album… Perfection in madness.
1. “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)” 7:41
2. “Mothership Connection (Star Child)” 6:14
3. “Unfunky UFO” 4:23
4. “Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication” 5:03
5. “Handcuffs” 3:51
6. “Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)” 5:46
7. “Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples” 5:10
In 2003 the TV network VH1 named Mothership Connection the 55th greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 274 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Parliament was one arm in George Clinton’s funk army during the 70s, a large conglomeration of groups and musicians (including Bootsy’s Rubber Band, Funkadelic, The Horny Horns and others) dedicated to rewriting the rules of funk, soul and rock. Clinton’s bands sounded like James Brown gone mad, partly because of the inclusion of former JB sidemen Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley, but mostly because of the alternate universe they inhabited–a sort of drugged-out traveling sci-fi soul revue. MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION shows why Clinton’s formula for funk domination of the free world worked so well. The music is tight and groovy, with heavy bass lines, precise horn runs and ultra-electronic keyboards (provided by Bernie Worrell). The lyrics are often no more than spaced-out spoken word excursions, sounding like Sly Stone reciting Isaac Asimov. And the whole concept and presentation was so totally freaked out that it would catch people off-guard, letting Clinton’s teachings and philosophies seep into the unconscious. The most traditionally structured song is a love and bondage number called “Handcuffs,” which shows how far Clinton and his P-Funkers had brought funk from the halcyon days of Otis Redding and James Brown. Songs like “P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)” and “Tear The Roof Off The Sucker,” with their extended interplay and dazed vocals, helped pave the way for the rise of hip hop as a commercial vehicle.
This is my favorite Parliament album. This one just has all the things that make Parliament great. Killer grooves, great choir (funk community?) vocals, etc… Night Of The Thumpasorus Peoples has one of the greatest bass-lines of all time. This is one of those tunes that Parliament could have just vamped on for 25 straight minutes and it would have been perfect. Not to mention the layers of chanting that envelop the tune! That and Unfunky UFO are the two songs that really clinch this album’s “best” status for me. The only song on here that I skip over all the time is Handcuffs. That tune just does nothing for me at all. Parliament certainly has other great albums, but this is really THE ONE that makes me wish I had been born earlier than 1975 and been able to see this incredible group in concert
In the mid to late 70s, funk stood on two legs. The two legs had names: Parliament and Funkadelic. Which leg was named which is up for debate. However, the legs were of George Clinton, the funk maestro who coined the term P-funk and gave us classics like Atomic Dog and Dr. Funkenstein. Whether P-funk stood for Parliament-Funkadelic, pure funk, or some other funky word is still left unknown, but P-funk was the greatest era of funk. As time went on, the blasting horn sections were replaced with synthesizers and funk became synthesized pop music. However, for a short decade, funk was at the top of its game. Mothership Connection is one of the greatest funk albums of the era.