Like the man said, “Make my funk the P-Funk. I wants to get funked up.” This is not the first “best of” by George Clinton and troop, but it is the best I’ve run across. It runs the gamut from the classics like “Give Up the Funk” and the wonderful “Flashlight” with its prototypical funk rhythm guitar playing, to some stuff that you don’t hear all the time, like “Fantasy is Reality.”
While the Funkadelic element of Clinton’s work usually had the long guitar solos, the Parliament side featured the brilliant ensemble funk. Bass players could stick this one on and be studied in the discipline of funk bass playing very quickly. And the guitars are very subversive. “Chocolate City” features a killer arrangement that rides around a popping guitar, monster bass, and gurgling keyboards. The heavy funk of “Ride On” is driven by some nasty wah work.
One thing I’ve always loved about Parliament is the amount of things going on in their songs. Despite that, they hang together like they’re glued shut. No matter how many times you listen, there always seems to be something you haven’t heard before.
Lyrically, it gets no goofier. “Aqua Boogie” is just plain weird. “Theme From the Black Hole” gets very close to “omigod” obscene. “Dr. Funkenstein” not only has a great title, but a very funny lyric.
If you don’t have a good collection of P-Funk CDs, this would be a good one for you to latch on to. This is a band whose influence goes well beyond its music. Like it says in “P. Funk,” “That’s the law here… you got to wear your sunglasses.” Get on the good foot, now!
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’03 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.