I don't particularly consider myself an expert in the funk. I was raised on Johnny Cash, and Loretta Lynn was my spiritual mother's milk. I was not raised on the funky stuff, other than Jerry Reed. I have some fair knowledge of much pop music, but the funk has been an adult pursuit. On the other hand, I've certainly been steeping in Prince and James Brown and Sly for over 20 years, so I have some basis of knowledge.
But there are big names of which I have only marginal knowledge. I lacks education in certain elements of the funk, and I am seeking remedial lessons. Consider these essays on George Clinton/Parliament/Funkadelic as my class notes.
George Clinton certainly has one of the half dozen biggest names in the history of the funk. Other than Prince or James Brown his own bad Self, Clinton has as big a reputation as anyone.
For my part, I'm a little less than 100% sold of Clinton. His general creative vision was outstanding, and he had great bands and grooves, but the songwriting was mostly marginal at best. He was certainly no Terence Trent D'Arby, much less Prince. Then again, Purple Rain was my original funk turn-on, and from there mostly things can only go downhill.
I find myself looking for other frames to appreciate Clinton. Listening to it like jazz sometimes helps, but Clinton will tend to suffer by technical musical comparisons if you're stacking him against, say, Miles or Coltrane.
Thinking of Parliament as "jam band" music works better. For long, noodling grooves, I'd definitely take Clinton's freak army over the Grateful Dead. The grooves and harmonies are certainly much more interesting than Garcia's crew.
But generalizing only gets you so far. Let's consider a couple of albums specifically.
Maggot Brain 1971
Uncle Jam Wants You 1979
One Nation Under a Groove 1978
A reader stands up for the P-Funk
THE MOTHERSHIP OF P-FUNK PHOTO GALLERIES
PAGE 2 EDDIE HAZEL GALLERY
PAGE 3 BOOTSY COLLINS GALLERY A
PAGE 4 BOOTSY COLLINS GALLERY B
PAGE 5 BOOTSY COLLINS GALLERY C
Music Sustains the Soul
Music Sustains the Soul
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