Where the hell do I start with Parliament/Funkadelic?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
AMG is no help, they pretty much say every album thy ever recorded was great (and they have roughly a million billion CDs). I looked up Bootsy's solo stuff and he had tons of stuff they said was great too. So lost.

David Allen, Monday, 17 March 2003 04:53 (seventeen years ago) link

start with mothership connection, clones of dr funkenstein and funkentelechy vs placebo syndrom, all by Parliament, all very consistent and easily enjoyed.
for more leftfield stuff try maggot brain by funkadelic, a record that moves from acidic guitar freakouts to down-home funk to giant fart sounds.
the two cd Bootsy best of (on Rhino?) is a pretty good summary.

gaz (gaz), Monday, 17 March 2003 04:58 (seventeen years ago) link

they pretty much say every album thy ever recorded was great

I try. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 17 March 2003 04:59 (seventeen years ago) link

Ned did the AMGs? must go look...

gaz (gaz), Monday, 17 March 2003 05:01 (seventeen years ago) link

Not all of them, but a fair amount. I don't claim perfect expertise and probably got a lot of stuff wrong on the factual front, correct me as needed!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 17 March 2003 05:02 (seventeen years ago) link

thats interesting that you bring up parliament/fnkadelic. they just played a show near me this very evening. i didn't go however. I had no idea that they were on tour (or still tour for that matter) but I found out about this show maybe a month ago and i was like damn george clinton has still got da funk. did anyone goto this show? it was in Elizabeth, NJ at a place called RexPlex.

JP Albin (John Paul Albin), Monday, 17 March 2003 05:05 (seventeen years ago) link

the "P-Funk All Stars" play pretty regularly on the I-95 corridor.

gabbneb (gabbneb), Monday, 17 March 2003 05:33 (seventeen years ago) link

They always had a negative connotation to me - i knew too many hippies who dug 'em. Plus, I (foolishly) assumed in my youth that Parliament and Funkadelic was the same sorta thing, some party-down shit Above the Law sampled. No interest.

Then one day a few years ago my buddy Dave and I were at a record store and almost shit ourselves - the music being played over the speakers was FANTASTIC - we never heard anything like it. One song was the best use of the Canon in D Major melody I'd ever heard. We asked what it was and it was


Though very atypical of the rest of their shit (at least the shit I've heard before and since), Osmium is one of my favorite records ever - it is beautiful - huge, unique and beautiful.

roger adultery (roger adultery), Monday, 17 March 2003 05:39 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm trying to think of another group(and I kinda consider Parliament and Funkadelic the same group because I'm lazy and it's easier) that combined so much of what I love in music and who created such amazing, stellar examples of "exactly" what I look for in music than them.It's-almost-all their in their catalogue.Great funk, soul, acoustic beauty,psych,rock,punk,disco,electro,pop,spoken word,musique concrete,country!,rap,and comedy.And tension and fear and guts and sweat and blood and tears and protest and big butts.

Scott Seward, Monday, 17 March 2003 05:55 (seventeen years ago) link

it depends on what style of music you're looking for.

the early stuff (Parliament's "Osmium", Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain", S/T, and "Free Your mind and Your ass will follow" are all fuzzed out hendrix styled acid blues funk.

the later stuff (usually after about '74) is more disco-y, funky, rubbery bass. the kinda stuff you see sample on the G-Funk hip hop albums (snoop, XClan, etc)

personally, i prefer the earlier stuff

JasonD (JasonD), Monday, 17 March 2003 06:45 (seventeen years ago) link

I wouldn't say Osmium is "fuzzed out hendrix styled acid blues funk"; it sounds more like they're trying to be Sly and the Family Stone, and actually is country-ish at times.

For a novice, I'd recommend starting with Funkadelic's Hardcore Jollies and Parliament's Mothership Connection, then working from there. P-Funk albums generally have great album tracks that you'd completely miss out on by sticking with singles comps.

Vic Funk, Monday, 17 March 2003 12:37 (seventeen years ago) link

I think between P/Funk's Mothership Connection, Parliament's Motor Booty Affair, and Funkadelic's Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow, you'd get a pretty good idea of what was going on, as well as what the difference is between what Parliament and Funkadelic brought into the whole project. (Parliament = more on the futurist comic book mysticism lyricism tip, Funkadelic = more on the acid-soaked funk-rock tip)

nickalicious (nickalicious), Monday, 17 March 2003 14:01 (seventeen years ago) link

I'd go with "One Nation Under a Groove" for
Funkadelic. I also think "Electric Spanking of War Babies" is a superb album, a lot of people dis it because it doesn't feature the old crew, but that matters not to me, it's brilliant.

"Up for the Down Stroke" for Paliament.

I like the early Westbound stuff OK, but it isn't really what they were good at, in my opinion. Nice guitar and all but kind of boring.

It's also interesting to check out Clinton's '60s group, the Parliaments, good compilation avail. of their stuff, w/ classics like "I Wanna Testify" (covered by Parliament in '74 and also by Johnnie Taylor at Stax) and "All Your Goodies are Gone" (also re-interpreted by Parliament on "Up for the Down Stroke." The Parliaments' "Look at What I Almost Missed" is an incredible pop song, later covered by Marshall Crenshaw.

Jess Hill (jesshill), Monday, 17 March 2003 14:33 (seventeen years ago) link

"osmium" is my hands-down favorite. heavy, countrified funk mixed in with some breathtakingly beautiful balladry.

lauren (laurenp), Monday, 17 March 2003 15:34 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm partial to the dancc-y Motor Booty Affair, but the crux is that they are all GREAT, and sorta inspire making a personal choice. So - in this instance it's not a terrible idea to start with The Bomb (the best of collection). It's got great singles, is a nice overview and the individual tracks are pretty representative of the albs they're culled from. I would also tackle Parliament before getting into the somewhat spottier Funkadelic stuff, although as has been pointed out _Maggot Brain_ _Free You Mind.._ and _One Nation.._ are all excellent.

scott m (mcd), Monday, 17 March 2003 16:28 (seventeen years ago) link

Ok, as fun as the revisionist history-making is, let's be realistic here: we shouldn't let the great early records completely obscure the brilliance of records like Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome. I mean, you might prefer some of the earlier stuff, but come on.

If you're looking for the straight-up, most accessible of the Parliament records that sound like what most people consider the "Parliament sound"--i.e. the "disco-y, funky, rubbery bass kinda stuff you see sample on the G-Funk hip hop albums" that Jason D pointed out--then Funkentelechy is tough to beat. Two killer singles, hilarious dead-on concept w/ great characters and great extended jams.

And ironically, in light of the early P-Funk records, it's one of the all-time greatest acid records.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Monday, 17 March 2003 16:49 (seventeen years ago) link

Meaning, I think it's great.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Monday, 17 March 2003 16:50 (seventeen years ago) link

Between the early P-Funk and later P-Funk, it comes down to whether you like acid tinged psychedelic r&b or birth of the g-funk.

They were great at both. It really is all good.

If check out "Cosmic Slop", you will find yourself at the mid point between the two sounds.

earlnash, Monday, 17 March 2003 17:03 (seventeen years ago) link

I wouldn't say Osmium is "fuzzed out hendrix styled acid blues funk"

heh, it does have it's country moments, and it's folky moments - "The Silent Boatman" with it's beautiful bagpipes(?!) - but seriously, "Red Hot Mama (From Louisiana)" (which someone a while ago suggested Britney should cover -GENIUS!) is so fuzzed out. it's one of their heaviest tracks.

JasonD (JasonD), Monday, 17 March 2003 18:07 (seventeen years ago) link

I started with Mothership Connection, personally.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Monday, 17 March 2003 18:07 (seventeen years ago) link

start with tracks two through six on maggot brain because they're perfect: can you get to that/hit it or quit it/you and your folks/super stupid/back in our minds.

dan (dan), Monday, 17 March 2003 18:41 (seventeen years ago) link

jesus, i forgot how incredible that sequence is

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Monday, 17 March 2003 18:44 (seventeen years ago) link

I cannot recommend Rhenium enough..


steve k (stevek10), Tuesday, 18 March 2003 00:04 (seventeen years ago) link

is it Osmium or Rhenium? Are those the same records? This has always been confusing.

steve k (stevek10), Tuesday, 18 March 2003 00:16 (seventeen years ago) link

Osmium was the original release - Rhenium is the CD reissue w/a couple tracks either re-mixed or replaced (I think)?

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 18 March 2003 00:17 (seventeen years ago) link

jesus, i forgot how incredible that sequence is

b-b-but what about Maggot brain: the track (track 1)

gaz (gaz), Tuesday, 18 March 2003 00:18 (seventeen years ago) link

is it Osmium or Rhenium? Are those the same records? This has always been confusing.

i actually have another release called Parliament "The Early Years". it has the butt-ugliest artwork i've ever seen. orange/green rainbow gradients. pictures that are stretched so that their height/ width ratios are off. but in the end, man, it's all about the music.

b-b-but what about Maggot brain: the track (track 1)

yeah seriously, this has to be my favorite track of theirs ever. but the sequence in question is pretty hot.

JasonD (JasonD), Tuesday, 18 March 2003 00:22 (seventeen years ago) link


JasonD (JasonD), Tuesday, 18 March 2003 00:24 (seventeen years ago) link

one year passes...
oh my god "one nation under a groove" is so so so so fucking good!!!!

sometimes i like to pretend i am very small and warm (ex machina), Monday, 25 October 2004 18:45 (fifteen years ago) link

Funkadelic-wise, at least, Standing On The Verge... is a pretty damn great first foray. You've got your heavy-ass guitar shit, your weirdo psych-babble, your funkier groove stuff...it's a pretty nice precis of the early-mid Funkadelic sound.

Zack Richardson (teenagequiet), Monday, 25 October 2004 23:42 (fifteen years ago) link

I'd pick up the Parliaments sides first, actually, just 'cuz it gives you a great window into the early workings of Clinton's mind. Actually, there are times I listen to this more than to any of the Parliament/Funkadelic stuff. And it's pretty weird. And "Look at What I Almost Missed" is an incredible, incredible song. The liner notes are hilariously illiterate and the "annotators" don't even bother to get the song titles right, though, at least on the comp I have, which sounds like it was mastered from discs.

I'd go with the obvious "One Nation Under" and then, actually, I say "Electric Spanking of War Babies," which is a really damn good record, perhaps underrated in the P-Funk canon. "Cosmic Slop" is the one after that; "Motor-Booty Affair" is another one.

The folks at Duke have an excellent website dissecting the records, at http://www.duke.edu/~tmc/pfunk.html

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Monday, 25 October 2004 23:59 (fifteen years ago) link

I've got the title track up for download for about one more day over at the Tofu Hut.

Forksclovetofu (Forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 26 October 2004 08:48 (fifteen years ago) link

That Duke website is indeed fantastic, even tho they WAY-underrated Hardcore Jollies.

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Tuesday, 26 October 2004 09:39 (fifteen years ago) link

n01Z3 dudes be getting into teh soul!

JaXoN (JasonD), Tuesday, 26 October 2004 15:40 (fifteen years ago) link

eleven months pass...
I can't believe no one is talking about the P-Funk documentary on PBS last night. I was just switching channels, and the next thing you know, I'm watching footage of Bootsy Collins freaking out onstage.

Dominique (dleone), Wednesday, 12 October 2005 14:57 (fourteen years ago) link

The BBC should show it.

Last Of The Famous International Pfunkboys (Kerr), Wednesday, 12 October 2005 15:02 (fourteen years ago) link

It comes on at different times in different areas...I think tomorrow night up here. It's supposed to be pretty great@

The Obligatory Sourpuss (Begs2Differ), Wednesday, 12 October 2005 15:15 (fourteen years ago) link

Dom I posted it on this thread! (Ok admittedly this was probably not the best place to post it)

George Clinton - What the Hell is he on about?

Keith C (lync0), Wednesday, 12 October 2005 15:52 (fourteen years ago) link

I was flipping back and forth between it and Nip/Tuck, but it seemed...okay. The footage of a baby Bootsy (with the world's nastiest Afro) taking a bass solo with James Brown was fantastic. That whole set, if it's all on film, should be released on DVD now. But they pissed me off by talking about how great a guitarist Eddie Hazel was and then cutting to footage of Michael Hampton playing "Maggot Brain." And the animated bits, with narration by Eddie Griffin, were annoying.

pdf (Phil Freeman), Wednesday, 12 October 2005 15:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh, and the 2CD Funkadelic comp Motor City Madness is a not-bad starting point, but that's all it is - a starting point. You need the first six Westbound albums in their entirety, especially now that they're remastered with bonus tracks.

pdf (Phil Freeman), Wednesday, 12 October 2005 15:56 (fourteen years ago) link

The footage of a baby Bootsy (with the world's nastiest Afro) taking a bass solo with James Brown was fantastic

That and the TV footage of Funkadelic performing "Wars of Armegeddon" were the best parts.

Vic Funk, Wednesday, 12 October 2005 16:13 (fourteen years ago) link

On the thread's original topic, I just want to chime in with another vote for Funkentelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome. Wasn't the first one I bought, but it remains my favorite of the seven or eight P-Funk LP's I've accumulated to date. ("Mothership Connection" is runner-up, but I've always hated "Handcuffs"...) Incredibly tight yet inventive and exciting music, lots of surprises and weird cross-connections and GREAT backup harmonies/choruses. One of the most fun discs I own by anybody.

Doctor Casino, Wednesday, 12 October 2005 16:52 (fourteen years ago) link

one month passes...
I'd recommend listening to two recent shows from WFMU's Good Doctor -
November 13 + 20 were "A History of P-Funk", parts 1+2

Archives here:


That's 6 hours of music to explore...

Matt Sab (Matt Sab), Monday, 5 December 2005 16:10 (fourteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
Live/P. Funk Earth Tour (1977) !!!

the ending live version of night of the thumpasorus peoples is the hookiest song ever, i think :)

yijiao, Thursday, 22 December 2005 01:35 (fourteen years ago) link

dom leone hits nail on head

waldo jeffers scenario (haitch), Thursday, 22 December 2005 01:45 (fourteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Quick poll without starting a poll:

How many Parliment/Funkadelic/George Clinton albums do you have? Is there such a thing as a completist with these bands? How many records would that be altogether?

Mark Rich@rdson, Monday, 23 April 2007 19:12 (thirteen years ago) link

I have about 8, all Funkadelic.

Scik Mouthy, Monday, 23 April 2007 19:36 (thirteen years ago) link

a rather legitimate answer to teh original thread question must be also: "on the one".

t**t, Monday, 23 April 2007 19:43 (thirteen years ago) link

Shitloads. I'd need to count them tho. I have loads of the spin offs too.

But i have all parliament and funkadelic. a couple of clinton solo. Which should answer your question and save me the arithmetic :)

Brigadier Lethbridge-Pfunkboy, Monday, 23 April 2007 19:47 (thirteen years ago) link

A dozen, at least.

Alex in SF, Monday, 23 April 2007 19:51 (thirteen years ago) link

That's as complete as I need to be, anyway.

Alex in SF, Monday, 23 April 2007 19:51 (thirteen years ago) link

9 Funkadelic albums, plus a shitty Funkadelic set called The Best and an amazing 2CD set called Parliament Gold.

abanana, Monday, 23 April 2007 20:35 (thirteen years ago) link

...and Osmium, how could I forget that!

abanana, Monday, 23 April 2007 20:38 (thirteen years ago) link

Hmm...as best I can figure, and counting all the spin-offs etc., I'd say I've got roughly 35 - all but a handful from the '70s. Nothing 'newer' than Computer Games.

Myonga Vön Bontee, Monday, 23 April 2007 20:54 (thirteen years ago) link

Five Funkadelic, but my only Parliament is The Parliaments, the R&B Clinton joint (which some ILMer whose name I've forgotten sent via YSI during those Wild West days).

I eat cannibals, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 02:36 (thirteen years ago) link

I have none but I once smoked up with George C at a Parliament show when in college. Once of the most surreal things I've ever experienced.

ENBB, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 02:40 (thirteen years ago) link

One Nation Under A Groove is so damn overrated. The first seven Funkadelic albums were nearly perfect. Cosmic Slop, Standing On the Verge and Let's Take It To the Stage are the best entrypoints for most people who have been typically only exposed to Parliament.

Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 04:06 (thirteen years ago) link

Bulbous OTM totally.

Bill Magill, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 13:42 (thirteen years ago) link

I think i have all the 70s albumS.

Frogman Henry, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 13:55 (thirteen years ago) link

let me count
all the Funkadelic studio albums (12)
all the Parliament studio albums (9)
most of the Bootsy studio albums (4)
Parlet (2, a best of and a copy of "Pleasure Principle")
Brides of Funkenstein (1, "Never Buy Texas from a Cowboy")
Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns (1, "A Blow For Me and a Toot For You")
Eddie Hazel (2)
Fuzzy Haskins (2)
Sweat Band (1)
Mutiny (2)
George Clinton solo (1)
live recordings and bootlegs (at least 6)
... and I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple things.

Rough estimate = 50

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 21:00 (thirteen years ago) link

ooh I forgot to count "Osmium" and the "Music For My Mother" 45s collection

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 21:01 (thirteen years ago) link

eight years pass...
one year passes...

no interest in any of the spinoff act stuff?

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 22 February 2017 21:59 (three years ago) link

Nice list Alfred! Please indulge me to add a few of my own favorites...

Free Alterations - From the Computer Games George Clinton solo record. Quite possibly my favorite thing he ever did.

I Got a Thing, You Got a Thing, Everybody's Got a Thing - From the Funkadelic album.

Bop Gun - From Funkentelechy

Cosmic Slop (live version from Hardcore Jollies) - Completely different song than the other one, and IMHO it's far better

Red Hot Momma - From Standing On the Verge, whooo this is hot stuff

In Da Kar - Standout song from the recent Funkadelic comeback album

kornrulez6969, Wednesday, 22 February 2017 22:30 (three years ago) link

'You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure'

Working night & day, I tried to stay awake... (Turrican), Wednesday, 22 February 2017 22:33 (three years ago) link

The P-Funk live album ("Live: P-Funk Earth Tour) is great.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Wednesday, 22 February 2017 22:36 (three years ago) link

Cosmic Slop (live version from Hardcore Jollies) - Completely different song than the other one, and IMHO it's far better

ha I remember my brother coming to visit once and asking me if I had this song and I was like "uh which one" because there are at least four officially released versions of it

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 22 February 2017 22:44 (three years ago) link

It's one of my favourite P-funk riffs!

Working night & day, I tried to stay awake... (Turrican), Wednesday, 22 February 2017 22:51 (three years ago) link

"Liquid Sunshine" is so good.

Everything Moves Towards The Sun (Ross), Wednesday, 22 February 2017 22:52 (three years ago) link

the standout track on that album imo

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 22 February 2017 22:54 (three years ago) link

Ha, I've actually had 'Liquid Sunshine' in my head today, but my favourite track on Motor Booty Affair is the title track.

Working night & day, I tried to stay awake... (Turrican), Wednesday, 22 February 2017 22:58 (three years ago) link

Going to re-read the P-Funk poll thread(s), I may be some time.

Return of the Flustered Bootle Native (Tom D.), Wednesday, 22 February 2017 22:59 (three years ago) link

two years pass...

Pedro Bell has left us. Truly the man.

We lost the Master Mind behind the Graphic's & Artwork of Funkadelic. Mr. Pedro Bell is an American artist and illustrator best known for his elaborate cover designs and other artwork for numerous Funkadelic and George Clinton solo albums. Thxs for yr service our brother.😲🙏 pic.twitter.com/PsD8TRxlRU

— Bootsy Collins (@Bootsy_Collins) August 28, 2019

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 28 August 2019 02:08 (eleven months ago) link

Aw fuck. RIP

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 28 August 2019 02:27 (eleven months ago) link

I think my favorite cover is Hardcore Jollies... I just love all the purple and the composition is really dynamic. Absolutely idiosyncratic, one of a kind visuals that were just right for the music.

the public eating of beans (Sparkle Motion), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 06:25 (eleven months ago) link

Funny that I just listened to a podcast on him 2 or 3 days ago
comes from February this year. One of a series on art5ists mainly to do with music.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 28 August 2019 07:30 (eleven months ago) link

Pedro did something that is really rare imo, he made sitting down to listen to an album a real absorbing event. I can remember getting those mid-period Funkadelic albums, sitting down to listen to the album, and just poring over the liner notes and comic panels and hyper-detailed portraits and sleeve designs while listening, it was like entering another world for 35-40 minutes, not doing anything else. A proto-"multimedia" magic marker experience. From record to record there were references, running jokes, characters, recurring themes - a narrative. And not a narrative like today's where the focus is on the performer and their persona, but on this whole other weird alternate universe that mashed together horror movies, comic books, science fiction, blaxploitation, mysticism, conspiracy theories, African American lit, pornography, made-up slang, it's just so rich. There are not a lot of times I can recall where I would listen to an album and *not do anything else*, because it wasn't just an album, it had this whole other hyper-detailed (and funny!) aspect to it. Clinton got other guys later on that did their own version of this, but Bell was the originator and the best imo.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 28 August 2019 18:21 (eleven months ago) link

Totally agree, A+ post.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 29 August 2019 11:39 (eleven months ago) link


The Fearless Thread Killers (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 29 August 2019 12:26 (eleven months ago) link

one month passes...

H/T to Ned for sending this to my Twitter feed:

Funkadelic LP artist Pedro Bell once told me a woman, Cathy Abel, designed the official Funkadelic logo. When I shared this years ago with folks, misogynists & non-believers thought I was making ish up. Last wknd, while looking in “El-Lay”’s P-archives, look what I found (‘72)... pic.twitter.com/DMXESax2Re

— DJ Soul Sister (@djsoulsister) October 7, 2019

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 8 October 2019 14:01 (nine months ago) link


Let them eat Pfifferlinge an Schneckensauce (Tom D.), Tuesday, 8 October 2019 14:06 (nine months ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.