Deep Album Cuts Vol. 68: Parliament-Funkadelic

Last week Bernie Worrell passed away, and even before that, when it'd been announced that his health was failing, I'd been listening to a lot of Parliament and Funkadelic. I remember years ago I had an eMusic subscription and had started working my way through the P-Funk discography, but they just have so many albums that I never got really far past the early records. But they've made an amazing catalog, and Bernie Worrell in particular has always dazzled me as one of the most important people to raise the synthesizer to its own distinct instrument, so it was nice to comb over some of these records and remember his work.

Parliament-Funkadelic Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist): 

1. Mommy, What's A Funkadelic?
2. Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow
3. Maggot Brain
4. I Call My Baby Pussycat
5. You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure
6. Alice In My Fantasies
7. Presence of A Brain
8. Together
9. The Song Is Familiar
10. Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication (The Bumps Bump)
11. Everything Is On The One
12. Let's Take It To The People
13. Sir Nose d'Voidoffunk [Pay Attention - B3M]
14. Liquid Sunshine
15. Let's Play House

Track 1 from Funkadelic's Funkadelic (1970)
Track 2 from Funkadelic's Free Your Mind... And Your Ass Will Follow (1970)
Track 3 from Funkadelic's Maggot Brain (1971)
Track 4 from Funkadelic's America Eats Its Young (1972)
Track 5 from Funkadelic's Cosmic Slop (1973)
Track 6 from Funkadelic's Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On (1974)
Track 7 from Parliament's Up For The Down Stroke (1974)
Track 8 from Parliament's Chocolate City (1975)
Track 9 from Funkadelic's Let's Take It To The Stage (1975)
Track 10 from Parliament's Mothership Connection (1975)
Track 11 from Parliament's The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein (1976)
Track 12 from Funkadelic's Tales Of Kidd Funkadelic (1976)
Track 13 from Parliament's Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome (1977)
Track 14 from Parliament's Motor Booty Affair (1978)
Track 15 from Parliament's Trombipulation (1980)

The tracks on here that I would highlight as featuring some of Bernie Worrell's best work include "Free Your Mind," "Together," "Sir Nose," and "Let's Play House," but really it's fun to just listen chronologically and hear him progress from blaring acid rock organ to these incredibly off the wall synth patches. And obviously just one of a few amazing instrumental virtuosos who did their best work alongside George Clinton.

The whole confusing affair with Parliament and Funkadelic essentially being the same group of people operating under under two different names was, primarily, a brilliant hustle that allowed P-Funk to record for two different labels. And each band individually churned out LPs at the swift rate of most bands in the '70s. Over the course of the decade, they released a total of 19 albums, dwarfing the output of almost any other non-jazz artist in the '70s. Parliament and Funkadelic released 3 albums a year between the two groups in both 1975 and 1976, and I would put P-Funk's 1975 trio (Chocolate CityTake It To The Stage, and Mothership Connection) up against CCR's 1969 as one of the most impressive single year outputs in pop music history. Since many of their best songs are pretty long (four 9 or 10-minute tracks take up half of this mix), I just stuck to one track per album, and still had to skip several albums.

You may recognize a lot of these songs from samples by N.W.A. ("Sir Nose"), A Tribe Called Quest ("Let's Take It To The People"), De La Soul ("Mommy, What's A Funkadelic?") and of course the Digital Underground's "The Humpty Dance" ("Let's Play House"). But mostly I wanted to capture the way the band evolved, and how they basically ran with what Sly Stone and other funk forebears had created and blew it up into this bizarre, unique sound and mythology that helped bridge eras right up into hip hop. The emotional balladry of "The Song Is Familiar," the hard rock of "Alice In My Fantasies," the straight up funk of "Everything Is On The One," the legendary guitar freakout of "Maggot Brain," this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
Vol. 57: Beyonce
Vol. 58: Beanie Sigel
Vol. 59: A Tribe Called Quest
Vol. 60: Cheap Trick
Vol. 61: Guns N' Roses
Vol. 62: The Posies
Vol. 63: The Time
Vol. 64: Gucci Mane
Vol. 65: Violent Femmes
Vol. 66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vol. 67: Maxwell
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