Parliament – 1976 – The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein
An oft-overlooked gem from Parliament — released during the year 1976, and sometimes hidden between monster LPs like Funkentelechy and Mothership Connection but every bit as those two classics! The album’s got that tightened-up P-Funk sound that was working so perfectly at the time — still with all the fuzzy haired elements of earlier years, but presented with a bit more focus — and a powerhouse swing that really drives the tracks home with a funky groove on the bottom! There’s a flowing sort of energy here that almost makes you think that the whole thing just emerged naturally from the brain of George Clinton — but all ensemble players have a strong hand in the action, and really get some great moments in on the set.
The cover just made me laugh at first but the music blew me away. The story of this Parliament record is that the band took them self as being an Alien lifeform from outer space, and the mission was bringing p-funk music to planet earth.
Nevertheless this record is the ultimate Parliament record for me. It is some seriously crazy stuff in there but incredible musicians are bringing the mothership ahead with Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker from James Browns band among some.
Acid drugs were a big part in forging this music, and the result was P-funk at is best, yet humorous and fun.
The highlight of the whole thing is “Dr.Funkenstein“, just listen to the lyrics.. Classic!!
Casablanca Records NBLP 7034Credits:
Bass – Bootsy Collins , Cordell Mosson
Drums, Percussion – Bootsy Collins , Gary Mudbone Cooper , Jerome Brailey
Guitar – Garry Shider , Glen Goins , Michael Hampton
Horns – Fred Wesley , Maceo Parker , Michael Brecker , Rick Gardner
Keyboards, Synthesizer – Bernie Worrell
Vocals – Bootsy Collins , Calvin Simon , Fuzzy Haskins , Garry Shider , George Clinton , Glen Goins , Grady Thomas , Ray Davis
A1 Prelude (1:40)
A2 Gamin’ On Ya (3:02)
A3 Dr.Funkenstein (5:46)
A4 Children Of Production (3:57)
A5 Getten’ To Know You (5:20)
B1 Do That Stuff (4:47)
B2 Everything Is On The One (3:47)
B3 I’ve Been Watching You (Move Your Sexy Body) (6:01)
B4 Funkin’ For Fun (5:56)
After the totally over the top “Mothership Connection“ with all its farting snare orgies and twisted Worrellisms which can all get a bit too much, if you ask me, this one offers earthy funk and soul w/o neglecting the p-funk goofiness. The horns on Clones especially are a real treat. Okay, if you must compare this to M’ship and then Funkentelechy, then it will probably not quite be in the same class. But if you love proper funk that’s just crazy enough to keep you entertained, Clones will not go on your nerves as Mothership does for me.
This album is the followup to the brilliant “Mothership Connection“, which is an absolute classic. In concept “The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein” stays on the same path as the former (Dr. Funkenstein, Starchild’s ally, is introduced, and we get to know that the pyramids contain all the secrets of the Funk), but in musical terms the album tries to be a little more commercial. You might say; less nasty. Don’t let that scare you because this album is still classic Parliament. The grooves are tight and the singing is the most soulful I’ve ever heard (thanks to Glen Goins). ‘Getting To Know You’ is one of my favorite slow jams of all time. All the lyrics are still of that typical, humoristic and crazy anti-establishment kind. P-funk fanatics (as if there are other kinds) will love this album and non- P-funk people should check this out as well. You might become addicted…
Following closely on the heels of “Mothership Connection“, the group’s undisputed high-water mark, The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein furthers George Clinton’s conceptual and musical master plan to funkify the world. The Clones unravels the Funk Mob’s cosmology and populates it with a cast of mythological characters that includes Starchild (introduced on Mothership) and the Funk overlord himself, Dr. Funkenstein. By this album, Parliament have almost completely moved away from the guitar-dominated psychedelic soul of their early ’70s output and entrenched themselves in the realm of lighter, horn and keyboard-driven experimental dance music.
While weakened by over-conceptualization and Parliament’s sometimes too-goofy sense of humor–qualities that would seriously mar the group’s later output–this disc is nonetheless full of freaky, utterly original jam-formula compositions bolstered by outstanding musicianship. “Do That Stuff” and “I’ve Been Watching You” are highlights. Though old school P-Funk fans may see this record as Parliament’s bid for the commercial mainstream, it is still impossible to deny the unique, exuberant music within.