Parliament: “Mothership Connection”
New Reissued Vinyl Album (Purchased at Barnes & Noble Sioux Falls, SD)
Original Release Date: 1975 Republic Records
My Rating: (5 Stars)
P. Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)
Mothership Connection (Star Child)
Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)
Night Of The Thumpasorus Peoples
Have you ever wondered what outer space sounds like? I guess I had never given it much thought until I recently picked up the album, “Mothership Connection,” by Parliament. I’ve always thought the outer limits looked super funky with their psychedelic colors and star swirls, but I never suspected they sounded that way too. The topics of space and funk never seemed that obvious to me. Of course after listening to this classic album by George Clinton and his, “Martian,” tribe I find myself slapping my forehead with the realization, “What the hell else would space sound like?! What could possibly be more funky than the universe?”
In addition to this epiphany, I also came to the conclusion that the album, “Mothership Connection,” is one of those records you’ve heard a million times without recognizing it. In other words, I can’t recall another album that has been sampled more by different artists. There were various moments while listening to this record that I found myself realizing, “Wait, I know this! Where have I heard this before?” After some casual research I discovered that pieces of, “Mothership Connection,” have been used by about fifty different artists! I guess I should take the time to thank Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg for trying to educate this obviously unfunky Midwestern woman in her mid-thirties.
Out of all the songs that have been sampled on Parliament’s album, the title track, “Mothership Connection (Star Child)," is probably the most prominently used one. Upon actually hearing the original version of this song, it’s not hard to understand why. This particular piece displays the absolute, "out of this world," talent of Parliament’s founder, George Clinton. Over the last two weeks of listening to this album I've come to the conclusion that this man is a genius, (if not an alien.) During the course of the song, “Mothership Connection,” this listener found herself getting swept away by visions of funkiness that made her want to strap on a pair of moon boots with wheels and hit the roller disco. The insane part of this last statement is that Clinton’s album actually makes even the most uncoordinated individual truly believe they can do this!
It’s this blogger's opinion that the best aspect of the album, “Mothership Connection,” by Parliament is this group’s ability to include humor in their often, spoken word, lyrics. During the song P. Funk, (Wants To Get Funked Up), Clinton introduces the album as, “Home of the extraterrestrial brother.” He then announces they will be, “Doing it to you in the ear hole." This statement seemed rather logical to me since these musicians are self-proclaimed extraterrestrial beings. "Who am I to define how their biology works?" I thought. While I’m not often drawn to humorous lyrics, I found Parliament’s lightheartedness completely appropriate for the, “Funk in Space,” theme. I respected the fact that this was a group that didn’t take themselves too seriously. As a result of this unpretentious attitude, these artists composed a SERIOUSLY amazing album.
Additional notable songs on, “Mothership Connection,” include the guitar and bass driven, “Unfunky UFO,” and of course the extraordinarily catchy, “Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)”. As a warning, the vocal chorus on, “Give Up The Funk,” is so addictive this blogger found herself singing it for days. On the back of the album, “Mothership Connection,” there’s a group of individuals described as, “Extraterrestrial Voices & Good Time Hand Clappers.” I can only assume these are the same people singing the chorus of, “Give Up The Funk.” Let it be known, it’s not always the spaceship’s captain that guides the journey. While I acknowledge George Clinton’s genius arrangements, I also understand that the power behind Parliament’s path is partly provided by its’ multiple unearthly talented musicians and background vocalists.
Lastly, my favorite song on this record is, “Night Of The Thumpasorus Peoples.” Here, Clinton’s concept takes a turn towards deep space and the true abstract. Rather than focusing this song around a spacy version of earthly concepts, Parliament transforms themselves into an alien tribe that no longer is familiar with the sounds of conventional instruments, or even real language for that matter. During this song words are transformed to chants of complete nonsense, making this listener believe she’s now encountered the most isolated beings in the universe. I guess I always suspected complete isolation could make one very, “funky.”
"Mothership Connection (Star Child)": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT3ecv01xDE
* Due to my increasingly busy spring schedule www.fitgap.blogspot.com will be posting every other Wednesday until further notice.