You’re right. It was James Brown and not George Clinton who coined that prescient phrase. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Brown (who will be covered in detail at a later date), but let’s face the facts people. George Clinton lived this phrase more believably than the Godfather of Soul. George Clinton was a whole lot skinnier for one thing. You would be too if you were fronting Parliament and Funkadelic all the while plotting to paint the White House black, extolling the virtues of Washington D.C as The Chocolate City, inventing the Bop Gun, building the Mothership and laying the ground work for The Brides of Funkenstein and Parlet! Let alone a funky, funky solo career.
All this while JB was endorsing Richard Nixon for president, growing a mustache and wearing two girdles. I know, I know. JB made his mark on a ton of projects himself with The J.B.s, Fred Wesley’s bands, Lyn Collins, Bobby Byrd and his own awesome Polydor imprint - People Records! And, JB played a concert in Zaire! That is awesome. But this isn’t a JB story now is it. It’s the story of Funkadelic’s Greatest Hits.
Funkadelic’s Greatest Hits came out in 1975 and from what I understand it was a contractual obligation Mr. Clinton owed to Westbound Records before jumping ship to Warner Brothers. As far as contractual albums go this is an awesome one.
Look at that funky funky black sheep. That nappy wool hides within it the makings of some life altering funky cuts. My faves include I Wanna Know If It’s Good To You, Cosmic Slop, Loose Booty and I’ll Bet You. Then again, who can’t love a cut called I Got a Thing, You Got A Thing, Everybody’s Got A Thing. I think this was George Clinton’s foray into healing a pre-post-racial America. Get me? The album’s got Funky Dollar Bill which is always fun. It’s also a cool name for any dude named Bill in my opinion, though I’m not sure my old man would go for it.
What some people may not realize about early Funkadelic (defined by me as 1969 -1975) is that they rocked as hard as they funked. I’m talking Hendrixian lead guitar that has a mean bite from the inimitable Eddie Hazel. Seriously psychedelic Bernie Worrell’d keyboards, a fantastically diapered Gary Shider and Tiki Fulwood on drums. For brevity I’m leaving out the other 19 members of the band.
“Who says a rock band can’t play funky? Who says a funk band can’t play rock?” [George Clinton, 1978]
For Weirdos Only: Westbound Records! What an amazing label. Can you imagine working at that place in the early 1970s? Bumping into Funkadelic AND The Ohio Players in the same building! Westbound Records was founded by one funky cat named Armen Boladian in ‘69 or '70. As I understand it he still owns the label located in Southfield, MI. That’s just outside another Chocolate City - Detroit. I have a special place in my heart for Westbound. They signed two great funk bands only to lose them to the major labels in the mid-1970s. Keep it funky Westbound. Keep it funky.