We really should all consider ourselves extremely lucky to have George Clinton.
This week marks the 41st anniversary of Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome, one of the seminal works of Parliament, a massively influential funk band headed up by the always-amazing musician George Clinton and composed of members from his OTHER massively influential funk band, Funkadelic. While Clinton made his big debut with Funkadelic in 1970, bringing listeners some sublime down home blues and swamp-rock, Parliament, which he introduced the same year, languished for a few years to legal issues. When Clinton resurrected the name in 1974, the band took on a very, very different approach, going from the countryside and inner city to outer space.
Clinton had very clear ideas about the rejuvenating and eternal power of funk, and how Black folks were destined to be dancing and chilling amongst the stars. With Parliament he went all in, developing an elaborate mythology around funk, envisioning himself as an intergalactic funkateer who had the whole universe under a groove. It was afrofuturism decades before we had a term for it, and every part of the experience, from the live shows with the giant blinking Mothership descending from above and the awesome costumes, to the album art, followed and deepened the concept. Funkadelic and Parliament converged as the ’70s went on, with Funkadelic keeping a foot on Earth while Parliament jumped off into the cosmos, and altogether it was the magical genre of music we know as P-Funk. And for much of the latter half of the decade, it was absolutely unstoppable. Clinton and the crew were crazy prolific too, leaving us with so many damn fantastic, ambitious, intelligent, and ever-so-funky listens. When I discovered P-Funk during my college years it was a revelation, I was drawn in by the wealth of music and the absolutely unique storylines and the incredibly awesome music. Clinton is an absolute genius, and don’t get me started because I’ll be shouting that from the rooftops.
Where do I even start with Funkentelechy? The album contains one of the band’s best known and biggest hits with “Flash Light” (everybody’s got a little place under the sun!), but it’s stacked with tip-top tracks. “Sir Nose…” has always reigned as a favorite of mine, with the band taking on the fiendish Sir Nose d’Voidoffunk, a rascal who hates the funk and declares that he’ll never dance. But the band will see about that! With 10 straight minutes of just absolute jamming here, I don’t see how anyone in any galaxy could hate on this. Enjoy!