Mothership Connection (1975)

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Track Listing:

P. Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)
	{G Clinton, W Collins, B Worrell}  7:41  lyrics
Mothership Connection (Star Child)
	{G Clinton, W Collins, B Worrell}  6:13  lyrics
Unfunky UFO
	{G Clinton, W Collins, Garry Shider}  4:23  lyrics
Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication (The Thumps Bump) 
	{G Clinton, W Collins, B Worrell, G Shider}  5:03  lyrics
	{G Clinton, McLaughlin, Glen Goins}  3:51  lyrics
Give Up The Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker) 
	{G Clinton, W Collins, B Worrell}  5:46  lyrics
Night Of The Thumpasorous Peoples
	{G Clinton, W Collins, G Shider}  5:10  lyrics


Vocals: George Clinton, Calvin Simon, Fuzzy Haskins, Raymond Davis, 
 Grady Thomas, Garry Shider, Glen Goins, Bootsy Collins      
Horns: Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker,
 Boom, Joe Farrell
Bass: Bootsy Collins, Cordell Mosson
Guitars: Gary Shider, Michael Hampton, Glen Goins, Bootsy Collins
Drums and Percussion: Tiki Fulwood, Jerome Brailey, Bootsy Collins, Gary Cooper
Keyboards & Synthesizers: Bernie Worrell
Horn Arrangements: Fred Wesley, Bernie Worrell
Rhythm Arrangements: Bootsy Collins, George Clinton
Extraterrestial Voices and Good Time Hand Clappers: Gary Cooper, 
 Debbie Edwards, Taka Kahn, Archie Ivy, Bryna Chimenti, Rasputin Boutte, 
 Pam Vincent, Debra Wright and Sidney Barnes

Lead Vocal: George Clinton

 "Mothership Connection"
Lead Vocals: George Clinton (rap), Glenn Goins

 "Unfunky UFO"
Lead Vocals: Glenn Goins, George Clinton

Lead Vocals: George Clinton, Glenn Goins

 "Give Up The Funk"
Alternating Lead Vocals: George Clinton, Ray Davis (intro), Glenn Goins,
 Garry Shider

Rating: GZ ***** RC ***** MM *****


GZ: Highlights include Title track, "P-Funk", "Handcuffs", "Give Up The Funk" -- a classic. Absolutely essential.

TK: The album was originally titled Landing In The Ghetto.

RC: How to describe this one? How about: the most important album of the last 20 years; the culmination of a superb team of musicians, vocalists, and conceptualists, working at their peak; an avant garde funk album that broke all the rules and wrote a few of its own; a concept album free of any restraints associated with that genre; a brilliantly fused assortment of funk, jazz, gospel, Motown, science- fiction, sex, drugs and...; the PhD project of Dr. Woo, Bernie Worrell; the genesis of a freaky universe that sprang full-born from George Clinton's mind; Bootsy Collins' coming-out party: the bass that launched a thousand Motherships; the simultaneous coming-of-age and birth of P.Funk; THE BOMB. It's all that and more. The album indulges every Funk Mob whim without going overboard. There's great singing throughout, particularly from new member Glen Goins. Horns are given a workout without dominating the album, with the introduction of the Horny Horns. All of the mistakes and false starts found on earlier albums were erased, and new ground was struck at every turn. Even the stuff based on old formulas and obvious attempts at commercialism sounded fresh and resonant.

The album starts off similarly to Chocolate City, with a narrator explaining that we are now tuned in to radio station WEFUNK, home of the P.Funk, the Bomb. Clinton's character Sir Lollipop Man ("chocolate coated, freaky, and habit forming") lays on rap after rap about the miraculous qualities of P.Funk. Bootsy lays down some seriously thick grooves, the horns take over the melody, and Bernie provides the flavor with those ethereal keyboards. The comparison between coke and funk is cleverly phrased ("I want my funk uncut"), as something that brings you up and out. The Brecker Brothers come in with brilliant solos in the middle, as the song slows down, creating an aching tension. This is finally resolved in the orgasmic finale, as Clinton signals, "Well, alright!" and the whole band and chorus kicks in. The song structure, the witty lyrics, the rhythm and the improvisations are top-notch the whole way. This leads into "Mothership Connection", as Clinton's next character, Starchild, takes us on a tour of the Chocolate Milky Way galaxy. Another addictive bassline keeps it on the one, with gorgeous descending guitar & keyboard lines following. The horns are out front, filling in the gaps. The Mothership `ain't nothin' but a party`, but it's also a means of salvation, for as Starchild says, `You have overcome, for I am here.` And combining and comparing the Mothership to "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", the old spiritual, is a brilliant device. As Clinton has said, he wanted to put `brothers in outer space, in places people wouldn't normally associate them.` The future is hip, funny, and vibrant. Continuing on the sci-fi theme, we swing into "Unfunky UFO", one of the most underrated gems in the P.Funk universe. It features lead-swapping between Garry, George and Glen, with a engaging story about aliens who want to steal your funk. The guitar riffs drive this song, right along with another solid bassline and superb drumming from Jerome Brailey, who is excellent on the entire album. His rhythms are crisp and precise, and he plays complex parts effortlessly. "Supergroovalistic..." is one of those chant songs that showcases Bernie, as he pulls out all the stops working with weird sounds and effects. "Handcuffs" is an R & B throwback, fully spotlighting the singers. The song is one of those wonderfully, ridiculously sexist creations that features lines like `If I have to keep you barefoot & pregnant, just to keep you in my world/Lay down, girl, and take off your shoes/Cause I'm a gonna do what is I got to do`. One of the best vocal efforts ever from the group. "Give Up The Funk", the biggest hit from the album, is in many ways its weakest track. A pure dance track, it features a clever drum intro with Ray Davis' famous baritone, with the horns and keyboards swelling into the main body of the song. Unfortunately, it tends to get a bit repetitive, although it is still quite entertaining, particularly the `dah dah dah dah-dah` chant. The true star of the song is Jerome Brailey, who propels the song constantly, and finishes it with a flourish. The journey ends with "Night Of The Thumpasorous Peoples", a crazed chant song that is once again dominated by Bootsy & Bernie. Bernie invents a variety of weird sounds that are so funky you can smell 'em, and Bootsy explores a lot of new territory that would propel him into having his own solo act. And the chant of `Ga ga goo ga, ga ga goo ga, ga ga goo ga ga` is their most infectous.

While there are certainly a number of themes explored here, it's never done in any kind of obvious way. The outrageousness of the concepts allows the deeper meaning to sink in slowly, and while there's a loose connection amongst all the songs, each stands out individually, not trapped within the order or framework or an album, something that happens often with concept albums.

MM: Probably the best all around album in the PFunk universe. Every track is strong. I like the mellow groove of "Supergr...." and the bass focus on "Night Of The Thumpasorous" also.