“Three blind mice/See how they run/They all ran after the farmer’s wife/Turned on the fun with the water pipe/Have you ever seen such a sight in your life? (ho!)/ Those three blind mice (yeah)/Those blind three mice.” — from “Sir Nose D’Voidofffunk”-Parliament
1972 would be an intense period of transition for Parliament-Funkadelic. Numerous band members would head for the exit ramp before the start of the year. Similar to his arrival into the James Brown band, Bootsy Collins, his older brother Phelps “Catfish” Collins, and drummer Frankie Kash Waddy would become the nucleus of Funkadelic.
As time would pass, a musical bond would develop between Bootsy and keyboardist Bernie Worrell. Along with Maggot Overlord George Clinton, they would form a songwriting partnership that would produce some of P-Funk’s most pivotal and mind-blowing tracks. They would also serve as a crucial element with regard to the resurgence of Parliament in 1974. Their songwriting genius has been featured in almost every post-Mothership spin-off act.
“FLASH LIGHT”-PARLIAMENT (Casablanca Records, Jan. 1978)
The very first P-Funk single to peak at number one on the Billboard Soul Singles charts, “Flash Light” originated as a Bootsy Collins track that was eventually gifted to Parliament. Bernie handles all of the primary and secondary keyboards including the bass synthesizer, while Bootsy lays down the drums. Special shout out to some magnificent rhythm guitar work by Catfish.
“INSURANCE MAN FOR THE FUNK”-BERNIE WORRELL (Arista Records, Dec. 1978)
The closing track on Bernie Worrell’s first solo album, All The Woo In The World sees the Wizard Of Woo, Dr. Funkenstein, and Bootzilla, and various Funk Mob members promoting the concept of Funk insurance. Saxophonist Maceo Parker seals the deal near the end of the track.
“CHOCOLATE CITY”-PARLIAMENT (Casablanca Records, April 1975)
Representing a passionate musical kiss to the city of Washington D.C., “Chocolate City” is a confluence of Funk, Jazz, and Classical elements that help a picture of Black governmental empowerment.
“AQUA BOOGIE” -PARLIAMENT (Casablanca Records, Nov. 1978)
A preposterous slice of Uncut Funk that once went under the title “FUNK CONSUMES 47 TIMES ITS OWN WEIGHT”, Aqua Boogie employs no less than 3 P-Funk guitar giants (Catfish, Garry Shider, and Bootsy). Bernie colors in the rest of the groove, particularly near the song’s epic climax.
“UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF A GROOVE”-BOOTSY’S RUBBER BAND (Warner Bros. Records, July 1979)
One of the last compositions written by the big three displays the influence of Sly Stone, while charting a fresh new musical course for his own Rubber Band.
“HOW DO YEAW VIEW YOU?”-FUNKADELIC (Westbound Records, Sept. 1976)
A much more serene ode to introspection and occasional pessimism that appeared on the last Funkadelic album for Westbound Records. It also graces the B-side of the single “Undisco Kidd.”
“FRANTIC MOMENT”-EDDIE HAZEL (Warner Bros. Records, July 1977)
Like most P-Funk projects released in the 1970s, Eddie Hazel’s Game Dames and Guitar Thangs featured the cream of the Mothership core players.
The Clinton/Collins/Worrell jam machine contributed a laid-back California dream complete with backward guitar loops and delightful background vocals from Lynn Mabry and Dawn Silva.
Photo Composite: George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell (promo pictures, courtesy of the author)