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Clinton/Collins/Worrell: The Crossfire of Funk

clinton collins worrell

“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.”ย  — 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.

-Tim Kinley

Photo Composite: George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell (promo pictures, courtesy of the author)

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26 comments on “Clinton/Collins/Worrell: The Crossfire of Funk

  1. Carlton L. Williams

    Those were the P-Funk fantastic years.
    ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ

    • Funkmas Jones

      Growing up..in Newport News Va.(Menville High)(Hampton Roads)..in the mid 70dees and Eighties…P-Funk was a “movement…something we never experienced before…for that..we will always k eep Funk Alive

  2. William Foster II

    GEORGE CLINTON, BOOTSY COLLINS AND BERNIE WORRELL ARE MY FAVORITE AND GREATEST TRIO IN ALL MUSIC. THE REST OF THE GROUP ARE STUPENDOUSLY GIFTED.

    • Linwood Holiday

      My first live concert Fayetteville North Carolina see the mothership land 1977 I stole my parents car while they was in church and went to the show

    • Curtis Inabinett

      Saw them live in 1976 in Charleston South Carolina. Then in 1978 at Florida A & M University after one of our football games. The Charleston concert was the funkiest show I ever saw. In 1979, compliments of some girls I knew who met them earlier, I ended up in an after party in a hotel room with some of them which was crazy. Use your imagination and it was happening ๐Ÿซฃ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿซข๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿฅด.

  3. Thomas Gerald O'Connor

    American eats it’s young and old people?

  4. Curtis Inabinett

    โ€˜Spit Donโ€™t Make Babies ๐Ÿ‘ถ โ€˜

  5. Robert Anthony White

    You And your folks, me and my folks

  6. Manuel R Sandoval Jr

    A true disciple of the P-Funk movement I am. I bear witness to the mothership land five times between San Diego and LA. The funkiest times of my life. Thank you to the whole group of P-Funk stars.

  7. Piiho White

    On the first Funkadelic album,entitled Funkadelic, there’s a picture of 5 members. There’s one of Bernie, but his name isn’t mentioned. It says Mickey Atkins- organ. Who is Mickey Atkins? And why isn’t Bernie listed as a band
    Member on that album?

    • Richard D Branton

      He’d just joined and George was kinda shady ,he was credited on the next lp.Lots of guys weren’t credited; so many muscians where involved over the years between parliament funkadelic and various offshoots its kinda hard to know who’s on what ,they where all high and due diligence wasn’t observed ,Boots really isn’t on a lot of the comparative to the output

      • Absolutely false. Bernie Worrell does not perform on the first Funkadelic album. Bernie himself has stated this fact publicly and in print. Mickey Atkins was the keyboardist in Funkadelic before Bernie arrived.

  8. Derrick Underwood

    We want Bootsy

  9. Jody Raynor

    Thank you for Funkin up my life. So many have fallen into the Groove. Crazier than a sex maniac in the Ho.. House with a credit card.
    Let’s Take it to the Stage. Baddest band in the land! Bernie the prodigy Bootsy the deepest threat and George the conductor Along with the rest of the Stars of the Universe Mob…

  10. Derrick Wilson

    The Mothership landed at Hara Arena in Dayton Ohio in tne late 70’s and was one of the best shows I”ve ever seen. Also saw them in the 90’s in Indianapolis and the show was over 3 hours with George taking requests from the audience, I was totally Funked Out!! Being from the Funk Capital Dayton Ohio we know FUNK (Ohio Players, Lakeside, Slave, Zapp, Faze-O, Sun, and Dayton). My tattoos I have are my family and my Funk, Parliament Funkadelic. MAKE MY FUNK THE P-FUNK, UNCUT FUNK THE BOMB!

    • GREGORY PHILLIPS

      STRAIGHT OUT OF DAYTON, OHIO…..THE START OF FUNK,,,,TEAR THE ROOF OFF THE “MOTHERFUCKIN’,,,,,๐Ÿ’ฏ

  11. L E Waxx Davis

    A Real Funkateer since the Funkadelic era, I was shocked to find myself on stage, at the Austin, Texas “One World Festival” in 2000, with The P๐ŸคŸ๐ŸพFunk Mobb! Gamin’ On Ya!!! My opportunity to meet Bootsy, touch his Space Bass Casper, plus all the blunts and Heineken you could handle? Priceless! We โค๏ธ U, Dr. Funkenstein! Bernie the Wizard of Woo, Rest In Heaven!

  12. T.A.Collins Jacksonville Florida May we FUNK you

  13. Iris Cannon

    My first show was in 1971 at the Boston Sugar Shack. Best show ever.

  14. Will Jackson

    I remember the first time a saw Parliament in Columbia SC at The Coliseum, they were the opening act and they turned it out. Torn the roof off the mothersucker! They came back a year later and Dr Funkenstein dropped the Mothership on us and we went frickn crazy. We burnt many seats in that place. Took Funk to Heaven n 77

  15. DJ Battlecat

    AS A KID I WAS SO FREAKING GRATEFUL TO HAVE THIS MUSIC AS MY SIDE KICK TO ENCOURAGE ME FROM LETTING THE STREETS TAKE
    ME UNDER . THEN TO BECOME THE ARTIST & PRODUCER OF ONE OF THREE TOP HIP HOP LEGENDS TO WORK WITH GEORGE/ ZAPP/ & SOON BOOTSY ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿพ OH I GO BY THE LEGENDARY DJ BATTLECAT @djbattlecat ๐ŸŽผ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿพ

  16. Michael Mahoney

    Iโ€™ve been following this band since the very young 70s n to now, I had listened to a lot of funky music n lyrics during that era, but when I introduced to funkadelic music n lyrics n their stage performance, I literally was taken by a new storm, music from a new level n platform, they were definitely were on another, from other funk bands, my first album was at the age of 13-14 was America eats it young, a very beautiful experience which took me to another level of viewing funky music in a different way of thinking n listening, all I got to say is, once u do funkadelic, u always come back for more n more, funkadelic 4life. I applaud you George, Bootsy, n RIH Bernie n rest of the Pfunk nation. They donโ€™t die , they multiply each year, that y Iโ€™m still standing on the verge of getting it on.๐ŸŽผ๐ŸคŸ๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿค—๐ŸŽธ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿพ. By the way, my first concert was 1972 at RFK stadium, it was a all star line up, leadhead a local band, followed by the Jimmy castor bunch, Mandrill, rare earth, n then Funkadelic to close it out, they played until the sun came up, a magnificent show by them. Something Iโ€™ll never forget.๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ˜Š funkadelic 4life.๐ŸŽธ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸคŸ๐Ÿฟ

    • Mark M Booker

      I was at that show in D.C. , it was an unbelievable experience, that changed my life . I have attended almost every show in D.C. when i was in town . FYI , I had a rare opportunity to meet Bernie Worrell and his lovely wife, at a small club in B- more , in the early 90’s with the Woo – Warriors , ” Bernie set the record straight , and told me to share “, ” quote even though he lovs Ohio, but D.C. has always been ” ground zero for P-funk “, because of DC natives unique funk sophistication, an our unique Soul “, that’s why a lot of members lived in the DMV , during the members lifetime. DC the original Funk Capital Universe , for launching all of their projects for large records sales from the DMV region, from Bernie’s lips to my ears .Rest in Funk !

  17. Jeffrey Freer

    Not just knee deep!!! She was total- lee deep when she did the freak with me!loved it all!

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