Throwback Thread: Parliament

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Everyone knows George Clinton because of his legendary, colorful live shows and, today, his even more legendary drug busts. But there was a time when that creative energy found its way -- focused and unstoppable -- onto wax. There was never a greater moment in funk history than Motor Booty Affair, released in 1978 at the peak of Clinton's studio, band-leading and orchestral prowess.

I first got into this record because I read it was one of Prince Paul's favorite records. Anything he liked, I liked. You can hear the ironic tones, humorous intent, hella-sweet production and grab-bag ethos in De La Soul records, but they never touched what Parliament did on this record.

The entire thing sounds like it was recorded in some lost city that had sank to the bottom of an ocean in deep space. If you can you wade through the layered arrangements, you'll find that every part is perfect -- always on point, completely creative, awesomely odd.

The highlight is "Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)," the grooviest of all grooves. It's driving yet fluid and funny yet more substantial than what any musician was recording at the time. When you listen to it, try to picture what's happening below, an image included on the original album sleeve.