Parliament: Up For the Down Stroke
Last week, we surveyed the songs of Joni Mitchell. These are songs with poetic lyrics, songs that move the heart. But this week is another matter entirely. We’re clapping our hands, dancing maybe. What’s called for are songs that move the body. And nobody ever did that better than Parliament/ Funkadelic.
George Clinton was the master of ceremonies, and Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins and Maceo Parker were just some of the notable musicians who worked with him. Parliament and Funkadelic were basically the same band, but using both names allowed Clinton to maintain recording contracts with two different labels, thereby preserving his creative control. He used that control to create a funk orchestra, with intricate interlocking parts in the songs. The handclaps in Up For the Down Stroke are just one element in the larger whole. Don’t bother trying to sit still for this one; it can’t be done.