Parliament – Osmium

ARTIST: Parliament  220px-Realosmium

TITLE:  Osmium



SINGLES: I Call My Baby Pussycat, The Silent Boatman


LINEUP: George Clinton, Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, Ray Davis, Grady Thomas, Ruth Copeland with Funkadelic: Eddie Hazel, Tawl Ross, Billy Bass Nelson, Mickey Atkins, Tiki Fullwood.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: George Clinton reactivates his vocal group after a contract dispute, merges them with his Funkadelic musicians, and makes an early version of P-Funk’s R&B / Funk fusion.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: George Clinton’s Funkadelic turned some heads with their acid funk albums, but that group was still mainly the backing band for his vocal group, Parliament (changed from The Parliaments thanks to a contract dispute). They had a hit in the late 60’s but the contract woes sidelined them until they got a deal with Motown’s subsidiary, Invitcus, to record this record.

Make no mistake, this wasn’t a return to the vocal group soul that got them their hit. This record features some great singing sure, but the songs are weaving around some pretty decent funk. The singles above are prime examples of the merger of the two bands, with “Pussycat” being heavy and raucous and “The Silent Boatman” brought gospel to the funk (something Clinton would keep coming back to on later Funkadelic releases).

The public wasn’t quite ready for this, and Funkadelic soon hit big with the Maggot Brain album, so Clinton pulled the plug on this side of his empire until the mid-70’s.

NOTES & MINUTAE: Osmium is an apt title – it’s the densest metal, and this was pretty dense funk. Also, this is not streaming and you need to search for an import CD online. A couple of semi-legal releases also exist (First Thangs and Rhenium).

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  Yes – they released a couple of singles after this and one of them, Breakdown, hit #30 in the R&B charts (#107 on the regular chart).

GRADE:  B+: A darn good merger of a vocal group with funk. Not every track works, as usual with Clinton’s empire, but those that do are fantastic. It’s worth seeking out if you are a student of the funk or 70’s soul.

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