Chocolate City

After George Clinton's Funkadelic crashed and burned —; taking the whole era of psychedelic funk-rock with it —; up sprouted Parliament, an astonishing new group building wonderlands of fun and sass and ass and horns and keyboards. Whereas the old, guitar-centered band glowered at the straight world from its freak-trench, Parliament found a way to party with it —; and still bring their own Babel of stoned jokes, invented alter egos and dirty, funny innuendo. These records, full of tracks that stuff a couple of minisongs into one megasong, sound good right now in the frightened world: They are self-contained polities of exuberantly good times. 1974's Up for the Down Stroke reflects Sly Stone's moody sound strategies; the metamorphosis is not yet complete. By Chocolate City (1975), the band had the plot down: Bernie Worrell's space-age keyboard sounds, Bootsy Collins' watery bass lines, Clinton's mad-ringmaster raps. But Mothership Connection, from the same year, with its spacious, carnivalesque vibe and exhortations to funk ecstasy, was the masterpiece, the slang creator, the icon builder, the master narrative —; or "the bomb," as Clinton succinctly put it before anyone else.