After an initial couple of doo wop singles starting in 1958 (issued under the Parliaments name) while this visionary musician/ hairdresser was still a teenager, George Clinton seems to have sat out the first few years of the sixties musically and focused on running the barber shop which he co-owned in Plainfield, NJ.
Perhaps it was a new found connection in the music business or pure perservearance that brought Clinton to Detroit, but whatever it was, music is certainly a better place because of it.
After a few unreleased Motown sessions in 1964, The parliaments name was back in action for the incredible double sider "Heart Trouble b/w That Was My Girl" which was released on the "mini-Motown" Detroit label Golden World (in which George developed a strong relationship with for the next few years). 'heart trouble' shows that Clinton & company were ready for the soul era, with a sophisticated track that must have sounded incredibly modern at the time, but still with one foot rooted in doo wop. "That Was My Girl" is a great uptempo ballad that shows the groups' doo-wop roots in full flight. This record proves that George was full of unique creativity a few years before he was psychedelicized!The intro theme was later re-used (like so many of George's early work) as the intro to Funkadelic's "You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure".)
'I Say Yeah" by the Pets may seem a bit mindless upon initial listen, but beneath the surface is a very heavy song emotionally that dealt with the controversial subject of a boyfriend away (in Vietnam, no doubt). Once again, the arrangement is incredibly sophisticated and the lady sing their hearts out on the track. All of the melancholy is driven along by the catchy chorus and the rollicking groove. All through Clinton's career, he handled the controversial, weird, and downright freaky in a unique way that incorporated a twisted and brilliant sense of humor. Here are the roots!Pat Lewis was nineteen at the time of her first release, the downright genius side "Can't Shake It Loose". Sweet voiced Pat and visionary George proved that they could practically out-Motown Motown with this track, which probably features the Motown band moonlighting. This track was later recut brilliantly by Funkadelic. I'll sign out today (there's plenty more to come in the next few weeks) with Theresa Lindsey's superb 'I'll Bet You". Theresa, who turned down a contract with Motown to work with Golden World, already had scored a small hit in 1963 with "Gotta Find A Way", and also sang backups on Wilson Pickett's "If You Need Me". She turns in a superb performance here, and to my ears it's the beginning of the freakier, psychedelicized vision of Mr. Clinton. The song is full of amazing creative wordplay, and some stellar guitar work from Dennis Coffey. This track was so good it saw versions from Billy Butler, Jean Carter, The Jackson Five, and also Funkadelic on their first album.