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Baker's Dozen

Playing The (Baker's) Dozens: George Clinton's Favourite Albums
Suzie McCracken , July 9th, 2015 13:12

With the funk kingpin and founder of Parliament and Funkadelic taking his bands on a festival tour this summer, Suzie McCracken caught up with him to find out about the 13 records that have stuck with him through his lifetime

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All photographs of George Clinton courtesy of Al Overdrive

Born in 1941, I expected that George Clinton's choices for his Baker's Dozen would span the decades and his own musical life; from his mother's taste in blues, to his formative years spent loving Motown and writing at the Brill Building, through to his psychedelic awakening and subsequent (and continued) genre experimentation.

And although all of these periods come up during the duration of our chat, it is one single trip to the record store that characterises nearly half of his choices. At around the age of "29, maybe 30", Clinton purchased his sacred audio library, including records by Sly And The Family Stone, The Beatles, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream. "Those records that I bought, they became my bible," he says. "I had Motown already under my belt, the Brill Building already under my belt. Now it was time to change it completely. When I heard Are You Experienced... I had just smoked a joint! It took me another year before I dropped acid. And at that point, here comes Sly And The Family Stone. Then you start to see it…"

His relationship with these records was so marked and intense, Clinton says, that if he'd been asked for a list of 13 albums by a slightly nervous music journalist ten years before, it would have been the same list as today. "They were the only ones that I bought for years," he grins.

And because the music of his childhood came via 45s, the album as a format had as big an impact on George and Funkadelic as the content of those LPs. "It was about the concept," he explains. "Our first album was a little straighter than the second, cause we did have a few songs... the second one though: completely crazy. Free Your Mind... And Your Ass Will Follow? We intentionally did the entire album tripping."

"We came from Motown - we knew how to make a clean, straight record! But we didn't want to. We wanted to be so loud that it hurt. My intention was to have things so loud that you could run your hand across the record and feel the bass. Public Image Ltd came along afterwards and they understood: bring the noise. They understood the concept of tearing the roof off."

George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic are currently on tour, heading to Wilderness festival in Cornbury Park near Charlbury, Oxfordshire on August 8; for full details and tickets, head here. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through George's choices, which run in no particular order

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Jul 9, 2015 12:17pm

Where are the choices??

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Jul 9, 2015 2:26pm

No one ever picks 'Fresh'....and I agree that it's the peach of the Sly catalogue

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Jul 10, 2015 8:48am

In reply to :

deffo

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Jul 10, 2015 1:17pm

Doo wop rules

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Chris
Jul 10, 2015 3:12pm

That Dionne Warwick album rules! Fine selections :)

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J. Fishwife
Jul 11, 2015 2:10am

Philosopher king, Scholar in excelis

What I am trying to say in my ham-fisted way is that the man (a) positively frolics in disintegrating boundaries, and (b)seems to understand musical structure and theory on an intrinsic level like few of us can do with our innate frequencies. So while GC original creations may not amuse Stevie, he knows WAY more than you or I will ever hope to know. Similar type of talent to, say, George Gershwin?

Sorry if this comes across as pompous, how would you describe his talents, readers?

And yes, Doo Wop Does Rule.

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Jul 11, 2015 2:14am

In reply to J. Fishwife:

meant to type "...may not approach Stevie's or Marvin's finesse..."

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Red&Blackman Thinks
Jul 23, 2015 4:48pm

George Clinton : Funky Alchemist. Can you dig??

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