Mothership Connection

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Mothership Connection
ParliamentMothershipConnection.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 15, 1975
RecordedMarch–October 1975 [1]
StudioUnited Sound, Detroit, Michigan, and Hollywood Sound, Hollywood, California
Genre
Length38:06
LabelCasablanca
NBLP 7022/Def Jam
ProducerGeorge Clinton
Parliament chronology
Chocolate City
(1975)
Mothership Connection
(1975)
The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein
(1976)
Singles from Mothership Connection
  1. "P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)"
    Released: 1976
  2. "Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)"
    Released: 1976
  3. "Star Child (Mothership Connection)"
    Released: 1976

Mothership Connection is the fourth album by American funk band Parliament, released on December 15, 1975 on Casablanca Records. This concept album is often rated among the best Parliament-Funkadelic releases, and was the first to feature horn players Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley, who had previously backed James Brown in the J.B.'s.

Mothership Connection became Parliament's first album to be certified gold and later platinum.[7] The Library of Congress added the album to the National Recording Registry in 2011, declaring "The album has had an enormous influence on jazz, rock and dance music."[8]

Concept[edit]

The album is held together by a loose, escapist outer-space theme.[2] Describing the concept, George Clinton said "We had put black people in situations nobody ever thought they would be in, like the White House. I figured another place you wouldn't think black people would be was in outer space. I was a big fan of Star Trek, so we did a thing with a pimp sitting in a spaceship shaped like a Cadillac, and we did all these James Brown-type grooves, but with street talk and ghetto slang."[9] The album's concept would form the backbone of P-Funk's concert performances during the 1970s, in which a large spaceship prop known as the Mothership would be lowered onto the stage as part of Dr. Funkenstein's arrival.[10]

BBC Music described the album as a pioneering work of afrofuturism "set in a future universe where black astronauts interact with alien worlds."[11] Journalist Frasier McAlpine stated that "As a reaction to an increasingly fraught 1970s urban environment in which African-American communities faced the end of the optimism of the civil rights era, this flamboyant imagination (and let's be frank, exceptional funkiness) was both righteous and joyful."[11]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars[2]
Billboard(favorable)[5]
Blender5/5 stars[12]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[13]
Pitchfork(8.5/10)[3]
PopMatters(favorable)[14]
Rolling Stone(favorable)[15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[16]
Spin(10/10)[17]
Sputnikmusic5/5 stars[18]

On release, Rolling Stone called it a "parody of modern funk" and stated that "unlike the Ohio Players or Commodores, the group refuses to play it straight. Instead, Clinton spews his jive, conceived from some cosmic funk vision."[15] Village Voice critic Robert Christgau said, "That DJ from Chocolate City, or maybe it's the Chocolate Milky Way, keeps the beat going with nothing but his rap, some weird keyboard, and cymbals for stretches of side one. And later produces the galactic 'Give Up the Funk' and a James Brown tribute that goes 'gogga googa, gogga googa'—only believe me, that doesn't capture it."[13]

Retrospectively, it gained high regard. Rolling Stone's 2003 review gave the record 5 stars: "The masterpiece, the slang creator, the icon builder, the master narrative--or 'the bomb,' as Clinton succinctly put it before anyone else." AllMusic called it "the definitive Parliament-Funkadelic album," in which "George Clinton's revolving band lineups, differing musical approaches, and increasingly thematic album statements reached an ideal state, one that resulted in enormous commercial success as well as a timeless legacy."[2] Dr. Dre famously sampled the songs "Mothership Connection (Star Child)" and "P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)" on his album The Chronic.

The album has received many accolades, including being named TV network VH1's 55th greatest album of all time. In 2012, it was ranked at number 276 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[19] It was featured again on the 2020 edition, at number 363.[20] Vibe listed Mothership Connection in their "Essential Black Rock Recordings" list, and it was included in the 2005 book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Track listing[edit]

Side One
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)"George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell7:41
2."Mothership Connection (Star Child)"Clinton, Collins, Worrell6:13
3."Unfunky UFO"Clinton, Collins, Garry Shider4:23
Side Two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
4."Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication"Clinton, Collins, Shider, Worrell5:03
5."Handcuffs"Clinton, Glenn Goins, Janet McLaughlin4:02
6."Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)"Jerome Brailey, Clinton, Collins5:46
7."Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples"Clinton, Collins, Shider5:10
2003 CD remaster bonus track
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
8."Star Child (Mothership Connection)" (Promo Radio Version)Clinton, Collins, Worrell3:08

Personnel[edit]

Production
  • Produced by George Clinton
  • Engineered by Jim Vitti (in Detroit, Michigan), Ralph (Oops) Jim Callow (in Hollywood, California)
  • Mastered by Allen Zentz
  • Photography by David Alexander
  • Art Direction and Design by Gribbitt!

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1976) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[21] 13
US R&B Albums[21] 4

Certification[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[22] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Parliament's 1975 LP Mothership Connection revisited with Bernard Worrell". Soulculture.com. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
  2. ^ a b c d Birchmeier, Jason. Mothership Connection at AllMusic
  3. ^ a b Review: Mothership Connection Archived February 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Robins, Wayne (2016). A Brief History of Rock, Off the Record. Routledge. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-415-97472-1.
  5. ^ a b "Review: Mothership Connection". Superseventies.com. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  6. ^ Keister, Jay (2019). "Black Prog: Soul, Funk, Intellect and the Progressive Side of Black Music of the 1970s" (PDF). American Music Research Center Journal. 28: 5–22. Retrieved January 29, 2021 – via colorado.edu.
  7. ^ "American album certifications – Parliament". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  8. ^ "Registry Choices 2010: The National Recording Preservation Board (Library of Congress)". Loc.gov. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  9. ^ Niesel, Jeff (2013-06-26). "Cleveland - Music - Turn This Mutha Out". Clevescene.com. Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  10. ^ Richards, Chris (May 18, 2011). "Smithsonian acquires Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  11. ^ a b McAlpine, Frasier. "8 afrofuturist classics everyone needs to hear". BBC Music. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  12. ^ Review: Mothership Connection[dead link]
  13. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: P". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 10, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  14. ^ Bowden, Marshall. "Review: Mothership Connection". Popmatters.com. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  15. ^ a b McEwen, Joe (March 25, 1976). "Mothership Connection | Album Reviews | Rolling Stone". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  16. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (2004). Review: Mothership Connection. ISBN 9780743201698. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  17. ^ "Review: Mothership Connection". Acclaimedmusic.net. Archived from the original on 2013-07-27. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  18. ^ "Review: Mothership Connection". Sputnikmusic.com. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  19. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  20. ^ Rolling Stone (2020-09-22). "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  21. ^ a b Mothership Connection at AllMusic
  22. ^ "American album certifications – Parliament – Mothership Connection". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]