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Welcome to the Mothership and Funkadelic's “You Scared The Lovin’ Outta Me”


By Kalamu ya Salaam of Kalamu.com

 

If there is an album that exemplifies P-Funk - that is, the combination of Parliament and Funkadelic, Hardcore Jollies is the one. OK, may be not “the only one” but certainly one of the more important ones.

 

It was Funkadelic’s major label debut on Warner Bros and though far better Funkadelic albums would follow, there is something raw and ecstatic about Hardcore Jollies. To borrow a boxing metaphor, this ain’t the rumble in the jungle but it sure is a knockout.
 
Whereas previously Funkadelic was hard, hard rock-oriented with screaming guitars and pounding drums, and Parliament was R&B with heavy vocals and backbeats galore, somewhere along the line,
Clinton took professional advice and focused his split personalities. So, we got this jam at a time when the Mothership was coming around the bend.
 
When the Mothership landed everybody read about it. There was no more simply showing up anonymously and playing all night as long as the dope lasted. Now they were literally traveling with 18-wheelers. They needed a professional roadie crew just to move the equipment.

 

Have you ever tried to transport a spaceship?

 

         

The Mothership has landed and George Clinton takes to the stage

 

And then there was the madness of holding five (count them, five) different recording contracts with five different record companies and using the same pool of twenty or so musicians. It was lunacy at its finest.
 
Anyway, when this bad boy swung round the mountain it was like Jimi playing with James Brown’s band. The music gods smiled upon us and their laughter left behind this testament to hardcore heavenly jollies for the hip set. Could easily have picked one of several other cuts to feature, but I happen to really like the self-effacing coming-of-age sexual freak anti-romance story of “You Scared the Lovin’
Outta Me.

 
I won’t tell you to listen closely to the lyrics, or to check out the double lead vocals (one on the left channel and the other…), nor will I advise you to savor the devilish delectableness of booming baritone rubbing seductively up against screaming falsettos.
 
It’s undoubtedly unnecessary to point out how the female voices sit down front-and-center paradoxically giving heft to the chorus hook in the midst of a testosterone-heavy mix. Who needs to be guided to the operatic keyboard hooks? Who can not feel the bass bottom broad as a six-lane highway or the way the drummer is constantly dropping bombs rather than merely keeping time?

 

This is one of those cuts you can explore and delve into without a guide unless you are afraid of unbridled libido set loose by the asylum inmate band.
 
Another reason I went for “You Scared Me…” was on account of one late night/early morning when I was trolling galaxy seven on the internet. Guess who I sighted out there: Ms. Badu. 
 

       


It seems as though she was in an outrageous mood and dropped a short medley which kicked off with the hook of “You
Scared Me. From there she flew into her trademark funking around with no pre-set destination, just sort of seeing where to she can go, picking up stick and bell at one point, jumping on a drum machine the next, acoustic to electric, ancient to modern, just flat out doing it to death, definitely in the spirit of P-Funk.
 
Picking up the scent, I went into hound-dog mode and even found some video from the session, although there are no visuals from “You Scared Me,” you can see her band. (Check that the only horn is a flute! A flute! No trumpet, no sax, no trombone—sista got a big old hunk of a black man playing a flute!) They was laughing and screaming, grinning and grinding, jumping and getting down.

I said holy goddamn, this shit is hotter than Hades.

But don’t take my word for it: the evidence is available. Go here
http://www.erykahbadu.com/ to check out two short video tracks of Ms. Badu phunking up the place over in the
Netherlands.

 

Kalamu ya Salaam is a New Orleans-based writer and filmmaker. He is also the founder of Nommo Literary Society - a Black writers workshop. 

 

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