..... The Tracks of My Tears concludes.
As 1976 was coming to an end Parliament released “The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein”. It was the follow up to “Mothership Connection” and has somehow always remained under that album’s shadow. For my money though “Clones” is at least its equal. The funk is looser, the feel is more laid back, horn arrangements to die for abound, and there are some great vocal performances (
for example just check Gary Shider on the track featured here)*.
To my mind the more stripped down feel reveals a melanlcholic undercurrent to
many of the tracks. Cut through the invented on-the-one-cosmic-science-thang
world of Clinton and his cohorts and what you have is a really soulful album.
The soulfulness struck me on first hearing, just after its release. Back then I
wasn’t aware of the group’s history and previous incarnation as The
Parliaments. Now of course it all makes sense.
*(I have featured “Getten’ To Know You” on Feel It before so instead here is another track (with, this time, Glen Goins on vocals) which has a similar effect on me.)
Parliament– Funkin’ For Fun (1976)*
I used the term “marriage made in heaven” earlier in these outpourings. Here’s another one – Country and Soul music. So many Country songs tell a story, simple but powerful tales about human relationships and feelings – hearts swollen, torn, broken, mended. What makes someone a Soul singer is the extra level of emotive power they seem able to impart in their delivery, a feeling that they are singing from the heart. Put these together and you have a have a potent brew.
In the mid 70s Dorothy Moore had a string of ballad hits on the Malaco label at a time when the whole world was turning disco. Love songs - new love – “Misty Blue”, “I Believe You” – old flames - “Funny How Times Slips Away”, “For Old Time's Sake”, written by, or for, Country artists. Actually “For Old Time's Sake” was written by Frederick Knight so my premise falls down somewhat – but it sure has a Country feel to it. I have never been in the situation that “For Old Time's Sake” recounts, but the way Dot sings it she makes me feel like I want to be the partner, even with the pain that would obviously come with the territory.
I have just noticed that many of these tracks come from the same period of the 70s, a period that coincided with my late teens. We seem uniquely impressionable at that stage of life and perhaps this explains why I have such a special relationship with these songs. Looking back I appeared particularly shy at that time of my life, especially where girls were concerned. Maybe in immersing myself in these songs I was acting out an otherwise fairly non existent love life! Then again, maybe these songs move me so much simply because as I said back at the beginning - they are so damn good.