I just met George Clinton

Last night my girlfriend and I saw George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic live in Buffalo.  I brought along the rare limited edition Osmium 180g picture disc which I posted to this blog on June 28th.  You can re-visit the post for details here.

To sum it up, it’s a re-issue of Parliament’s first record, 750 copies were produced in Argentina in 2003, and all quickly disappeared.  The copy I found was in Thessaloniki, Greece and in mint unplayed condition.

Osmium Pic Disc

There were several setbacks looming over us during my mission to get the album signed by the captain of the Mothership.  The weather man had predicted thunderstorms just as George was set to take the stage, potentially raining out the show.  Also, being new to the area, we got lost on our way to the concert.  Good fortune was with me because I jumped out of the car and stopped the only person I could find on the street… who then generously led us right to the show!

The rain never came, and the set was incredible.  During the concert I found three other audience members with albums to get signed.  We teamed up and talked to security, agreeing to meet beside the tour bus after the performance.  It paid off.  After the park quieted down and everyone left, Joe “Foley” McCreary stepped out of the bus and signed my disc.  (He played bass with Miles Davis all through the late 80s and now plays drums for George.)

Joe Foley McCreary Jr autograph
Next out of the bus was Carlos McMurray who gave an amazing performance as Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk.  He signed the disc with a smile.

Carlos Sir Nose McMurray autograph
And just before George hopped into his van he approached me, took the album in his hands, removed his sunglasses to check out what I’d given him, and happily added his autograph.

George Clinton autograph
The challenges of the night weren’t over just yet – the concert was over by 9:30 we wandered aimlessly until 11pm unable to find our car.  We were still disoriented from the confusing journey into the show.  Thankfully, friends came to our rescue and we stopped into a local bar only to find that luck was with us again – the woman who gave us our parking pass was sitting at the bar.  She remembered us and told us right where we parked!  (Honestly, what are the odds of that?!)

It was a fitting end to an exciting night.  Huge thanks to Nacy for the record, which is now my favorite disc for the love and memories attached.




The Gift of Funk

I’m back from my 30th birthday vacation, and it will most certainly be remembered.   I took home a number of LPs, so watch this blog for several posts in the coming week(s).

Osmium, Parliament’s first full length album, was originally released on Invictus Records in 1970.  A mint copy will set you back one or two hundred dollars on eBay.

Parliament - Osmium (front)

Parliament - Osmium (Back)

All reissues have the artist name re-set horizontally instead of vertically.

The original album is highly collectible.  According to popsike.com, 11 copies in varying condition have auctioned this year.

This version, produced by Earmark/Sanctuary & Get Back Records in 2003 is a limited edition 180g picture disc released in Argentina in 2003.  Only 750 copies were pressed, and in the last four years I’ve found one copy for sale.  So when this one surfaced in Thessaloniki, Greece I put it at the top of my birthday wish list.  Thanks to a kind and loving mother in law it’s the latest addition to my PFunk family collection.

Parliament - Osmium (Picture Disc)
Here’s a taste of the soulful funk on this LP.

The next PFunk related disc I’m after is the “I Wanna Testify” RV207 7 inch single that George Clinton released with his doo-wop group, The Parliaments in 1967 (before Osmium was recorded.)

Stay tuned for more later this week!

Vinyl Heaven

Sunday, May 1st was an absolute thrill.  Both Buffalo and Rochester held their annual record shows the same day.  I attended both, (nearly 120 eight foot tables!) and was amazed by what I found.

Standing in line for the Buffalo show to open it’s doors I was complemented by the four men in front of me for my resemblance to Captain Beefheart.  From our chat I learned of Frank Zappa’s Lost Episodes album which contains a number of collaborations with the Captain from as early as 1958.  Later when I researched that album I discovered a similar collection titled An Evening With FZ & CB. That’s what I love about music – there is always more to learn.

The Lost Episodes

An Evening With...

Within the first 10 minutes I found The Flaming Lips’ masterpiece, The Soft Bulletin.  Yoshimi may be their most popular LP but nothing compares to The Soft Bulletin’s masterful compositions, sonic bliss, and brilliant production value.  It was album-of-the-year on nearly every major list in 1999, and was selected by Pitchfork as the third greatest album of the decade.  Several critics have called The Soft Bulletin “the Pet Sounds of the 1990s.”  I’d been tracking copies online all month, so I bought it without a moment’s hesitation.  The disc also comes with a bonus CD featuring “The Captain,” “Satellite Of You,” and “1000 Ft. Hands.”  The same vendor had a red vinyl sealed copy of Yoshimi that I’d also been tracking online, but his price was a bit steep.

The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin

Next I hit up a booth with a ton of original 70s funk LPs.  I purchased a near mint original German pressing of Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain.  The album is an absolute classic.  Rolling Stone ranked the disc among the top 500 records of all time and the title track as #60 in the greatest guitar songs of all time.  It has also earned the reputation of the #1 guitar solo in the history of rock.  For those who aren’t familiar with the legendary solo, George Clinton allegedly told Eddie Hazel to play “like his mother just died.”  The result was a ten minute opus, the conclusion of which just might have resurected Hazel’s mother from her funky grave.  Beside the album was an equally rare near mint copy of Funkadelic’s self-titled album, but I didn’t have an extra $40 to spare.

Funkadelic - Maggot Brain

The last table I stopped at was better still.  The vendor asked me where I acquired my Beefheart tee.  When I told him that I made it, he replied, “Me too!  Hey – I’ve got that album right here if you want it!”  And he promptly produced a 1970 (second pressing) copy of Safe As Milk!  The first issue of that album, along with the baby Jesus bumper sticker is often considered the holy grail of record collecting.  Tom Kohn, owner of Rochester’s Bop Shop once said that he’ll retire the day he finds that LP.

Captain Beefheart - Safe As Milk
Just as I got ready to leave the table I saw a Jim Henson album which I snatched as quickly as I could.  For $3 I took home the soundtrack to The Dark Crystal, which sells for between $50-$60 online.  After looking up the album I saw photos of a fold-out poster that originally came with the LP.  I hesitated for a moment, reached into the sleeve… and pulled out the mint poster from inside!  Of my twenty five Jim Henson related albums, this might be my new favorite.

Dark Crystal Soundtrack

Dark Crystal Soundtrack Poster
At the Rochester show I met up with two wonderful friends and received hugs and handshakes from several vendors I hadn’t seen in as many as fourteen years, (namely Mark of the Compact Disc Exchange.)  One vendor had a mint original copy of the Meters’ Fiyo on the Bayou, but like the aforementioned Funkadelic LP I didn’t have an extra $40.  I was completely surprised, however to find at the very last minute Soul Coughing’s Irresistible Bliss!  I wish their debut album, Ruby Vroom had been released on vinyl, but alas it was not.  Still Bliss spent years in my CD player so it’ll be great to hear it on my turntable.

Soul Coughing - Irresistible Bliss

I finished the day with a massive garbage plate in the company of good friends and made a few more stops around town before heading home.

All in all probably the best day of crate digging in my entire life, and in the company of people I miss dearly.  Just for fun, below are the other albums I found but didn’t have the $400 extra dollars to pay for…

The Flaming Lips – Oh My Gawd! (2005 clear vinyl reissue) $20
The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (red) $28
The Meters – Fiyo On The Bayou (mint original pressing) $40
Leon Redbone – Champagne (78RPM 10″ single) $4
Funkadelic – Funkadelic (original German pressing) $40
Funkadelic – America Eats Its Young $20
Funkadelic – Uncle Jam Wants You $10
Fuzzy Haskins – Radio Active $20
Bootsy’s Rubber Band – This Boot Is Made For Fonk-n $5
Tom Waits – Mule Variations $20
Tom Waits – Romeo Is Bleeding – Live From Austin $20
Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones $20
Tom Waits – Glitter And Doom Live $20
Captain Beefheart – Mirrorman $20
Captain Beefheart – Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) $15
Captain Beefheart – Bluejeans And Moonbeams $15
Captain Beefheart – Unconditionally Guaranteed $20
Captain Beefheart – Spotlight Kid $20
Captain Beefheart – It Comes… In A Plain Brown Wrapper $30
Captain Beefheart – Strictly Personal $20

Along with the two Zappa albums mentioned above, I’ve got a lot of new music to take in before my birthday this June!  Special thanks to all my friends in Rochester who made the day memorable.