Some artists are more than merely great. There are some artists that for a period of years, a period that is finite, consistently produced music that, it can be argued, far exceeded the work of their peers. For that brief period of time they were definitely Masters of the Form.
By the end of 1975 it was clear that the Parliament-Funkadelic funk mob, headed by its godfather George Clinton, was anything but an ordinary musical unit. Clinton had overseen the recording of two albums in 1975, the second of which, Funkadelic’s Let’s Take It to the Stage, was a simultaneous slap in the face and kiss on the mouth of R&B music. Featuring screaming guitars, subtle politics, and a sound that blurred the color lines, it made Funkadelic Masters of the Form, and in 1976, with the release of the classic Mothership Connection, Funkadelic’s sister-band Parliament joined them.
Clinton had playfully made fun of James Brown on the title track of Let’s Take It to the Stage, but in doing so he had done more than simply “taken him on”. He had suggested that he was the new godfather; that his was the new funk, and he utilized many of Brown’s own foot soldiers to win a funk turf war that most music fans probably never saw coming. In 1976, Parliament was a frighteningly fierce musical unit. Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker, on trombone and saxophone respectively, had joined their former JBs band mate Bootsy Collins. They helped Clinton improve upon Parliament’s previous experiment, 1975’s Chocolate City, and record Mothership Connection—a bible of groove that changed the course of black music forever.