Saturday, August 20, 2016

Funkiest Bernie Worrell Moments on Wax

Keyboard maestro and P-Funk co-founder Bernie Worrell headed back home to the Mothership on June 24 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 72.

Worrell’s imaginative keyboard work was an integral part of P-Funk’s unique sound. Through his wizardry on the keys, he infused a fantasy/sci-fi element into the legendary funk-rock-soul collective’s ever-expanding sonic palette.

And in addition to his tremendous contributions on keys, Worrell had a hand in the writing of many of P-Funk's best and most-recognized classics, including “Mothership Connection (Star Child),” “Flash Light,” “Cosmic Slop,” “P.Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up),” “Aqua Boogie,” “Red Hot Mama,” and “Do That Stuff.”

He was without a doubt one of P-Funk’s most invaluable architects. So in honor of the Wizard of Woo, I’ve made a list of a few of my favorite Bernie Worrell moments on wax. Here they go:

Flash Light [Parliament - Funkentelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome, 1977]

Worrell's iconic Minimoog synth bass line drives this raucous, supremely funky dancefloor classic. His other synth work throughout track is also stellar.

"Let Me Be" [Parliament - Chocolate City, 1975]

Worrell's inspired keyboard work illuminates this sterling Parliament cut. You can hear his deep classical roots here.

"A Joyful Process" [Funkadelic, America Eat Its Young, 1972]

Worrell drops megadoses of clavinet-driven funk on this appropriately titled instrumental.

"Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)" [Parliament - Motor Booty Affair, 1978]

The Woo master serves up another stupidly funky Minimoog bass line on this monster booty-shaker. And in addition to the bass line, Worrell elevates the track to its maximum funkatude with his amazing keyboard work and a slow-burn synth solo.

"Tales of Kidd Funkadelic (Opusdelite Years)" [Funkadelic - Tales of Kidd Funkadelic, 1976]

This desolate masterpiece showcases Worrell’s singular genius on the keys.

"Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk (Pay Attention - B3M)" [Parliament - Funkentelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome, 1977]

Worrell brings some sci-fi flavor to the bizarre but exceedingly brilliant “Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk.”

"Smokey" [Funkadelic – Hardcore Jollies, 1976]

This superb Funkadelic cut features some low-end magic from Worrell on the moog synth bass. And he takes the funk up a notch with a badass solo on the melodica.