Original "P" (featuring original founding members of Parliament Funkadelic)
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Original "P" (featuring original founding members of Parliament Funkadelic)


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"Original P at Fort Dupont Park"

Gimme Some Funk: Original P at Fort Dupont Park
Posted by Steve Kiviat on Jul. 21, 2009, at 7:50 am

I saw Original P with openers Ken Staton and his James Brown Revue for free at Fort Dupont Park in Anacostia Saturday night July 18. I was not intending to write it up, but it was such an exciting and interesting event that I gotta share. Yes, it was just an oldies tribute show, but it was one with the headliners doing an impressive job of delivering the best of the P-Funk catalogue for the 4,000 or so folks in attendance, many of whom happily sang along. Opener Ken Staton and his James Brown revue are a local act that did well-sung and played but otherwise unsensational takes on James Brown hits. ÒOriginal PÓ (photo is from a Baltimore 2007 show) is a large band that includes two founding singers from George ClintonÕs 1955 formed Parliaments, Grady Thomas and Fuzzy Haskins, who stayed with George through the 1970s and beginning of the Ô80s glory days of Parliament and Funkadelic. Likely, for financial reasons, they split off from George around 1998 with two other original Parliament vocalists, Calvin Simon and Ray Davis. Since then, Simon left the group to become a gospel solo artist and Ray Davis died. Their group does not include well-known George Clinton associates Bootsy Collins or Bernie Worrell.

Wearing floppy hats and late 70s era clothing (and who know what elseÑwas that a diaperÑas we were pretty far back for most of the show), Original P visually offered a bit of the late seventies craziness that was P-Funk. The group included a dancing female dwarf, a keytar player, and various other instrumentalists. They performed the occasionally meandering, gloriously ragged psychedelic funk-rock of Funkadelic and the catchy, often sampled for rap songs, funky rÕnÕb of Parliament. While the lengthy guitar solo- filled numbers sent a percentage of attendees heading out early to beat the gridlock, some raw and gritty bass-filled jams like ÒCosmic SlopÓ and ÒStanding on the Verge,Ó inspired dancing. You bet there was a call and response for ÒTear the Roof off the SuckerÓ (Òwe donÕt need no water, let the mother-f-er burnÓ). This night was certainly memory lane for the mostly late 30s and up age crowd burning incense sticks and waving glow-in-the dark necklaces as the group rendered timeless hits such as ÒFlashlight,Ó and ÒAtomic Dog,Ó (yep, lots of barking). However, this seemed to be more than an oldies show. Ever since 1975Õs Parliament album and song Chocolate City, P-Funk has had a special relevancy for a large demographic in DC and a little bit of that post-riot era self-determination aura was present adding to the electricity in the air.

So one other thing, for what its worth, me and my two buddies were some of the only white folks there (I literally counted seven including us and not including the Park Service employees). Yes, I recognize that African-Americans face this being the minority situation regularly and no, I am not trying to make any equivalence. No, I do not want to get into a discussion of which ethnicities, races, and classes are mainly interested in whichever genres (and how country and metal get no respect either). I know that some record-collecting geek purists do not bother with going out for retrospective oldies gigs. Yes, a woman wanted to take her picture with us, and a guy wanted me to know that P-Funk members played guitar as well as Led Zeppelin, but most people paid us no mind. There were not many white folks in the audience when I saw P-Funk with special guest Sly Stone at the Capital Centre in 1981 either. However, I thought that by now with P-Funk music having crossed over via association with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and countless George Clinton 930 club appearances, things would be different. But I guess while I recognize that it is safe to go to old-school shows at Fort Dupont (me and my buddies have been there before), to many, I am guessing, it is still just an un-gentrified not for ÒusÓ part of the city. Or maybe there is less interest in P-funk from Caucasians than I thought (although the number of old-school funk dj events in hipster NW clubs would seem to suggest otherwise). I have attended Ô70s velour soul oldies shows at Constitution Hall, and bluesy soul shows at Showplace Arena in recent years where I was also in the miniscule minority, so who knows. I am not trying to pat myself on the back and nor am I Òslumming,Ó IÕm just a music fan. But what I do know (if I must get on a soapbox) is that every time you read about Fort Reno and Wolf Trap shows symbolizing summer concerts in the DC area, you should also remember Carter Barron and Fort Dupont and hope they get mentioned too.

- Steve Kiviat



(I Wanna) Testify Ð 7Ó Single 1967
Osmium 1970
Up For The Down Stroke 1974
Chocolate City 1975
Mothership Connection 1975
The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein 1976
P.Funk Earth Tour ÒLiveÓ 1977


Free Your Mind, Ass Will Follow 1970
Funkadelic 1971
Maggot Brain 1971
America Eats ItÕs Young 1972
Cosmic Slop 1973
Standing On The Verge 1974
LetÕs Take It To The Stage 1975
Tales Of Kidd Funkadelic 1976
Hardcore Jollies 1977


A Whole Nother Thang 1976
Radio Active 1978

WHOÕS A FUNKADELIC Ð F. Haskins, G. Thomas & C. Simon

WhoÕs A Funkadelic 1981


WhatÕs Dat ShakinÕ 1998
Hyped Up Westbound Soljaz 2001



The ORIGINAL "P" is a 12 piece band featuring original founding members of PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC - Clarence "Fuzzy" Haskins and "Shady" Grady Thomas. From the street corners of Plainfield, New Jersey and the Motown boom of Detroit in the early sixties, to the arenas and stadiums in the seventies, to the ROCK and ROLL HALL of FAME in the late 90Õs, itÕs been a long, strange trip for Fuzzy and Grady. Both founding members have been inducted into the ROCK and ROLL Hall of FAME for their contributions with PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC. When they formed PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC in 1970, Fuzzy and Grady had already been performing and recording for over a decade in the PARLIAMENTS, a doo-wop, R&B and Soul band. Throughout the sixties they released a series of doo-wop singles for such labels as ABC and Motown. In 1967, the PARLIAMENTS reached the top 20 on the Billboard charts with their single "(I Wanna) Testify". The changes in the social and musical climate of the sixties, as well as a brief unrewarding stint as vocalists for Motown, brought about the information of PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC. The newly formed PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC began cutting a series of records which cut a flaming path into the hearts and minds of an entire generation. This unit begot the musical genre "Acid Funk". You can hear Fuzzy and Grady on the original recordings of such PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC hits as "Flashlight", "Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)", "Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On" and "Up For The Down Stroke", and on such classic P/Funk albums as "Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow", "Cosmic Slop", "Mothership Connection (Star Child)" and many more. Fuzzy and Grady began their own solo projects shortly before PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC was disbanded in the late seventies. In the mid 90Õs they decided to create a reunion project ORIGINAL "P", along with the late Ray "Stingray" Davis and Calvin Simon. After a successful recording venture, the ORIGINAL "P" decided it was time to take the show on the road. "This act gives us a chance to perform these songs the way they were meant to be heard, with solid arrangements and clear vocal harmonies. We were involved in the creation of these songs and they are our children. TheyÕre why we were inducted into the ROCK and ROLL HALL of FAME." When asked why it was time for this project, Fuzzy said, "ItÕs time to put the fun back in funk!" Now ORIGINAL "P"FUNK is back on tour, playing to sold out venues around the world. Get ready to TEAR THE ROOF OFF THE SUCKA!! OTHER FACTS ABOUT THE FUNK: ("I Just Wanna Testify") reached No.20 on the Billboard pop charts in 1967; when the bands label, Revilot, folded in 1969, it took the name Parliaments with it. Parliament signed to Casablanca Records in 1972. "Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk)" hit No. 15 on the pop charts in 1976; "Flashlight" reached No. 16 in 1978. Also in 2004, Rolling Stone magazine listed P/Funk as No. 56 on itÕs list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time. The Rutgers University Pep band frequently plays a version of "Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk)" at basketball games. SOURCES: rockhall.com, wikipedia.com, the BILLBOARD BOOK Of Top 40 Hits, the BILLBOARD BOOK Of Top 40 Albums.