(I Wanna) Testify – The Parliaments (1967)
I saw a great concert this weekend. Lonny Jordan and War was the headliner and their performance was awesome, but the hour went by too fast. I wanted to hear more!
The opening act was none other than The Original “P” Funk Founding Members Of Parliament/Funkadelic “Shady” Grady Thomas and Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins. They “raised the roof” (even thought it was an outdoor concert – lol ) without George Clinton. The entire night was a Seventies revival! Everyone had a blast.
On the drive home I got to thinking about the roots of P-Funk and the P-Funk All-stars revival back in the Nineties. Before that revival there was Parliament. And before that there was Funkadelic. And the granddaddy of them all was a 15 year old George Clinton’s doo-wop group, founded in 1957, The Parliaments — named after a popular cigarette of the era.
The group was made up of Clinton, Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins, “Shady” Grady Thomas, Calvin Simon and Ray “Stingray” Davis (1940-2005).
George was inspired by Motown and actually wrote some songs for that label and yet his own group didn’t chart well at the time except for “Testify” — a #3 R&B hit that he and Deron Taylor composed. Released on the small Revilot label the tune also went to a respectable #20 Pop.
I remember loving this hit when it first came out and it is still regularly played on my MP3 player. It’s a Sixties classic IMHO.
There were no other major hits on the Revilot label, but some of those “B” sides went on to be re-worked and recorded by Parliament/Funkadelic. Parliament even covered itself with “Testify”!
Testify Trivia: “(I Wanna)Testify” actually only features George Clinton from “The Parliaments.” He recorded it with another group named the Holidays, as well as regular associate Pat Lewis.
Hard to believe that the clean cut group, with the pompadoured hair in the pic at the beginning of this post along with their backing band, came to be this P-Funk Mob pictured in the above promotional pic. The clan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Check out the write-up here.
I am amazed, but also glad these guys are still touring. If you didn’t have the pleasure of being there to see them live in the Seventies – you had better catch them live right now while you can. In fact even if you DID see them in the Seventies, as I did, go again because it is a musical experience that you won’t soon forget.
I believe that the members of the touring group I saw this past weekend are:
Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins – vocals and ORIGINAL PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC
“Shady” Grady Thomas – vocals and ORIGINAL PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC
Ben Powers Jr. – drums
William “Billy” Mims – guitar, vocals
Kevin “K-STAR” Shider – guitar, vocals,
Gene “Gene-O” Thomas – guitar, vocals (Son of “Shady” Grady Thomas)
Derrick Davis – bass, vocals (son of the late Ray “Stingray” Davis)
Charlene Fitzpatrick – keyboards, vocals
John “Fly” Wiley – keyboards
Sonja Holmes – background vocals
Rose Offord – background vocals
Patrice “Emerald” Davis – background vocals
If I am in error please drop me a line.
Take care and thanks for stopping by.