If you were like me your first clean introduction to the funk of Parliament was through the early ’80s compilation CD Parliament’s Greatest Hits: Uncutfunk…The Bomb. The CD was the first time I had heard funk in the clean realm of digital sound reproduction. It was also the first time any Parliament music had been put on CD.
When I got it in the winter of 1986, it had become the third or fourth CD in my small but growing collection. The Cerwin Vega speakers of my youth could not have been happier with the choice of songs that ranged from 1974’s “Up for the Down Stroke” to the proudly anti-disco funk of 1978’s “Aqua Boogie”. The album captured Parliaments transition from acid funk to the bubbly dance synth funk that would define George Clinton’s solo career.
It also set up a teaser for the slow release schedule of nearly all of Parliament’s back catalog to CD. Even after owning the more indepth Tear the Roof Off 1974-1980 from 1993, I still find myself preferring the short and concise collection of Parliament’s Greatest Hits. The songs were recorded with surprising fidelity, made all the better now that scratches, noise and pops were no longer part of the sound stage. Once Parliament’s Greatest Hits hit the streets the sampling of Parliament material in hip hop seemed to accelerate now that a clean digital source was readily available.
If you have ever been curious as to the roots of modern funk, you could dig up old records at a hipster store complete with groove skips and scratches or go straight to digital source with Parliament’s Greatest Hits. Now totally free of scratches and pops.