George Clinton is in so many ways an exceptional genius.
Like his forerunner Sun Ra, one of his incredible talents was in nourishing and squeezing out creativity from overlooked and talented straying musicians. His New Jersey barbershop became a beacon for future funkateers.
Bernie Worrell was a case in point.
When the two met in the 1950’s, funk would have not been a socially acceptable word. However the Black American barbershop has traditionally been a place where men congregated and spoke expressively and freely.
So when doo wop George the hair-straightening teenage barber met Bernie the classically trained conservatory pianist, an idea was formed.
Eventually a joint was smoked, a note was repeated, and a bond was made to commit to this new life vision they imagined as funk.
Sun Ra – I’ll Wait For You
Art Terry – George Clinton’s Open Letter To Bernie Worrell
Parliament – Children Of Production
Parliament – I’ll Wait
Parliament – Getting To Know You
Funkadelic – Standing On The Verge
P-Funk All Stars – Atomic Dog
Eddie Hazel – Frantic Moment
Junie Morrison – Suzie Thundertussy
Bernie Worrell – WeWillMissYouBernie
George Clinton’s Open Letter To Bernie Worrell by Art Terry
“He learned to play classical piano at his aunt’s, from Mr Coker downstairs. He wanted to join in with all the sounds that he heard, funky two-bar symphonies, and he ain’t even smoked no weed.
I clambered and gathered every body I knew, who passed thru my barbershop. Gave them parts to sing and lots of funny words, playing funky symphonies, and you ain’t even smoked no weed.
The drugs and the nice girls, didn’t get in my way. Because I take vitamin C. Nothing’s any good if you refuse to play, funky two-bar symphonies, and you ain’t even smoked no weed.
BW you sure ain’t me.”