The Parliaments - Testify!: The Best Of The Early Years
CONNOISSEUR COLLECTION - VSOP CD 286
01 - (I Wanna) Testify
02 - I Can Feel The Ice Melting
03 - All Your Goodies Are Gone
04 - Don't Be Sore At Me
05 - Little Man
06 - The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg
07 - Look At What I Almost Missed
08 - What You Been Growing
09 - Good Old Music
10 - Time
11 - A New Day Begins
12 - I'll Wait
13 - I'll Wait (inst.)
14 - All Your Goodies Are Gone (inst.)
15 - Baby I Owe You Something (inst.)
16 - Lets Make It Last - The Fellows
17 - She's Always There - The Fellows
18 - Heart Trouble
19 - That Was My Girl
The roots of George Clinton's Parliaments stretch back to the mid 1950's and a barber shop in New Jersey, where a group of teenagers formed a doo-wop group named after Parliament cigarettes. As a doo-wop group they released 'Poor Willie/Party Boys' on Apt Records in 1958 and 'Lonely Island/You Make Me Wanna Cry' on Flipp Records in 1960, without much success. In 1962 George got a job as a songwriter and producer for Motown in their New York office. Obviously George pitched The Parliaments to Motown, but a 1964 session in Detroit was rejected. That same year George teamed up with two other Motown employees, Sidney Barnes and Andrew 'Mike' Terry to form GEO-SI-MIK Productions. They sold their services to the newly formed Golden World/Ric-Tic/Wingate record labels of Detroit. As well as production and song writing duties, this resulted in a single for The Parliaments. 'Heart Trouble/That Was My Girl' was released in 1965 on Golden World and is included on this CD, although it says the tracks are demo versions I can't tell the difference. For me 'Heart Trouble' was the first Parliaments track I heard and is one of my all time favourite soul songs.
In 1966 GEO-SI-MIK began working for Revilot/Solid Hit Records, also in Detroit. While contributing to many numbers on this label, George and the latest version of The Parliaments recorded '(I Wanna) Testify/I Can Feel The Ice Melting' in 1966. This single spent so long on the shelf before it's release in 1967, that George went back to barbering in Newark for a while. When it was finally released it was a hit, reaching No.3 in the R&B charts. The band rushed back to Detroit and recorded the rest of The Parliaments tracks on this CD, allegedly in one mammoth session. The Parliaments released a total of six singles on Revilot between 1967 and 1969, none doing quite as well as '(I Wanna) Testify' but all great (in my opinion). The instrumental tracks were used as B-sides for other artists on Revilot/Solid Hit and the two tracks by The Fellows were recorded by a Temptations sounding group produced by George.
Unfortunately George got caught in a contractual dispute surrounding the bankruptcy of Revilot/Solid Hit and was no longer able to use the name The Parliaments. In order to keep recording for other labels George renamed the band Funkadelic and headed off in a whole other direction. But that's another story for another day, in the mean time enjoy some top notch vocal group soul from The Parliaments....