Parliament

Funk Essentials: The 12" Collection & More

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Don't mistake 12" Collection & More for a best-of collection. It features a few of Parliament's best moments, such as "Flashlight" and "Up for the Down Stroke," but it also includes songs such as "Ridin' High-Parlet" and "Oh I," which weren't technically even Parliament songs. This is more of a grab-bag collection; some of it is the group's best work, while some of it is here as filler. In terms of what's worth seeking out on this album, look towards the 12" versions of "Flashlight" and "Aqua Boogie." Also found on the Tear the Roof Off best-of, these extended versions approach the ten-minute mark, making them P-funk jams on par with "(Not Just) Knee Deep" -- jams that just don't stop, jams that you don't ever want to stop! The extended versions of "Agony of Defeet" and "Theme From the Black Hole/The Big Bang Theory" are also epic jams, but as some of the group's latter-day work, they're not prime material. Elsewhere, the string-laden seven-minute version of "Oh I" is amazing, even if it was actually a Funkadelic song, not a Parliament recording. The five-minute version of "Up for the Down Stroke" also ranks up there with some of Parliament's best work ever, adding about two minutes to the original version. Unfortunately, Parliament only released a handful of 12" mixes, and this album struggles to fill its length. Still, if you don't mind the filler here, it will be well worth your time to hear the extended mixes of "Flashlight," "Aqua Boogie," and "Oh I" in particular. Like "(Not Just) Knee Deep," these songs keep the funk flowing for epic lengths, long enough for you to totally succumb to the rhythm just as you would at one of the group's jam-laden concerts.

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