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Chocolate City

Parliament

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Album Review

Parliament's second album for Casablanca, following Up for the Down Stroke (1974), Chocolate City isn't one of the group's better-known albums. Unlike its predecessor and successive albums such as Mothership Connection (1976), it lacks a signature hit; even though the title track and "Ride On" charted as singles, they're minor in comparison to definitive classics such as "Up for the Down Stroke" and "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)." Though it's not one of the better-known Parliament albums, Chocolate City is nonetheless one of their best and perhaps most underrated. There's a wealth of musical talent to be heard here — most notably Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, and Eddie Hazel — and an emphasis on horns and harmony vocals. Plus, there's no overarching narrative as there would be on successive albums, occasionally to a fault. Instead, this is a collection of stand-alone songs, none topping the six-minute mark. Regardless of its lack of signature hits, Chocolate City is a Parliament album that shouldn't be overlooked.

Biography

Formed: 1970 in Detroit, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Inspired by Motown's assembly line of sound, George Clinton gradually put together a collective of over 50 musicians and recorded the ensemble during the '70s both as Parliament and Funkadelic. While Funkadelic pursued band-format psychedelic rock, Parliament engaged in a funk free-for-all, blending influences from the godfathers (James Brown and Sly Stone) with freaky costumes and themes inspired by '60s acid culture and science fiction. From its 1970 inception until Clinton's dissolving of Parliament...
Full bio