George Clinton – Atomic Dog

Atomic Dog, from 1982 is an absolute granddaddy of a track by George Clinton, responsible for so many samples(seriously, go look for yourself, it’s a hell of a list), and perhaps his definitive solo track. High squealing keyboards lead to a low, dirtiest of dirty funky basslines and a wonderfully surreal set of lyrics growled by George.


Snoop Dogg actually lost a court case over Who am I (what’s my name) to another rapper who claimed that he’d stolen the way he used that line and said dog. That’s copyright law for you.

“Why must I feel like that?
Why must I chase the cat?
Nothing but the dog in me.”

So simple and almost nursery-rhyme like, and yet also questioning the very nature of both nature, and the male sexual drive all at once.

Look out for George Clinton early on in the video wearing a suit that I can only assume was a cast-off previously owned by Rodney Dangerfield. One of the main features of the video though, is the animation. It’s of a faux dog-based arcade game (the album this comes from was called Computer Games), drawn in a fuzzy almost felt-tip style. I’ve always felt it owed a little debt to the video for Genius of Love by the Tom Tom Club, perhaps I’m lead there by their own tribute to George during the song.

“I’m in heaven,
With the maven of funk mutation,
Clinton’s musicians such as Bootsy Collins,
Raise expectations to a new intention”

Aretha Franklin performs Rock Steady

Aretha Franklin performs Rock Steady live on Soul Train in 1973, episode 55.

Now this is a serious sampletastic record, used heavily in late 80s hip-hop for its vocal breakdown. Here’s just one example, the incenduary Mi Uzi Weighs a Ton by Public Enemy:

That’s where I think I first encountered it. The song itself is effortless upbeat soul by Aretha, pulsating and demanding to be danced to.

Al Green – Love and Happiness – Live

I love an old Soul Train clip, and this is a corker, Love and Happiness by Al Green performed live. This is made by the start: Eyebrow raise, footstomp, go. Only found out the other day that Billy Preston (of “Get Back” by him and The Beatles fame, amongst many other things) played keyboards on both Love and Happiness and Let’s Stay Together. Makes sense, because they sound incredible on both tracks.