George Clinton is getting by with a little help from his friends on his next album — a list that includes the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Carlos Santana, Sly Stone, RZA, System Of A Down bassist Shavo Odadjian, El DeBarge and gospel singer Kim Burrell.
They all show up on an assortment of covers on “George Clinton and Some Gangsters of Love,” which Clinton will release Sept. 16 on Shanachie.
“It started out with me doing some doo wop songs,” Clinton, who grew up singing on street corners in Plainfield, N.J., tells Billboard.com. “As we got going, people started coming through to be on it.” Among the first, he says, was Santana, who plays on a version of the Impressions’ “Gypsy Woman,” and then Stone and DeBarge, who sing on Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar.”
“Then I got serious about other people joining in with me,” Clinton says. “It still is a concept album, but it’s taken a little bit of a different turn.”
On “Gangsters” Clinton also covers Shirley & Lee’s “Let the Good Times Roll” with the Chili Peppers — whose “Freaky Styley” he produced in 1985 — Barry White’s “Never, Never Gonna Give You Up,” Johnny Ace’s “Pledging My Love,” Shep & the Heartbreak’s “A Thousand Miles Away,” Bobby Rydell’s “Kissin’ Time” and Ruby & the Romantics’ “Our Day Will Come.”
The album includes one new song, “Mathematics of Love” (which features Burrell) and a new take on the Parliaments’ “Heart Trouble.” Much of the album was produced with longtime Eminem cohort Mark Bass.
Clinton and Bass have also teamed for a Parliament-Funkadelic Motown covers album to salute the label’s 50th anniversary. The album incorporates samples from a speech by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)” and also includes versions of “Bernadette,” “Heat Wave,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “The Hunter Gets Captured By the Game.” Clinton says he hopes to add some guests to that set as well.
Meanwhile, P-Funk plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a party and performance on July 22 in Los Angeles. And Clinton says he plans to release an album of new P-Funk material in early 2009.