In this installment of Old Soul, I am going to share with you some rare live footage of the female-fronted funk group, The Brides of Funkenstein. In a nutshell, The Brides of Funkenstein were a female-fronted Parliament Funkadelic, and in my book, it doesn’t get much better than that.
As with most of the P-Funk spin-off groups, the muscians backing the Brides were the same musicians that played in Parliament Funkadelic. Many different members of Parliament Funkadelic released “solo” albums throughout the 70s and early 80s, such as Parlet, <a “Bootsy’s Rubber Band Wiki Bio” href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootsy%27s_Rubber_Band”>Bootsy’s Rubber Band, and The Horny Horns. The spin-off groups would feature particular members on lead vocals, while other members of Parliament Funkadelic filled-in the backing band, and helped write and produce songs. Even Parliament Funkadelic toured and released albums under different names, sometimes Funkadelic, sometimes Parliament.
There were exceptions to this rule with spin-off groups that were made up of members that had left the P-Funk collective due to irreconcilable differences. Quazar was formed in 1978 by former P-Funk guitarist and singer Glen Goins, and Mutiny was created by former P-Funk drummer Jerome Braily and whose first album, appropriately named Mutiny on the Mamaship, was released in 1979.
The original Brides of Funkenstein duo, Dawn Silva and Lynn Mabry, were formerly back-up singers for Sly and The Family Stone and they became part of the P-Funk fold in 1977. George Clinton named the Brides of Funkenstein and produced their first album, Funk or Walk, which was released on Atlantic Records in 1978, and had wide-range success. Silva and Mabry were an opening act for Parliament Funkadelic on tour, as well as performers in Parliament Funkadelic.
After Lynn Mabry left the group in 1979, Dawn Silva continued on with singers Sheila Horne and Jeanette McGruder to record the second Brides of Funkenstein album, Never Buy Texas From A Cowboy. The trio also recorded a third album in 1980 called Shadows On The Wall, Shaped Like The Hat You Wore which was never released, but the songs from the album were gradually worked into the Parliament Funkadelic repertoire.
The rare Brides of Funkenstein videos that I have featured below are of the Brides as a duo. While I could only find 2 videos, they do a very good job of showing you the striking presence the Brides had on stage. A sick P-Funk band was the perfect backdrop for Silva and Mabry’s tasty harmonies and funky attitudes. Be careful: if you don’t know how to swim, you could drown in the thickest of Funk:
This first video is the Brides performing the unrelentingly funky and up-beat song Together in Houston in 1979.
Be sure to listen to some of the other Brides of Funkenstein tracks that are out there (Party Up in Here, for instance), and be sure to check back next time for more Old Soul.
Images: Banner: myspace.com/dawnsilva; Top Right: wolfgangsvault.com; Bottom Right: rickeyvincent.com; Bottom Left: morethings.com