CLARENCE “FUZZY” HASKINS an original member of the Parliament/Funkadelic axis died on Friday 17th March. No more details are forthcoming save that he was 81. His death was announced by George Clinton who simply posted “We are saddened to announce the passing of an original Parliament Funkadelic member Clarence Eugene “Fuzzy” Haskins”.
Born in 1941 in West Virginia, Haskins relocated to Plainfield, New Jersey where he met up with George Clinton with whom he formed a barber shop style harmony group – they actually sang and rehearsed in a local barbers! Calling themselves The Parliaments, they travelled to Detroit at weekends hoping to grab some attention from Motown. That never happened but they were signed to Revilot where they released some now collectable, in-demand singles. Their best known outing was ‘I Wanna Testify’ but connoisseurs revere their ‘I Can Feel The Ice Melting’, ‘Don’t Be Sore At Me’ and ‘That Was My Girl’. Said connoisseurs , however, debate whether it was the Parliaments or just Clinton and backup singers on those classic Detroit tracks.
The demise of Revilot caused issues with the band’s name and without a record deal the Parliaments went on tour supported by backing musicians known as Funkadelic. When Westbound Records wanted to sign the band, ongoing naming issues led Clinton to formally change the name to Funkadelic.
In the early days of Funkadelic, Haskins played an important role – as singer and songwriter. By 1977 the inevitable band relationship problem kicked in and Haskins quit to pursue a solo career. His first album was ‘A Whole Nother Thing’ . The follow up was ‘Radio Active’ and though both featured members of Funkadelic (including Bootsy Collins) neither had any real impact. In 1980 he formed a rival Funkadelic which eventually became Original P. The band was made up of several ex Funkadelic players in dispute with Clinton… there’s a surprise!
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