They say George Clinton may be the most-sampled musician ever, quite the achievement given his fame is nowhere near the level of other highly sampled artists such as Michael Jackson and James Brown. This is a testament to the original and catchy brand of funk music he's produced throughout the decades. Despite his funk background, Clinton actually got his start as the singer in a doo-wop group called The Parliaments, which was never successful. In fact, the band was known for not being able to match clothing or hairstyles for their performances. Later, this sloppiness would be embraced to form George Clinton's signature style. Legal issues precluded Clinton from using the name Parliament for future recordings so he was forced to use derivatives of the name (Parliament Funakdelic, P-Funk All-Stars). The other day we got into a fight with someone over whether the Clinton's cover of Prince's "Erotic City" was so old it was post-sexual and therefore appropriate to play at a dance with young people present. In reality, the argument was just a chance to flush a conflict brewing for a long time out of our system and had nothing to do with Clinton or P-Funk. Today, in a post about Econoscope from February, SerafinoKhavon left a comment that seems to exorcise some pent up demons and we'd be remiss if we didn't share it with those not browsing posts from months ago.
OH SWEET LORD, THE ECONOSCOPE. I had an '85 Peugeot 505S a few years back. Came complete with the awesomely indestructible (if underpowered in the U.S.) XN6 engine, a decent 5-speed gearbox, and utterly tank-like build quality. The gallon of latex paint a previous owner had spilled on the floor behind the driver's seat only served to act as a talking point with sticky-footed passengers, and the ability of the oil leak from the valve cover to be summoned on demand with suitable application of the brakes at a stop light were only two of its more awesome features. But the Econoscope - now that was a feature you could get locked into a battle to the death with. Mine decided to work when it felt like it, which was usually late at night driving somewhere at a constant speed in fifth gear - like through the Mojave desert or California's Central Valley for hours on end. Econoscope's wisdom dictated that if you had been moving at 80mph downhill with the aid of a tailwind for an hour, fuel economy was suddenly going to plummet into the GIANT FRICKING RED LIGHT ZONE, despite none of the Econoscope lights having done a damn thing for (in some cases) weeks beforehand. Of course, this is late at night. In the desert, or in the middle of farmland. It's dark. Having the GIANT FRICKING RED LIGHT come on unexpectedly is not good in those situations, particularly when you're too lazy to take the dash apart to replace the blown bulbs that provide instrument illumination so have no clue as to what's about to explode. On the flipside, it would occasionally show a green light for quite some time while crawling in 100degF L.A. traffic with the A/C on, so it probably all balanced out in the end. I miss that old 505. It was perfect L.A. beater material: comfortable enough that you could live with it in traffic, decent handling in the twisty stuff and on desert tracks, and bumpers that would beat the crap out of anything even contemplating getting in its way. For $850, probably the best automotive bargain I ever had.
Heads up play by Pete for noticing it. We haven't had a good rant in a long while.
[Photo: Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]