Few keyboardists have been as influential and central to the legacy and image of a band as Bernie Worrell. One of the founding members of Parliament-Funkadelic alongside George Clinton, Bernie Worrell has been essential to the growth of the group, and has had success as a solo artist through his 1978 debut album All the Woo in the World, which features members from the P-Funk movement. As part of the group, Bernie played grand piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, Hohner Clavinet, Hammond B3 organ, ARP String Ensemble and Moog synthesizer. He was credited as a co-writer on both Parliament and Funkadelic, being involved in horn and key arrangements on many of their hit songs over the years , further collaborating with the likes of Bootsy Collins, Talking Heads and Fela Kuti. His contributions to music have been celebrated throughout the years by producers through sampling, and Madlib’s 2015 collaborative project with MED and Blu titled Bad Neighbour contains a few crazy loops and samples.
It was on the track “Knock Knock” featuring MF DOOM that Madlib sampled Bernie Worrell’s “I’ll Be With You” off his debut album. Funky, soulful and beautiful, Madlib keeps the raw aesthetic of the original, barely touching it, only looping it throughout and adding a few extra drums. This gives a smooth soundscape for Blu, MED and MF DOOM to spit their usually dense lyrics on. You still feel the raw power of the original, with Bernie’s off-kilter singing, the subtle but powerful keys and the incredible bass all over the record. The rhythm on this track just captures all the funk and vibes that make it such a joy to listen to, and Madlib, MED, Blu and MF DOOM capture it perfectly on “Knock Knock.”
Listen to Bernie Worrell’s “I’ll be With You” off his 1978 debut album All the Woo in the World.
Listen to Madlib, MED & Blu’s “Knock Knock” featuring MF DOOM off their 2015 album ‘Bad Neighbor.”
You can check for purchase information for these two albums over at discogs.com.