Ray Davis

Parliament and Funkadelic singer

The Seventies funksters Parliament and Funkadelic, with their flamboyant stage shows and albums like Free Your Mind . . . And Your Ass Will Follow (1970) and One Nation Under a Groove (1978), were essentially the same group recording under different names for different labels, and led by the mighty George Clinton.

The bass singer Ray Davis was one of Clinton's trusted lieutenants, and alternated lead vocals with Glen Goins, the guitarist Garry Shider or Clinton himself on tracks like "Theme From the Black Hole" and "Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)". It is Davis singing "We're gonna tear the roof off the muthasucka" at the beginning of "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)", the 1976 hit for Parliament.

Born in Sumter, South Carolina, in 1940, Raymond Davis was gifted with a really deep voice - "so low you can't get under it" he later boasted - and sang doo-wop on a couple of singles with the Del-Larks before joining Clinton's vocal group the Parliaments in the Sixties.

They cut "Heart Trouble" for the Detroit label Golden World; however, the follow-up for Revilot, "(I Wanna) Testify", was recorded by Clinton with a Detroit group, the Holidays, instead of the Parliaments, on backing vocals. Rather unexpectedly, the track made the US Top Twenty in 1967. The reunited Parliaments recorded five more singles for Revilot, although only "A New Day Begins" had any success, entering the R&B charts in 1969.

The group began experimenting with "P-Funk", a style Clinton referred to as "like the Temptations on acid". They eventually became Funkadelic, mostly to avoid contractual problems, and released an eponymous album in 1970. Recorded in one day while they were tripping on acid, their second release, Free Your Mind . . . And Your Ass Will Follow, made the US Top 100 just as Clinton decided also to reactivate the Parliament moniker. The group members embarked on a dizzying decade as the double-headed monster Parliament-Funkadelic, signed to different labels and issuing myriad recordings made with a forever-changing line-up which would include the bassist Bootsy Collins, the trombonist Fred Wesley and the saxophonist Maceo Parker, all former members of James Brown's backing band the JBs.

Both the album Mothership Connection and the single "Give Up the Funk" reached the US Top Twenty in 1976, as "the Afro Nauts" embarked on the ambitious P-Funk to Earth Tour which did indeed feature a spaceship from which Clinton descended on to the stage. However, Davis and his fellow Parliament vocalists Haskins, Thomas and Simon felt they were being edged out creatively and financially and left the following year.

Ray Davis soon returned to the P-Funk mothership, appearing with Parliament on Funkentelechy vs the Placebo Syndrome (1977) and the US smash "Flash Light" and lending his distinctive tones to Funkadelic's worldwide hit "One Nation Under a Groove" in 1978.

Always on a shaky financial footing and an easy target for litigation from the various labels it attempted to work with, the whole P-Funk operation ground to a halt in 1981. Davis contributed to Clinton's album Computer Games and his 1982 solo hit "Atomic Dog", recently adapted by the rapper Snoop Dogg. He subsequently worked with Roger Troutman's group Zapp and briefly replaced Melvin Franklin in the Temptations, recording the album For Lovers Only with them in 1995.

Pierre Perrone

Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EYFS Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education require an ex...

Year 3 Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 primary supply teacher ne...

SEN Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply special educational ne...

Regional ESF Contract Manager

£32500 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Birmingham: European Social Fund...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home