With 1976's Mothership Connection, George Clinton's motley posse of costumed freaks made the quantum leap from sizzling proto-funk band to bona-fide extraterrestrial phenomenon. Featuring fantastically layered grooves and instruments making noises they weren't designed to, this is party music at its most psychedelic-and that's before delving too deep into the outer-space messiah theme. With Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley purloined from the JBs horn section; career weirdo Bootsy Collins on bass; and the brilliant Bernie Worrell on piano, Parliament fashions a funk Frankenstein from the most way-out elements of rock, R&B and jazz. Sublimely weird moments abound, from the "ga ga goo ga" chorus and farting keyboards of "Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples" to the striking and spiritual "Swing down sweet chariot" bridge that breaks up the title track. More than just a novelty band (or thieving ground for hip-hoppers' hooks), Parliament was a force of unbridled creativity unleashed on the dance floor. Booties everywhere should give thanks.