We received word this afternoon that legendary Funk guitarist and Cincinnati native Phelps “Catfish” Collins succumbed to cancer today at the age of 66. Collins (along his younger brother Bootsy) was an architect of Funk as a member of James Brown’s JB’s, Parliament/Funkadelic (fellow P-Funk guitarist Gary Shider passed away just a couple of months ago) and Bootsy’s Rubber Band and was responsible for some of the greatest Funk guitar riffs every laid down.
Collins’ guitar work can be heard on some of the biggest songs in the entire Funk cannon, including Brown’s “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and Parliament’s “Flash Light,” two songs Rolling Stone put in its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” And Hip Hop music might sound a little different if it weren’t for Catfish — songs he played on were sampled on Hip Hop tracks by Snoop Dogg, Black Eye Peas, A Tribe Called Quest, Digital Underground, Big Daddy Kane, 2Pac, Biz Markie, Kurtis Blow, Hammer, Grandmaster Flash and tons of others. In more recent years, Catfish played on songs by Deee-Lite and fellow Cincinnatian Freekbass and he was a contributor to the soundtrack for the 2007 hit comedy Superbad. Catfish will forever be remembered as one of the greatest Funk guitarists in the history of music.