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Phelps “Catfish” Collins, 1944-2010

Posted by Jeff Owens

Veteran funk guitarist Phelps “Catfish” Collins, 66, known for his seminal work with the P-Funk collective and elder brother of bassist William “Bootsy” Collins, died Aug. 6 in Cincinnati after a long battle with cancer.

Collins grew up in Cincinnati. He and his brother formed the Pacemakers in 1968 and joined James Brown’s band in 1969. The elder Collins made notable guitar contributions to Brown hits including “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” “Soul Power” and “Super Bad.” After two years with Brown, both Collins brothers formed the House Guests in 1971; this band became part of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic lineup later that year. Phelps Collins remained in Parliament-Funkadelic until 1983; he also contributed to his brother’s P-Funk side project, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, in the mid- and late 1970s. In later years he played on albums by Deeed-Lite, Freekbass and H-Bomb, and he contributed to the Superbad soundtrack in 2007.

The passing of Phelps Collins comes only two months after that of fellow Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist Garry Shider, who succumbed to cancer on June 16, 2010, at age 56.

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