Thursday, February 10, 2011

CD Review: Eddie Hazel (guitarist from Funkadelic)

It seems unnecessary for me to have two blogs, so I'm shutting down StuffToListenTo.  I will be migrating some of the best posts to this blog, so here's a CD review I wrote for "Game, Dames and Guitar Thangs" back on October 15.


If you know of Eddie Hazel, he's the gift-from-Heaven guitarist for the 70's funk powerhouse Funkadelic, Rolling Stone's 43rd greatest guitarist to ever pick a string, and the man who thought up the beauty of "Maggot Brain."

"You're welcome, b*tches."
What you won't know is that Hazel released one solo album while he was alive, and while it's not widely known, it is widely good.

"Game, Dames and Guitar Thangs" - Eddie Hazel, 1977.
Most of the record is a framework that gives Hazel an excuse to pull out his phenomenal psychedelic-funk guitar chops, but if you have any interest in this album, that's probably what you're listening for anyways.
The album's two standout tracks are cover, but sound far from unoriginal.  Hazel stretches the sub-3-minute The Mamas & The Papas classic "California Dreamin'" into something long enough to accommodate his top-rate solos, while still retaining the beauty of the original, if not adding to it.

Hazel takes a break from singing in the Lennon-McCartney composition "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," handing those duties over to some female soul vocalists.  He takes the already-long song (the original Beatles recording clocks in at 7:47) and tacks on almost an extra two minutes, making room for solos that made Funkadelic songs like "Red Hot Mama" so thoroughly enjoyable.
If you decide to try to find this albums somewhere to add to your collection, look for the bonus track version, that adds on the rare Hazel "Jams From The Heart" EP to the end.  The four extra songs are much more than add-ons: length-wise, they are only a few minutes shy of the whole "Game, Dames..." album.
This album is geared toward listeners who enjoy their 70's, are six-string enthusiasts, and have brains and souls.  Don't skip over this one: it's a worthy part of any music collection, despite its lack of notoriety.
(rating out of 5)

MP3 Sample:

(Eddie Hazel - California Dreamin' MP3)

(full album download in comments)
What I'm Listening To: Eddie Hazel - California Dreamin'
(I added a window for my most recent scrobbles on on the right, an imported idea from StuffToListenTo)

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