Friday, September 3, 2010

Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!

Eddie Hazel - Game, Dames and Guitar Thangs

After getting into Parliament and picking up a bunch of their killer 70's funk, I read about the band and the name Eddie Hazel came up, but I didn't think much of it, he wasn't on the albums I had. Then I stopped into Heritage Records one day and came across a copy of, "Game, Dames and Guitar Thangs", his 1977 solo album. It had the craziest cover I'd ever seen....Volcano's, a cadillac, mind fuck pharoah's and Eddie riding a horse in full funk costume (including wings) with guitar in one hand and some sort of bad-ass sabre in the other. And then there's the back have to see it to believe it. I didn't know anything about what it would sound like, but had read that he was pretty cool and with a cover like that, I had to get it.

It starts with a cover of "California Dreaming", pretty cool, kinda mellow, but funky with some great vocals. Then I started to fade on the next song and didn't really click with the album after the first listen. Filed it away until some other day.

That day came a couple months later. Summer day off, on the patio in the sunshine reading the paper and I put it on again. The paper was soon forgotten and I got hypnotized. This record is fantastic. It's got a pretty mellow vibe, more of a daytime listen and not something I'd throw on in the middle of a Saturday night party. But, it's perfect for anytime of the day.

There are only 7 songs, although one of those is a minute and a half reprise of the "Callifornia Dreaming" that closes the album. Along with "California Dreaming", he covers the Beatles, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" to open side one "Physical Love" is a Bootsy Collins song that features a second lead guitar from the late Gary Shider. Three of the songs are instrumentals, for the rest the vocals are very chant like, adding to the depth of the vibe. The voice becomes more of an instrument and part of the mix, giving Eddie a chance to stretch throughout.

With longer songs, Eddie lays down a guitar clinic. He's not an over the top player, and compliments the atmosphere of each track beautifully. Some great solos, cool funky licks and wicked funky grooves turned this album into an instant favourite for me. I probably listened to it at least a half a dozen times that weekend. Like all great albums, it's not too long, so when it's done you usually wanna flip it over and listen to it again.

After that, I went searching for more Eddie and discovered, "Maggot Brain". There's not too much I can say about that song that hasn't already been said and if you play guitar, want to play guitar, or just like listening to people play the guitar, you have to listen to "Maggot Brain".

Eddie Hazel truly was not of this earth and we're all better for it.

Listen to this song right now!


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