Saturday, December 22, 2007

Eddie Hazel - 1977 - Game, Dames and Guitar Thangs

"A hidden gem among the many Parliament/Funkadelic-affiliated albums released during the mid- to late '70s, Eddie Hazel's only official solo album may not sport any perennial classics and may be a bit short on content, yet it became incredibly revered in subsequent years following its quiet release. Part of this album's magnetic allure to P-Funk fans no doubt arises from its rare status as a considerable collector's item capable of fetching substantial prices. There's more to the album than rarity, though. Hazel never really garnered the acclaim he deserved as a pioneering funk-metal guitarist during his time, and this album showcases just how stunning his guitar abilities really were. Each of the six full-length songs on the brief album feature Hazel laying down fiery guitar solos over loose song structures while the rest of his bandmates hold the song together and the Brides of Funkenstein handle a majority of the vocals. The two epic covers of "California Dreamin'" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" — clocking in at six-and-a-half and nine-and-a-half minutes, respectively — demonstrate this perhaps better than anything else on the album, as the band spends more time jamming than concerning itself with staying true to the originals. The other songs here are rather traditional late-'70s Parliament/Funkadelic songs written by George Clinton and Bootsy Collins that emphasize yet more of Hazel's manic lead guitar. Though this album doesn't exactly boast great songwriting or stand as a landmark album in the sense of Mothership Connection, it does feature some amazing guitar work on Hazel's part, clearly a vehicle for his soloing. And that in itself makes it great and worth hearing, particularly since the pioneering guitarist seemed to disappear into near oblivion after the Maggot Brain album, leaving fans with little recorded output to appreciate after his untimely demise." ~ AMG


1 California Dreamin'
2 Frantic Moment
3 So Goes the Story
4 I Want You (She's So Heavy)
5 Physical Love
6 What About It?
7 California Dreamin' (Reprise)