September 14, 2009 by fleamarketfunk
After a few days off (due to some gigs), I’m back. Did you miss the Funk people? While i was away, I managed to pick this record up at my local for cheap. While the owner wasn’t giving up some Philly Soul (said it was for his personal collection), I managed to grab this Lp for a mere buck. It’s kind of a shame he had no idea who this artist was, but his loss is certainly my gain. I want to shout out Mr. and Mrs. David and Patti Herschel, who were married on Sept. 12th. I had the distinct pleasure of actually DJing their reception/ party at the swanky Watermark here in AP, and it was a great time. They like my DJ style and apparently so did their guests. I don’t normally do a wedding, but since they were such cool people, I couldn’t refuse. Big ups to them. Let’s get back into the swing of things with Eddie Hazel and “California Dreaming” from the Warner Brothers LP Game, Dames and Guitar Thangs from 1977.
Eddie Hazel was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1950, but spent his childhood growing up in Plainfield, NJ. Self taught to play the guitar at age 12, by 17 he was being courted to play with George Clinton and his band The Parliaments. As the Parliaments morphed into Funkadelic when players came and went, Hazel would become a very important player. He would lend his Hendrixesque acid style guitar playing, while mixing in some Funk and well to the Funkadelic sound. His greatest accomplishment and most memorable performance (one he is often remembered for) is “Maggot Brain”. Here he was at the pinnacle of his career, but Hazel started to move down hill quickly. His chronic drug use and abuse would catch up to him. It was no secret that his drug problems caused pay docking and what not from George Clinton. After Maggot Brain, his use in the studio and on record declined. He even went to Detroit to do some side work with the Temptations in ’72-3. He didn’t learn his lesson, and in 1974 was involved in some sort of fight with an airline attendant which caused an arrest and more trouble. Clinton replaced him as a guitar player, and even though he was featured on Standing On The Verge of Getting It On , his days were numbered in Parliament/ Funkadelic. He stayed close to Clinto though, who gave him work and recorded his solo stuff. Eddie Hazel, tragically died in 1992. His fast living caught up to him, but his talent and legacy live on.
It is no secret that Eddie Hazel could have been the next Jimi Hendrix. He followed in the footsteps of Jimi, but the fast life and drug problems got in the way of a really great musician’s progress. His version of “California Dreamin’ “, in my opinion is one of the best versions. You’re not gonna beat the original, but Hazel’s version of fuzzed out, trippy, and down right nasty guitar work throughout does it for me. I like the addition of the choir, and the piano riff as well. I’m glad to be back, and I hope you enjoyed this little bit of goodness on your Monday morning. Keep Diggin’!