Funkadelic – 1971 – Maggot Brain
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It contains one of the best guitar’s solo ever made!
According to legend, George Clinton out of his mind on Orange Sunshine, told Eddie Hazel to play the first half of the song like his mother had just died, and then the second half as if he had found out she was alive. The result was the 10-minute guitar solo for which Hazel is most fondly remembered by many music critics and fans. Though several other musicians began the track playing, Clinton soon realized the power of Hazel’s solo and faded them out so that the focus would be on Hazel’s guitar. The entire track was recorded in one take.
In March 2005, Q magazine placed “Maggot Brain” at number 71 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks, which I personal think is not fair as it should be at least at top 20!
Maggot Brain is a 1971 album by the American funk band Funkadelic. It was released on Westbound Records. The music swings through psychedelia, hard rock, gospel and soul music, with tremendous variation between each track.In 2003, the album was ranked number 486 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time
1. “Maggot Brain” (George Clinton, Eddie Hazel) – 10:20
2. “Can You Get To That” (Clinton, Ernie Harris) – 2:50
3. “Hit It And Quit It” (Clinton, Billy Bass Nelson, Garry Shider) – 3:50
4. “You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks” (Clinton, Judie Jones, B. Worrell) 3.36
5. “Super Stupid” (Clinton, Hazel, Nelson, Tawl Ross) – 3:57
6. “Back In Our Minds” (Fuzzy Haskins) – 2:38
7. “Wars Of Armageddon” (Clinton, Tiki Fulwood, Ross, Worrell) – 9:42
Lead Guitar: Eddie Hazel
Rhythm Guitar: Tawl Ross
Keyboards: Bernie Worrell
Bass: Billy Nelson
Drums: Tiki Fulwood
Vocals: Parliament, Gary Shider, Bernie Worrell, Tawl Ross
What can I say, everyone should own this album. “Maggot Brain” may be Eddie’s finest moment ever. The lyrics are particulary poignant and clever, especially “Can You Get To That” and “You And Your Folks…“. Bernie really becomes a dominant force on this album, with his organ adding texture to the acid/R&B guitar stew. Did I mention the beautiful singing? No Funkadelic album would be complete without a freakout song, and “Wars of Armageddon” fits the bill here. It sounds like they pulled out a sound effects album and got funky with it. “Maggot Brain” was written when George asked Eddie to think of the saddest thing he could, to imagine his mother dying. George faded out the rest of the band when Eddie played this, because they weren’t playing as well as Eddie, and the result was excellent. The album is Funkadelic at its best in that it’s impossible to predict. It starts with a psychedelic solo guitar piece, moves on to a gospel-inflected soul-stirrer, continues with a hard-rock organ-driven tune, swings toward a politically charged soul-gospel piece, soars with one of the first heavy metal tunes in history, moves back into the political realm with a touch of taste and a horn influence, and concludes with a freakout as bizarre as anything ever recorded. This kind of heavy eclecticism would be seen on several of the next Funkadelic albums, but this one is my favorite.
“Maggot Brain” is the greatest instrumental the band ever recorded, owing everything to the genius of Eddie Hazel, who makes listening to the piece an exhausting, terryifying and exhilarating experience. “Can You Get To That“, yet another rewrite of a Parliaments song, starts off with acoustic guitars, giving more of an emphasis to Bernie and his organ, with some of the best singing and lyrics on the album. “Hit It & Quit It” is a Worrell showpiece, featuring his vocals and dominated by that heavy organ sound. Hazel’s solo at the end is excellent. “You And Your Folks…” is a sequel of sorts to “I Got A Thing…“, with impassioned lyrics about the poor and the irresistable ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ chant. “Super Stupid” is a high-powered Hazel metal tune, with a still-tasteful if over-the-edge swooping solo. “Back In Our Minds” settles the whole angry stew down, with Environmedian J.W. Jackson playing jew’s harp. He would open for Funkadelic on many occasions, doing a stand-up routine. Just when everything has settled down, they finish it with the utterly bizarre “Wars of…“, a song that has a great Hazel jam, a ton of sound effects, commentary on urban society, lyrics that include ‘more power to the peter, more power to the pussy, more pussy to the peter’, and much, much more.
Buy this album now if you don’t own it!