Eddie Hazel – “Rest In P”
1994 P-Vine Records PCD-2884
Released in Japan
Eddie Hazel would have turned 70 years old in April of this year. This collection of rarities by Hazel is a delight for longtime fans and should impress the neophyte, though I wouldn’t recommend it for the totally uninitiated – those people should start with the first three Funkadelic albums, then Standing On The Verge of Getting It On, and then his solo album Games, Dames, and Guitar Thangs. (More comments below the break)
1 Until It Rains 4:50
2 Beyond Word And Measure 4:46
3 Relic ‘Delic (Purple Hazel) 3:01
4 Straighten Up 5:14
5 Juicy Fingers 14:18
6 We Three 12:09
7 Why Cry? 2:48
8 We Are One 6:10
9 No, It’s Not! 9:23
10 Until It Rains (Reprise) 0:47
Made By – Blues Interactions, Inc.
Recorded At – Hollywood Sound Recorders
Recorded At – United Sound Studios
Mastered At – The Disc Ltd.
Performer – Bernie Worrell, Billy “Bass” Nelson, Bootsy Collins, Buddy Miles, Eddie Hazel, Jerome Brailey, Tiki Fulwood
Vocals – Dawn Silva, Eddie Hazel, Lynn Mabry
Written-By – George Clinton (tracks: 6, 9), “Grace Cook”
Producer – George Clinton
Recorded by Jim Callon and Jim Vitti
Executive-producer – Archie Ivy, Greg Reilly, Rick Cioffi
Mixed By – Greg Kutcher, Greg Reilly
These all-instrumental tracks demonstrate why Hazel was truly the standard-bearer for black rock after the death of Jimi Hendrix. He obviously owed a huge debt to Hendrix, but unlike many imitators who could mimic his style but not his substance, Hazel seemed to really get where Hendrix was coming from and (more importantly) where he was going. The era of Jimi that seemed to most influence Eddie Hazel is the Hendrix of Band of Gypsies, Cry of Love, and War Heroes. The era when soul and funk took pride of place over the paisley pyrotechnics of the The Experience. Hazel was also interested in taking the electric guitar to new places, in a way picking up where Jimi left off. I could point out that Hazel did not quite have the triple-threat combination of vision, technique and easy compositional genius for ear-wormy, singable tunes that Jimi did, but that would be like criticizing a master painter because they aren’t Rembrandt or Picasso. Generally I think Hazel was at his best writing with his co-conspirators in Funkadelic, and while George Clinton does get a writing credit on two tracks here, the rest are credited to “Grace Cook.” This was both a tribute to Hazel’s mother and a legal way to evade some tax issues Eddie was having in the mid-70s. That being said, the writing credits listed here should be taken with a grain of salt (see below…) and I would expect that the other musicians featured here (especially Bernie Worrell) had some authorial input.
The opening track, Until It Rains, is just plain gorgeous, followed by the engaging Beyond Word or Measure, a faster and funkier piece with some vocalizing but no lyrics. If any blog visitors can read Japanese and feel like translating the liner notes for fun, by all means knock yourselves out and report back. Aside from the first two songs here, which seem fully realized, most of these tracks sound like working drafts headed towards a final idea, demos for unfinished projects or possibly outtakes. A bunch of his colleagues from the P-Funk family play on the album (as well as Buddy Miles) but I don’t know who exactly plays on what because, again, I don’t read Japanese. A few of the cuts here (including the two that exceed ten minutes each) were released with different titles on an EP called Jams From the Heart.
I already highlighted the soul and funk influences – maybe it is something I want to reiterate because I keep seeing Hazel’s name next to the words “funk metal” which just kind of bothers me, although perhaps it shouldn’t. But there is plenty of classic rock to be rolled here – after all, Hazel covered California Dreamin’ and the Beatles’ She’s So Heavy on his aforementioned solo album. Relic ‘Delic (Purple Hazel) is a medley of Hendrix snippets, including Power of Soul. “We Are One” is basically a reworking of Carry On by Stephen Stills, the leading track on the Déjà Vu album (and, in a way, another Hendrix connection, as he and Stills were chums and he even played on a track from his first solo album). It is unlikely that any of the selections on this album will be issued outside of the grey market because of the general legal chaos and confusion of Hazel and George Clinton’s musical legacies, but these two tracks especially would need to be cleared or licensed from a bunch of suits. At slightly over an hour in running time, it’s a bit too long to sound like a cohesive “lost album”, but as far as posthumous releases go, you could do a lot worse than Rest In P.