Possessing a rare ability to be showy whilst maintaining subtlety, Hazel took Jimi Hendrix’s style to his own new level. Here, his fuzztinged wahfuelled guitar licks shimmer across seven brain-bending tracks, showcasing highly inventive virtuoso playing and searing riffs. The LP famously opens with the most soaring, soulful version of “California Dreamin’” you’ve ever heard. Eschewing the structure of The Mamas & The Papas’ hit, Hazel slows the pace, adding a pronounced longing to create a truly emotive reworking. Virtually unrecognizable, Hazel’s exquisite arrangement recalled Hendrix’s rendering of Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” and his delicately distorted guitar work propels the track into the stratosphere.
The muchsampled “Frantic Moment” sumptuous headnod GFunk a full 15 years early is essentially a Parliament song whilst “So Goes The Story” showcases Bootsy Collins’ rubberband basslines. The incredible, grooved out version of The Beatles’ masterpiece “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” even manages to evoke early Sabbath. Using the original as a template to jam off, he turns the classic sideways into a monster guitar freakout, tossing off lick after lick with enviable nonchalance. The wild “Physical Love” follows, allowing Hazel and the sizzling Bernie Worrell to strut their stuff before funky instrumental “What About It?” ignites pure dance floor fire. Eddie Hazel was a pioneering guitar genius, but his troubled lifestyle led to a dearth of recorded material that demonstrated his strengths. It’s a wonderful thing, then, that this lost classic is available on vinyl again. Possibly the finest slice of PFunk you’ve never heard, it’s a record that will make your brain dance and one every funk fan needs.