Parliafunkadelicment Thangday! (Maggot Brain Buggery!)

Happy Parliafunkadelicment Thangday!  Today we pay tribute to the greatest axe wielder to play in the P-Funk Army.  Most famous for his epic guitar solo on “Maggot Brain”, Eddie’s influence was heaviest on the early Funkadelic albums.  Age 17 when he officially joined the Parliaments, they still had the doo wop sound.  This would not last for much longer.

In and out of the band for a variety of reason, Eddie also worked with the Temptations, Bill Laswell, and others.  I still have yet to meet a funkateer who prefers Michael Hampton over Eddie.  Eddie was an O.G.  Eschewing his work under the Parliament or Funkadelic moniker, today’s post will focus entirely on his solo work, specifically Game, Dames, & Guitar Thangs.  An excellent and largely unknown album.

Game, Dames, & Guitar Thangs (1977) was Eddie’s first, and best solo album.  Many Funkateers, including Bernie, Bootsy, Gary, Hampton, the Brides of Funkenstein, Glenn Goins, Boogie, and Jerome Bailey, contributed their efforts to the record.  Opening with the funkiest version of “California Dreamin'” I’ve had the pleasure of healing, Eddie plays lead guitar and handles lead vocals while the Brides add backing vocals, Bernie tickles the ivories, and Boogie lays down some heavy bass.  Bernie, Bailey and Boogie balance out Eddie’s atmospheric guitar.  The breakdown staring around the 2:10 mark is excellent.

“Frantic Moment” has such a clean guitar sound.  The Motherpage noted that the guitar at the start sounds backwards.  Eddie’s tone certainly is being manipulated.  Credited to George, Bootsy, and Bernie, the song features lovely vocal bridges, provided again by the Brides, and  instrument lines jumping all over the place, occasionally joining streams.

Picking between Bootsy’s slapping and Eddie’s shredding for best performance on “So Goes the Story” equates is impossible.  Slapping and popping furiously Bootsy matches Eddie’s intensity.  Increasingly frantic, the pace of the song threatens to explode the thalamus.

“I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, a Beatles’ cover, has one of my favorite P-Funk bass lines, particularly during the chorus.  Upfront, it is high on my list of P-Funk bass riffs to learn.  As is customary, Eddie’s lead guitar is amazing.  Slightly after the 4:30 point, Eddie hits something and his guitar really goes off into the cosmos.  As with “California Dreamin'”, Eddie and the folks demonstrate their ability to funk up any style.  Crashing, pounding drums and feedbacked out guitar create a Vesuvian climax.

The instrumental “What About It?” features more spacey guitar and strong bass.  Before the horns of Parliament were added into the P-Funk stew, the Army was known for the guitar heavy Funkadelic sound.  Michael Hampton also plays lead guitar on this one.

The version of Games, Dames, & Guitar Thangs has a few bonus tracks.  “Smedley Smorganoff”, like “What About It?’ is a guitar heavy instrumental.  “Lampoc Boogie” & “From the Bottom of My Soul” are long affairs. “Unkut Funk” is the last of the bonus tracks.  Bass and drums conspire with Eddie’s guitar to push a frantic pace, one fast enough to quickly end a game of Oregon Trail.   All these tracks appeared on the 1994 release, Jams From the Heart, and the latter three appeared in slightly altered form on Rest in P, also released in 1994.  Rest in P is essentially a collection of jam sessions and outtakes put together by George.  In 2006, an album titled At Home came out.  Raw is an understatement when it comes to describing the sound.

Dirty and raw, Eddie channeled his all, and those blessed with the gift of hearing should take notice.  Even way more unknown than Bernie Worrell, Eddie’s obscurity is no reflection of his abilities.  A strong case can be argued that Eddie established the funk-metal guitar sound.  Eddie died in 1992 from internal bleeding and liver failure, problems related to alcoholism and drug abuse.  Two years later, on Ween’s Chocolate & Cheese, Eddie was given a fitting tribute on the track “A Tear for Eddie”.

What does Funk mean to me?
Freedom, as in free of the need to be free
of the xxxpectations, values,and worries of ruling class
passing down its history like Prometheus bestowing fire
unaware that the flame may illuminate ghastly deeds
done under the guise of progress and civilization
by the means of terror and humiliation
sucking the soul of humanity for mere materials
forgetting that vampirism is nothin’ but the d’evils

Funk is my salvation
from it I receive strength, grace, and wisdom
avoiding the illusion of the American Dream
and its’ temptations of the lowest debasement
hip to the pitfalls of squaredom,prats of con-dom

the choice? descension to my lowest nature
or rising above my own shit to my highest concept
finding the freedom within and throughout
the galaxy of a single atom
the bbq rib of the O.S. (original sinner) Adam

not hip enough to see through the snake’s ruse
until the first forbidden bite
bringing piercing illuminating light
dispersing the osidian darkness of night
the first casting of shadows
the death of innocent and lilywhiteness

Is light the Truth?
Is Truth the light?

Look for more Eddie later, alas other duties call.


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