Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time – #486: Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (1971)

This is vintage soul with magnificent electric guitar solos – yes please.

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The opening “Maggot Brain” has a 30-second spoken word intro that dissolves into some mellow arpeggio guitar that continues to loop under what becomes some out of this world, Hendriz-esque guitar noodling from Eddie Hazel.  This is the sound of a guitar not so gently weeping, and has so much emotion that over the course of nine glorious minutes, words are absolutely not necessary.  This track alone makes the record worthwhile, but thankfully there is more goodness, although nothing else sounds quite like this.

“I once had a life, or rather life had me…” starts off the incredible “Can You Get To That”, which overlays beautiful female harmonies with some deep booming “I wanna know”s.  This song is classic, and Mavis Staples cover of it on last year’s Live In London is also a lovely homage.  Speaking of covers, Ty Segall’s recent crack at “Hit It and Quit It” (from Fudge Sandwich) is yet another example of the lasting impact of these songs.  On this track, we get a fantastic blend of soul and guitar shredding from Eddie Hazel- basically, Funkadelic at their best.

The piano and vocals carry the mail on the groovy and slightly off-kilter “You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks” before Eddie comes back in to the forefront on “Super Stupid”.  The back half of the album falters a bit, but there is a solid first half that is more than enough good action here.

Worthy Tracks: “Maggot Brain”, “Can You Get To That”, “Hit It and Quit It”, “You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks”, “Super Stupid”

Final Verdict: I have no argument whatsoever for Maggot Brain being on this list.

Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/32mkDUhwDI9JCnKLjm5RGw?si=gM5-s5YgS0y3zONG6g7OXA