Tuesday, June 23, 2015



A massive jammer from War – and a record that brought the group to a whole new generation of listeners – as well as a good number of later fans who discovered some of these jams in the club! The groove here isn't disco, but this tightening up of War's sweet jamming vibe – almost given a sort of Mizell Brothers twist here, with a focus on sharper rhythms, but still plenty of space for instrumental flourishes over the top. Tracks are long and open, but in different ways than the early years – and there's some rhythmic elements on the record that really have the group trying out something new – and definitely finding a sweet spot in the process! The whole thing's great – and titles include the great extended instrumental "The Seven Tin Soldiers", plus "Hey Senorita", "Baby Face", "Galaxy", and "Sweet Fighting Lady".  ~  Dusty Groove


A sweet snapping groove from War – a set that has the group picking up a bit more boogie in their bounce than before, but at a level that helps keep their funk fresh for a whole new generation! The album's a heck of a lot warmer and more live than most of their contemporaries – and while there's a bit less of the freer moments of their youth, there's still plenty of jazzy touches over the top – and that wonderful trademark blend of Latin elements, jazzy riffing, and captivating chorus vocals! Basslines take on a bit more role than before – but in a good way – and titles include "You Got The Power", "The Jungle", "Just Because", "Outlaw", "I'm About Somebody", and "Cinco De Mayo".  ~ Dusty Groove


A surprisingly great pairing of talents – the post-Animals Eric Burdon on vocals, and early grooves from Cali funk legends War – coming together here in a blend that still holds up beautifully after all these years! Burdon was already getting pretty soulful on the last few Animals albums on MGM – and he really advances that style here when working with War's great grooves – some of the grittiest, nastiest, most stretched out work of their career – especially on some of the album's nicely long tracks. There's some nice Latin currents to the music at times, and the group vocalize alongside Burdon at times – and titles include a long version of "Paint It Black", plus "Bare Back Ride", "Sun/Moon", "Pretty Colors", "Gun", "Nuts Seeds & Life", "They Can't Take Away Our Music", and "Spirit".  ~ Dusty Groove


War live, a perfect step forward – especially given that the group had already been so jamming on all their previous work in the studio! This classic double-length set may well be one of the best soul live albums of the 70s – right up there with similar 2LP packages from Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers – and like both of those, maybe an even greater flowering of the core essence than any short studio record! The album features a killer two part reading of "Slippin Into Darkness", a side-long take on "Get Down", and long versions of "Cisco Kid", "Sun Oh Son", "All Day Music", "Lonely Feelin", and "Ballero". ~ Dusty Groove


A sweet sweet set from the mighty War – and maybe the record that really has the group coming into their own! The record's got a stronger vocal presence than earlier War efforts, which is a really great thing – kind of a blend of sweet soul, heavy funk, and Chicano modes – all served up with this ultra-hip East LA sort of vibe that's way more interested in finding the best sweet spot in the music, than it is trying to figure out any labels for its groove! This approach rings out famously in the classic "Slipping Into Darkness" – which gets a 7 minute workout here – but the whole thing is great, and other titles include the seminal "Baby Brother", plus "Nappy Head", "Get Down", and "There Must Be A Reason". ~ Dusty Groove


A wonderful first solo album from War – a set that has them breaking away from their early partnership with singer Eric Burdon – and finding an even better groove in the process! The vibe here is hipper, and even more righteous than before – some of those great jazz currents on flute, keyboards, and even harmonica – that sweet Lee Oskar mode that always made the group so great – set to very cool rhythms that blend together funk, Latin, and soul elements – all openly grooving here at a level that's free from some of the more hitbound modes of their biggest records. The whole thing's great, and still stunningly fresh after all these years – and titles include "Sun Oh Son", "Lonely Feelin", "Back Home", "War Drums", and "Vibeka".  ~ Dusty Groove

War became so popular on their own in later years that it's easy to forget how they first sprung onto the soul charts – here, in an album of many styles that was put together by the wayward Eric Burdon after the dissolution of The Animals! We have to admit that Burdon was a genius to hook onto the rich talents of this LA combo – even though he really didn't know what to do with them on this record. Part of the album's an homage to Roland Kirk, part is an extended reworking of "Tobacco Road", and part is an overly-long bluesy passage called "Blues For Memphis Slim". Fortunately, the record also includes the monster groover "Spill The Wine", one of the first big crossover tracks to popularize the Chicano funk sound of LA – and a great little groover that still hooks us in today.  ~ Dusty Groove


A monster from start to finish – not only the greatest album from War, but maybe one of the greatest mainstream funk albums of all time! The set's got a really unique groove – one that so many others tried to copy, but which was forged here first – in a wicked LA blend of Chicano funk, heavy organ lines, and soulful singing that sews the whole thing together perfectly. Just about every cut is upbeat and funky – rolling along at that low-rider pace that was War's lasting contribution to funk music – and the album features the huge hits "World Is A Ghetto" and "Cisco Kid", two of the brightest spots on radio funk from the 70s – plus classics like "Four Cornered Room", "City Country City", "Where Was You At", and "Beetles In The Bog". ~ Dusty Groove

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