WAR — Deliver the Word (review)

WAR — Deliver the Word album cover Album · 1973 · Latin Rock/Soul Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Sean Trane
After confirming their superstar status, War was now on a roll and even started free-wheeling it a bit, starting with their fourth Burdon-less album and their sixth over-all (my version). The pressure to top Ghetto was enormous and the album was a difficult one to come out (their version). In either case DTW was another huge success, but the group was starting to rehash their same old ways and it felt like it sales-wise, despite still very healthy figures. With an over-ambitious album title and an adapted artwork, the septet, still unchanged in its line-up, one can feel the inspirations and ideas are somewhat less numerous than previous and finding different location for recording wasn’t changing much. Indeed this was recorded partly in Colorado instead of Frisco and LA.

Opening on the jazzy upbeat piano and flute instrumental H2 Overture, the track is very unfortunately marred by a cheesy overlong and over-arranged (strings) intro, that same motif that intrudes later on in the mid-section and serves as outro as well. The following In Your eyes has got Bossa Nova roots, but manages to disguise them quite well behind the usual vocal harmonies. This is about as much novelty the group managed on DTW, but you won’t catch saying it was successful. Out comes the 11-mins+ Gypsy Man, easily the album’s best track with an up-tempo beat underlined by droning harmonicas and twirled around by a cello, the track features some killer joint vocals lines that brings again much goose bumps all over you. An awesome track that got edited to make another massive War hit. It became alive favourite and was autobiographical (their nomad lifestyles) and it first started as a would-be campfire song.

The flipside opens on a rework of a track already released (but live) in the ADM album, Me & My Baby Brother, but this time much funky-fied and it became another hit, but there isn’t much for progheads in that one. The title track brings us back to Ghetto’s Four Cornered Room, although without benefiting from that track’s aura. Good but not great and sometimes the brass arrangements are soppy or kitsch and overstaying its welcome a bit. Southern Part Of Texas is a funky track that echoes Slipping Into Darkness and anticipates/foresees Low Rider. Good stuff but heard elsewhere. Blisters is an old Delta blues track that is next to insignificant if it wasn’t for Lee Oskar’s harmonica.

In some ways, DTW was unable to continue their musical innovations, so they started repeating what they’d done before, and while still good to excellent, it was also the beginning of the end… Released in the summer of 73, the group would skip their annual studio visit the following year to release a double live album and by spring of 75, the group’s following album presented a very different facet of the group, despite clinching another two mega-hits

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