WAR — Eric Burdon Declares "War" (review)

WAR — Eric Burdon Declares Album · 1970 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Sean Trane
As the Animals fans knew, Burdon became more and more unpredictable as a frontman , and in the last version of the group EB And The New Animals, Burdon’s vocals and voice was bringing much drama (Sky Pilot, per ex) and unpredictability that even the studio albums were losing focus, with extended tracks. Looking for another project, Burdon’s meeting with War was such an instant success and the group and singer got along so well that they toured for almost a year before sitting in the studio for an album. although the album was sold under the name Eric Burdon And War, this is was more than just EB and the old Creators/Nightshift group meeting, as Burdon brought a Danish musician Lee Oskar (harmonica and percussion) into the fold as well and he would stay with the group once Burdon quit.

Sooo the debut album was recorded in early 70 in Frisco and superbly named Eric Burdon Declares War in a pacifist world of hippy culture with that very evocative and anti-racist double arm artwork and the “crammed-in” WAR band logo. The album starts at full steam with the delightful fusion-piece of Vision Of Rassan (dedicated to Roland Kirk) mid-section with a soul-rock star, veering into a full-brass and quietly dying its death. The following epic blues Tobacco Road track is an upbeat blues-track, but the group goes into improv mode and Burdon would rant and plead to goddesses and other deliriums.

The flipside opens on the spine-chilling Spill the Wine (AKA Do I Dig That Girl), the group’s first claim to fame. Burdon daydreams about women while the group smokes in Latin-style funk…. This is hot stuff, guys. After such a powerful track, WAR heads for an epic 19-mins Blues for Memphis Slim with so much place for instrumental interplay that it could also qualify as progressive blues with Burdon ranting about sex and death to mock Morrison. A short piano-dominated No Stranger ends the album in a Latin-fashion, but it doesn’t have the power of the rest of the album.

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