May 11th, 2007
As a child of the seventies I remember the funky grooves of War streaming out of my transistor radio as I cruised up and down my block on my bike looking for something to do. The DVD Loose Grooves: Funkin’ Live in England 1980 reminded me of those long hot summer days and nights.
The foundation of War began in 1962 when Howard Scott and Harold Brown formed the group the Creators. By 1968 the band had grown and changed their name to Nightshift. War was the brainchild of producer Jerry Goldstein and Eric Burdon (former lead singer of the British band The Animals), who came up with the concept of using a predominantly black funk group as a back-up band for Burdon after seeing Nightshift perform in a L.A. club. Burdon was so impressed with the band that he jumped up on stage and jammed the night away. Within a week the newly formed band “War” was in the studio. In 1969 they recorded their first album, Eric Burdon Declares “WAR,” which included the instant hit “Spill the Wine.” In 1971, shortly after the release of their second album The Black-Man’s Burdon, Burdon left the group in the middle of a European tour. War pulled it together and finished the tour without their lead singer, then went on to crank out hit after hit—releasing of total of 28 albums.
The Loose Grooves footage comes from the post-Burdon era and was filmed during a 1980 UK promotional tour for the album The Music Band 2. It features classic hits, such as a spicy version of “Spill the Wine” that seamlessly moves into the soulful “All Day Music,” highlighting War’s candid improvisational ability. Another notable pairing featuring Lee Oskar’s distinct harmonica playing is the iconic car culture classic “Low Rider” with the outlaw epic “Cisco Kid.” The show concludes with a smoking “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” a song that signifies the themes of brotherhood and harmony that are prevalent throughout War’s catalogue.
Loose Grooves is 57 minutes of rock, R&B, jazz, funk, and Latin fusion that showcases the cohesion of War’s live performance. This is a must see for any War fan.
Posted by Heather O’Sullivan