‘The World Is A Ghetto’ was War’s third and most successful album, shooting straight to number one and according to Billboard was 1973’s best-selling album.
Written by: Eric
ALBUM: The World Is A Ghetto
LABEL: United Artists
SERIAL: UAS-5652 (USA), United Artists (UK), UAS 29400
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Howard Scott – guitar, percussion, vocals * B.B. Dickerson – bass, percussion, vocals * Lonnie Jordan – organ, piano, timbales, percussion, vocals * Harold Brown – drums, percussion, vocals * Papa Dee Allen – conga, bongos, percussion, vocals * Charles Miller – clarinet, alto, tenor & baritone sax, percussion, vocals * Lee Oskar – harmonica, percussion, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 The Cisco Kid * 02 Where Was You At * 03 City, Country, City * 04 Four Cornered Room * 05 The World Is A Ghetto * 06 Beetles In The Bog
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Like many of us here at Glory Daze I love good 70’s soul although when all is said and done its psychedelic soul that holds the most interest for this reviewer. Traced back to the early Sly & the Family Stone albums, the movement was small but no less important.
Key LP’s include Rotary Connection‘s stunning ‘Song’, the Isaac Hayes 1969 masterpiece ‘Hot Buttered Soul’, Funkadelic‘s wild ‘Maggot Brain’, ‘What’s Goin’ On’ from Marvin Gaye and the subject at hand ‘The World Is A Ghetto’ by War.
Originally called Eric Burdon & War featuring the former Animals vocalist, the band scored a major hit in 1970 with ‘Spill The Wine’ although Burdon left after just a couple albums.
‘The World Is A Ghetto’ was the band’s third album as War and their most successful, shooting straight to number one on the US charts and according to Billboard was 1973’s best-selling album.
Buoyed by the top ten hit ‘Cisco Kid’, it’s the type of song the band excelled at. From its beginnings War wrote music about Los Angeles. Its diversity, poverty and yes racism although unlike the hip-hop ‘artists’ of today many of whom spew sexism, murder and anti-establishment (i.e. white) garbage, War took a more tempered approach, bringing listeners together instead of pulling them apart.
Their street-savvy music mixed elements of jazz, Latin and rock and they played in front of both black and white audiences. In fact a tour in early 1973 backed country-bumpkin blues guitarist Elvin Bishop, I wonder how they went over?
Comparisons to both the progressives sides of Chicago and Santana are easy to spot especially on the wonderful 13 minute ‘City, Country, City’ which moves effortlessly between soft jazzy excursions and all out rocked-up fusion. The title track which was also a top 10 hit, is a masterpiece of R&B with its funky guitar, gritty sax and powerful lyrics.
War continued to have chart successes with ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’, ‘Low Rider’ and 1976’s charmer ‘Summer’. They remained a strong live act but the hits stopped coming as the 70’s wound down despite releasing decent albums well into the next decade until sadly folding in 1988 when percussionist Papa Dee Allen died on stage of a heart attack.
War resurfaced in 2014 with the half studio, half Greatest Hits package ‘Evolutionary’ although the new line-up includes just one original member.