War were founded in 1969 in Los Angeles by Eric Burdon, and for a while they acted as his backing band. After parting company,
they became one of the most innovative funk groups in the USA (and one of the
few multi-racial groups). They were
also commercially successful, starting with Spill The Wine (1970), but
their albums offered, above all, a totally new form of dance music.
War (1971) was their artistic manifesto. Armed with an experienced
guitarist Howard Scott, bassist Morris Dickerson, drummer Harold Brown,
keyboardist Lonnie Jordan, saxophonist and flutist Charles Miller
(the original pre-Burdon quintet),
Danish-born harmonica player Lee "Oskar" Hansen (the group's main composer) and percussionist Thomas "Dee" Allen, and sharing vocal chores, War proceeded to
concoct the eight-minute blues melodrama Vibeka and the eleven-minute Cuban-tinged Fidel's Fantasy.
After a mediocre sophomore album, they struck gold with
The World Is A Ghetto (1972), that ran the gamut from
infectious dance ditties such as the languid ten-minute soul-jazz ballad The World Is A Ghetto (1972) to the 13-minute hyperkinetic proto-disco jam City Country City (1972),
released just a few months after Dibango's huge international hit Soul Makossa.
The Caribbean-tinged The Cisco Kid (1972) and especially Low Rider (1975) added a Latin touch to their progressive-funk sound.
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