War: Low Rider and Cisco Kid

Low Rider, above, doesn’t start until about a minute and half into the clip. It is interesting to watch Don Cornelius hold court, however.

War has a long, complex and interesting history. Here is the beginning of AllMusic’s profile:

One of the most popular funk groups of the ’70s, War were also one of the most eclectic, freely melding soul, Latin, jazz, blues, reggae, and rock influences into an effortlessly funky whole. Although War’s lyrics were sometimes political in nature (in keeping with their racially integrated lineup), their music almost always had a sunny, laid-back vibe emblematic of their Southern California roots. War kept the groove loose, and they were given over to extended jamming — in fact, many of their studio songs were edited together out of longer improvisations. Even if the jams sometimes got indulgent, they demonstrated War’s truly group-minded approach: no one soloist or vocalist really stood above the others (even though all were clearly talented), and their grooving interplay placed War in the top echelon of funk ensembles. (Continue Reading…)

Wikipedia has more:

War (originally called Eric Burdon and War) is an American funk band from California, known for the hit songs “Low Rider”, “Spill the Wine”, “The Cisco Kid”, “The World Is a Ghetto”, and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”. Formed in 1969, War was a musical crossover band which fused elements of rock, funk, jazz, Latin, rhythm and blues, and reggae.[1] The band also transcended racial and cultural barriers with a multi-ethnic line-up. War was also subject to many line-up changes over the course of its formation, leaving member Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan as the only original member in the current line-up.

Although War’s lyrics are often socio-political in nature, their music usually had a laid-back, California funk vibe. A particular feature of War’s sound is the use of harmonica and saxophone playing melody lines in unison, sounding like a single instrument, for example in the melody of “Low Rider”. The music has been sampled and recorded by many singers and groups, ranging from R&B/pop singers such as Janet Jackson to nu metal band Korn and hip hop groups like TLC. (Continue Reading…)

Eric Burdon, who had been in The Animals, also was a member of War at one point. The band produced Spill the Wine during that partnership.

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