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Eric Burdon Declares War

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 18, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Capturing the improvisational energy the band would soon become famous for, WAR's debut with Animals frontman Eric Burdon burst on the scene and on the charts with the erotic, Latin-tinged hit "Spill The Wine." For rock icon Burdon it was a dream come true, blending his powerful vocal style with a raw and creative blues band. Standout tracks include "Vision Of Rassan," "Blues For Memphis Slim," and the simmering soul revamp of John D. Loudermilk's blues classic "Tobacco Road."
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 18, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Avenue Records/ Rhino
  • ASIN: B0000032V6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,144 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kim Fletcher on May 24, 2001
Format: Audio CD
"We the people have declared war against the people for the right to love each other". Personally I prefer the second title, but then record companies can be such picky people. Eric Burdon & War was one of those unstable combinations that throws out sparks and heat even as it heads toward meltdown. Looking back it seems amazing that the team up of a British Blues / rock singer, a freaked out Danish harmonica player and an L.A. - based R & B / Jazz / Latin sextet came together at all. Their mixture of ethnic background & musical influences created a sound that was as hard to classify as exciting as it was to listen too. Eric Burden & War ran that fine line between genius & total excess as their star blazed a fluorescent trail across the musical stratosphere. The brief career only lasted two years & two albums, (1969 - 71) during this brief time together they performed with a sense of daring, risk, imagination, & adventure. "Eric Burdon declares War" was the first & most successful of the two albums, (the other "Black Man's Burdon" being released the following year) recorded after nearly a year of touring, the band went in and laid down what they were playing on stage with very little overdubs & plenty of ad-libbing. The music captures the kinetic inter play between Burdon & his band mates. Their ability to communicate with and improvise off each other gives "Declares War" its power & its glory. The tension between Burdon's unpredictable nature, War's polished instrumental skills, and Lee Oskar's reckless jamming harmonica runs through the music. Burdon was an artist with a definite message, and working with a multi-racial band was part of his statement.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I recently heard "Tobacco Road" being played at a local record store and could not believe how unbelievably funky and inspiring the tune was. I had heard the all time classic "Spill the Wine" and its definitely was of my favorite War tracks however the other songs on this album make it an all time classic War album that I think many have overlooked. "The Vision of Hassan" is not only educational and thought provoking but has a incredible piano riff that sets the stage for this great organic album obviously recorded on a whim with spontaneous conviction. "Tobacco Road" with its 14+ minutes of congo laden groove is one of the most honest funk songs I've heard and can definitely get a dance party started in the right direction. I would not hesitate to add this steller album to your collection.
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Format: Audio CD
Just goes to show you, as Sly said, "Different strokes for different folks." This review highlights the two camps that seem to respond to this album. For those who love it, well, I don't need to preach to the choir. For those who feel it rambles, reflects LSD and ego, and robs precious recording time from a first class band, I guess they have a different outlook on music.

I can't help but wonder, however, what the second camp wished the band had achieved or what standard they expected the band to measure up to. Yes, three of the four compositions originally released on "Eric Burdon Declares War" are extended performances. This seems to be the biggest rub for the album's detractors, and I can only chalk it up to personal taste.

It may sound like a cop out for me to say that. Reviews are supposed to enlighten and articulate a position rather than abandon it, right? But that's my point. I have yet to read a negative review that articulates why this recording is so disappointing other than to say the performances are extended. From there it seems to degenerate into either a dogmatic position or a personal attack. Subjective words abound such as disturbing, endless, rambling, shame, ego, hippie, rhetoric, catastrophic, pompous, long and exhaustive (to quote eleven negative comments in olofpalme63's review of a mere two paragraphs), not to mention words like LSD, druggie, psychedelic, meandering, erratic, jamming, et. al. from other reviews.

Worse yet, the positive comments contained in these negative reviews more often than not seem so off the mark that they undermine the credibility of the review. Olofpalme63's assertion that the toss-off "You're No Stranger" (dug out of the vaults for a CD bonus track) is worth the price of admission is a great example.
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Format: Audio CD
I have loved this disc ever since hearing the opening piano part on "The Vision of Rassan". What an opening! There have been very few times where the beginning of a CD commands my attention like this one does. It's interesting to hear War in their early stages and how Eric Burdon influenced their musical approach. Burdon's voice is in top form and his raspy blues tone is in full effect. His influence is apparent on songs like "Blues For Memphis Slim". Of course, "Spill The Wine" is the best known song off this one, but overall this is a great album.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard the LP from a friend who brought it back from the US just when it came out. I had to tape it asap and waited for several months until it became available in Europe. What a thrill ! Coming all together, the best blues, the best songs (and meaningful for once), the best band, the best singer ! I have many albums for which time has changed my perception, from abslute fan to reasonably enthusiastic, or less. This is (together with the following double album The Black-Man's Burdon) an abolute master piece, never fails to give me intense satisfaction and pleasure.
I also had the privilege to see them on stage in Paris in the early 70s, a 4 hours concert taking place after the "regular" show at the Olympia Theater. The musicians and the audience were so hot (and high) that the band wouldn't leave the stage. The staff cut the amps, and the concert continued for one hour all acoustic. This is also the best concert I have ever seen.
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