Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Eric Burdon & War - Love Is All Around

An odd collection of live tracks and what sound like cuts from the two Eric Burdon and War albums released at the turn of the '70s, 1976's LOVE IS ALL AROUND was probably a contractual obligation album. That said, it's a pretty terrific collection of long, loose War jams, which sound marvelous. Limber rhythms and dead-on horn and harmonica accents made this L.A. band one of the premier funk outfits of the '70s. Unfortunately, as was usually the case with Eric Burdon and War, their free-flowing funkiness and his more constricted, blues-based singing style don't always mesh as well as they might, as on the slightly awkward verses of the title track. But when War opens up and lets loose, it's hard to imagine a better band. -

The album opens with a funky (War exists, of course, as one of the most naturally funky collections of instrumental artists on the planet) rock track originally laid down in 1970, 'Love Is All Around'... not to be confused with the 1960's Troggs hit that prevented the latter from being a one-trick pony. Two other tracks are also drawn from 1970, 'Magic Mountain', which premiered as the flip side of the band's sole hit single, 'Spill the Wine', which rose to #3 on the national charts in July of that year. It's also one of the more interesting tracks, producing a unique psychedelic sound by mixing slow-tempo horns with a fast tempo piano melody and rhythm track. The lyrics continue 'Spill the Wine's' theme, offering such high-minded considerations as, "We're goin' high, high, high... never comin' down". 'A Day In the Life' follows, a daring eleven minute plus cover of The Beatle's epic finish to their most epic album. An organ replaces the piano foundation for the song, and while some horn and electric lead guitar add some unique flourishes, the song comes off a bit "lounge-y" in comparison to the original. A studio version of the cover is also offered on 'Black Man's Burdon'. The closing track, a ten minute plus rendition of The Rolling Stone's 'Paint It Black' comes off much stronger, featuring a driving beat, an unbelievably rocking bridge, and those familiar lyrics over an unfamiliar instrumental construct. The track was recorded live in 1969 in L.A., and offers an interesting contrast to versions by The Stones and West, Bruce and Laing. Two other tracks sum up the disc, a six and one-half minute take on the oft-covered classic 'Tobacco Road', given (of course) a funk/jazz treatment, and an eleven minute plus, Eric Burdon composed blues track titled 'Home Dream', spiced up with a jazzy sax and conga bridge. - by Don Schmittdiel,

Artist: Eric Burdon & War
Album: Love Is All Around
Year: 1976 (recorded 1969-1970)
Label: Avenue Records (1993)
Runtime: 43:46

1.  Love Is All Around (Papa Dee Allen/Harold Brown/B.B. Dickerson/Lonnie Jordan/Charles Miller/Howard Scott) 4:14
2.  Tobacco Road (John D. Loudermilk) 6:36
3.  Home Dream (Eric Burdon) 7:15
4.  Magic Mountain (Papa Dee Allen/Harold Brown/B.B. Dickerson/Lonnie Jordan/Charles Miller/Howard Scott) 4:22
5.  A Day In The Life (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) 11:06
6.  Medley: Paint It Black - Black On Black In Black - Paint It Black - Laurel & Hardy - Black Bird (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) 10:10

Eric Burdon (Vocals, Percussion)
Papa Dee Allen (Conga, Bongos, Percussion, Backing Vocals)
Harold Brown (Drums, Percussion,Backing Vocals)
B.B. Dickerson (Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals)
Lonnie Jordan (Organ, Piano, Backing Vocals)
Charles Miller (Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Alto Saxophones, Percussion, Flute, Backing Vocals)
Howard Scott (Guitar, Backing Vocals)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Eddie Harris - E.H. In The U.K.

Following the hip strategy of the time, Eddie Harris flew to London to mix it up with some of Britain's most in-demand rockers -- including guitarists Jeff Beck and Albert Lee, pianist Stevie Winwood and drummer Alan White -- on this LP. Truthfully, though, most of the results aren't too different from what Harris had been recording at home at the time, with only a hint of a rock edge. If anything, the workmanlike Brits are too much on their best behavior -- Beck plays with restraint and taste while Lee is jazzier and a bit flashier -- making Harris seem like a wild man by comparison. The most entertaining tune is an EH-patented funkster "Wait a Little Longer," which develops a head of steam and escalates into a freeform brawl, but the designated free workout "Conversations of Everything and Nothing," give or take a few stimulating passages, wanders uncontrollably. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Eddie Harris
Album. E.H. in the U.K.
Year: 1973
Label: Atlantic Records (24bit remastered, 2013)
Runtime: 43:17

1.  Baby (Eddie Harris) 6:45
2.  Wait A Little Longer (Eddie Harris) 4:12
3.  He's Island Man (Eddie Harris) 2:25
4.  I've Tried Everything (Eddie Harris) 8:13
5.  I Waited For You (Charles Stepney) 5:48
6.  Conversations Of Everything And Nothing (Eddie Harris) 15:54

Eddie Harris (Electric Saxophone, Electric Trumpet, Vocals, Piano)
Albert Lee (Guitar)
Alan White (Drums) - 1,2,5,6
Stevie Winwood (Electric Piano) - 3-6
Raymond Burrell (Bass Guitar) - 1-3
Zoot Money (Piano, Electric Piano) - 1,2
Neil Hubbard (Guitar) - 1,2
Lofty Amao (Congas) - 3,4
Ian Pace (Drums) - 3,4
Jeff Beck (Guitar) - 3,4
Rick Grech (Bass Guitar) - 4
Chris Squire (Bass Guitar) - 5,6
Tony Kaye (Synthesizer) - 5,6


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