“In which Nina Simone proves the experts wrong. The Bee Gees peaked long before all that disco foo-furrah of the later mid-70s, probably in 1967 with To Love Somebody which may just be the greatest song of unrequited love ever written, the proof being in the covers, everybody from the Flying Burrito Brothers to Michael Bolton to the Chambers Brothers to Billy Corgan, Roberta Flack, Michael Buble, Janis Joplin, Eric Burdon taking a swing at it … but nobody ever owned it like Ms. Simone, whose pumped up 1969 take removes all adornments, just tells it like it is-was-will-always-be. I lost somebody. I’m broken. I don’t think I’ll ever be fixed. At least I still believe in my soul.” (Philip Random)
War being one of those bands who sounded like no other, All Day Music (their second album without former front man Eric Burdon) being pumped full of the sort of grooves and melodies that could warm up any day. With Nappy Head a most effective re-purposing of the groove from big deal Burdon driven novelty hit Spill the Wine. The fun but silly story gets dumped. The music has room to truly breathe.
“In which Jello Biafra hooks up with Vancouver’s own DOA to deliver a surprisingly faithful cover of one of the essential Rock Anthems (speaking of Eric Burdon). Maybe the essential rock anthem. I think I heard Bruce Springsteen say that once. This situation’s killing me. Might be school, might be a job, might be prison, a bad relationship, your family, your own asshole. Doesn’t matter where you are, there’s only one way to go, and that’s OUT. With a vengeance.” (Philip Random)
“I discovered Eric Burdon + The Animals‘ entirely OK take on Johnny Clash’s classic at least thirty years after the fact. But man, if the timing wasn’t perfect. Mid-1990s. Drinking too much, drugging too much, stumbling through some mid-life blues, it seems I was falling into my own ring of non-heavenly fire. But suddenly there was Mr. Burdon to not so much catch me as welcome me, sounding like a Tom Jones that was actually cool and experienced enough to get what the crazy psychedelic ’60s thing was all about – something to do with saving the entire universe by letting one’s freak flag fly, even if that meant going personally to hell in process. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” (Philip Random)
This one’s from the second and last album Eric Burdon recorded with War, and a sprawling four-sided epic it was. But Mr. Burdon, who’d lived the 1960s the way you were supposed to (ie: beyond the limit), just wasn’t up to it. He crashed and burned one night on stage and showbiz being showbiz, War carried on without him, because they were really just getting started, like a beautiful new born child.