© 2020 MJ Ostrander
With the political train wreck many of us had this week, a week that is ending for me with a snowstorm making the mountains invisible, I long for Spring. I want to escape up the currently impassable, hairpin roads under the deceivably warm Colorado sun to the high passes. I want sunglasses and sandals, horsepower and hops, wind and wildlife. Up in the elevations, funk may not seem the likely genre of choice, and eventually we’ll stop in some mountain town where folk and mountain music rule, but when I’m driving, I want cruising music.
War fits the bill. From 1963 through the late 1970’s the band enjoyed a string of hits, and until 1970 they were known as Eric Burdon and War. Following Burdon’s departure, success was elusive for War until 1971’s All Day Music and its hit Slippin’ Into Darkness which sold in excess of one million copies and earned a gold record. The funk kept rolling with the 1972 release of The World is A Ghetto, which grabbed Billboard Magazine’s album of the year. Ghetto also produced Cisco Kid which shipped gold.
1973 brought Deliver the Word with two hits and the same held true for 1975’s Why Can’t We Be Friends and its iconic single Low Rider. A greatest hits album released in 1976 contained one new tune, Summer, that peaked at seven on Billboard’s chart. The seventies and eighties saw a band in decline with the departure of B.B. Dickerson, the murder of saxophonist Charles Miller in 1980 and Papa Dee Allen in 1988 when a brain aneurism struck him while on stage.
War was a nominee for induction into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. In June of 1995, the sad word went out that War was listed among many artists whose material was destroyed in the fire at Universal Studios in 2008.
I’ll have to wait for April or May until I can escape the crush of Denver for the high places. Until then, I have this friend named Cisco…