War - Greatest Hits Live CD Review (Avenue Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, November 29, 2008

War - Greatest Hits Live CD Review (Avenue Records)

Download War - Live Medley (MP3)
War - Greatest Hits Live CD ReviewWar's Greatest Hits Live is the band's first release in over a decade and it is a strong and welcome return. Since the band's last release (1994's Peace Sign), Harold Brown and Howard Scott have departed but the current lineup of War sounds in excellent form. This show was recorded in front of an enthusiastic audience at the end of 2007 at The Grove in Anaheim. The 2CD set runs for just over two hours and band leader Lonnie Jordan takes the band through some of their best loved hits.

Next year will mark the band’s 40th year and Lonnie Jordan acknowledges that the demand for a live album from War has fervently existed for many years. Jordan remarks, “The performance in this package shows that War is still going strong. We’ve never broken up,” he says. “We now have several generations of fans, and we’re very proud of that.

This set contains everything that you would expect from a War concert - the band seamlessly combines elements of rock, funk, jazz, latin, R&B and reggae. Additionally, War hasn't lost the loose free-form spirit that marked some of the band's releases in the 70's. There is some great funk-rock jamming in "Galaxy" and the instrumental "City Country City" is an audio pleasure.

The set starts with the gritty "The World Is A Ghetto" and the tracks on disc one range from the urban groove of "Slippin' Into Darkness" to Lonnie's take on "Spill The Wine" (which is preceeded by an amusing story about a destroyed studio console) to the mellower side of the the band ("Ballero" and "So").

Switching over to Disc 2, these are the songs that got the crowd on its feet when War played B.B. King's last month. The disc starts with "Gypsy Man" from 1973's Deliver the World LP and goes from there into "The Cisco Kid", "Me and Baby Brother" and "Why Can't We Be Friends". The band closes the set with a 30 minute "Lowrider" medley that includes segments of "Sunshine of Your Love" (Cream), "Iron Man" (Black Sabbath) and "I Wanna Take You Higher" (Sly and the Family Stone).

This is a great set from a band that has continued to stay relevant over the years.

It doesn't sound like it we will have to wait another 10 years for War's next release as I had the chance to talk with Lonnie Jordan ( see previous post for text of the interview) a few days after the B.B. King's show and he shared that the band will be going into the studio next Spring to start working on a new studio album.

War's Website