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Eric Burdon and War - The Lost Broadcasts

  by Lisa Torem

published: 15 / 10 / 2011

Eric Burdon and War - The Lost Broadcasts
Label: Gonzo Multimedia
Format: DVD


Fascinating and rarely seen footage on DVD of Eric Burdon and his jazz-funk rock band War filmed in 1970 for German television

Newcastle’s Eric Burdon brought to life ‘The House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’, ‘It’s My Life’ and ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place’ while performing and recording with British Invasion group, the Animals, in the 1960s. His rebellious persona and natural stage energy juxtaposed the innocence of other groups of the time, such as Herman’s Hermits and the Beatles. After the Animals broke up, Burdon enjoyed success with ‘The New Animals’ as he jettisoned through America’s psychedelic movement throughout the mid 1960s. Towards the end of the decade, the gritty-voiced performer, joined up with the ensemble, War, after which they recorded ‘Eric Burdon Declares War’ and ‘Black Man’s Burdon.’ Two singles drawn from those works were ‘Spill the Wine’ and the Rolling Stones cover, ‘Paint It Black'. Burdon continues international touring and has become known and heralded as one of the outstanding rock vocalists of his era. 'The Lost Broadcasts' DVD, was filmed in the fall of 1970 and features four tracks. ‘Paint it Black’, ‘Spill The Wine’, John D. Loudermilk’s ‘Tobacco Road’ and ‘Bare Bach Rider.’ The first song finds the musicians engaging in ferocious, double-time rhythms courtesy of the conventional drum kit and bongos. That bongo player wore the then-fashionable, colourful African Dashiki, and the other members also sported the muttonchops and Afros so prominent in that era. ‘Paint It Black’ has a long introduction, which allows us to see Burdon thrash on a cowbell with a drumstick and for us to hear some screaming organ riffs. Burdon’s dramatic, auburn eyes flash around the studio as he stammers, “I’m talking to you…” He wears army-green shirt and signature denim. He writhes, chants, raps, “You’re my woman, I’m your man,” and scats, “You’re melting in my clothes.” A study in futuristic, improvisational liberation; Burdon was inadvertently setting the stage for both the punk movement and rap. The bongos and drums compete in a frenzied counterpoint. Then, their traded-off patterns convulse into a seamless choral uprising by the rest. This version is the side of the band fans were not privileged to hear on the airwaves; it stands at almost thirteen minutes long – though the tune moves along at a fever pitch. The entire piece explodes in jazz, funk and rock revelry as Burdon, almost reciting in tongues, serves up a dynamic rendering. ‘Spill the Wine’ has an amazing percussive build-up, as well. The remarkably, imaginative lyrics provide Burdon with a poetic field-of-dreams. “I lay there in the sun and caught it caressing my face.” “I was taken to a place – the hall of the mountain king.” A one-of-a-kind character, Burdon has the talent to make any lyric memorable, but he is wildly entertaining here as he mimes his way through the fantastical story line, and, while having a blast, exhibits superb showmanship. After a smattering of repartee amongst the band mates, ‘Tobacco Road’ convenes. Brief silhouettes come on the screen. The dark lyrics of “I was born in a filthy dump/My daddy died and my mother got drunk” set up the tale of woe. A highly-charged, blues harp vamp, a funky, electric guitar progression and subtle sax lead Burdon into another infamous rant. The camera closes in on Burdon’s expressive eyes and also takes in candid moments of virtuosic solo work by his colleagues. ‘Bare Bach Rider’, a lesser-known number, still benefits from Burdon’s penetrating pizzazz. The fact that there is no narrative and virtually no staging, makes the four tracks come alive brilliantly. As stated on the cover, these performances “have rarely been seen since their original transmission by German television.” That said, I’m glad they’re finally letting the cat out of the bag because this DVD serves as an important cultural foot note, and as an up-close expose of one of rock’s most forceful and charismatic vocalists at a particularly exciting time of his career. 'The Lost Broadcasts' is not to be missed.

Track Listing:-
1 Paint It Black
2 Spill The Wine
3 Tobacco Road
4 Bare Back Rider

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