The Black Man's Burdon
Avenue / Rhino Records, 1971
REVIEW BY: Eric E5S16
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/21/2000
Eric Burdon was most famous with his group The Animals. Burdon left the Animals at the end of the 1960s, and helped form a band named War, who would later find fame after he left. ("Cisco Kid," "The World Is A Ghetto," "Low Rider," "Why Can't We Be Friends.") Burdon & War's second album together, The Black Man's Burdon, defines rock with a mix of jazz, a sound unheard of in the music of The Animals.
Take the case of the opening track, the near-15 minute jam, "Paint It Black Medley". The Rolling Stones favorite is here; however, it is set to a latin-jazz beat, where even Carlos Santana may have recorded this song back in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Part of the medley continues the latin-jazz sound with other songs in this medley: "Laurel & Hardy / Pintello Negro / P.C. 3 / Blackbird." All in all, this song is a true great jam, much different that the Rolling Stones version.
"Spirit" combines soul with jazz. A near-10 minute jam, it also is impressive. "Beautiful New Born Child" is rock, however it doesn't catch the excitement as the first two songs; it kind of drags, being just over five minutes in length.
Another quite impressive remake is the Moody Blues' "Nights In White Satin I." It's much slower, and mysterious. It merges into the next two songs, "The Bird And The Squirrel" and "Nuts, Seeds And Life." These songs mix latin-jazz and some very impressive bass playing by B.B. Dickerson.
Like Burdon & War's previous hit from their first album, "Spill The Wine," a story is being told in "Out Of Nowhere." In it, Burdon recites how his world is seen. This song then merges into "Nights In White Satin II." So we have another very interesting medley, like the "Paint It Black Medley."
Another long-length number, the ten-minute "Sun/Moon" truly defines slow-jazz with blues. "Pretty Colors" is a groovy, snappy jazzy number. "Gun" has a tropical jazz sound, mixed with the blues, as it merges into "Jingo," another upbeat jazz/blues song.
Having a somewhat boogie-woogie John Lee Hooker/ZZ Top sound, "Bare Back Ride" gets the head a-boppin'. "Home Cookin'" is definitely rock blues with some cool harmonica, as this song could easily have been recorded by The J. Geils Band. "You Can't Take Away Our Music" is soul-inspired, as in many of the early 1970s soul artists/groups.
The Black Man's Burdon defines a different sound than what we had normally heard from Eric Burdon and The Animals. Jazz, Soul and Blues are easily mixed on this 2-CD set. Burdon & War would team up for one last album together, Love Is All Around; afterwards, War would strike out on their own, and develop their own soul sound, and become just as popular as the many groups of the 1970s. This was the beginning roots of War, and with a veteran blues singer such as Eric Burdon, it was a great start.