1971 was a defining year for the funk-rock band War. After parting ways with Eric Burdon (who sang the lead on their first big hit "Spill The Wine"), the band had proved they could survive without Burdon on their self-titled second release. However, the album was hardly a breakthrough. War needed a hit - bad.
With their third release
All Day Music, War got exactly what they needed - and though
there are some moments where this album shows how good this group
of musicians could be, it also shows it hasn't held up well to the
stress of time.
The title track turned out to be more prophetic than people might know - the song was actually a portion of an extended jam that Howard Scott and crew had found themselves locked in. The light, airy feeling of the track almost makes the listener feel like they're sitting on the steps of their house feeling a cool breeze. The vocal harmonies of the band, combined with the slightly Latin flavor of the track, seal the deal for War.
But not all is lemonade and cookies for War, as the track "Get Down" proves; with controlled diatribes against the political scene of the time and against the police, "Get Down" was an angry track in 1971. But in 1998, the anger just isn't as strong, never mind the fact that many of the issues War rallied against in the song still exist.
Of the remaining tracks, "Slippin' Into Darkness" is probably the best-known song - for it was the one that broke War as a band to watch. Basically working around one riff with an occasional bridge, the song is deceptively complicated, and remains an interesting track to check out even today. The Latin flavor and bounciness of "Nappy Head (Theme From Ghetto Man)" is a fun track with a catchy beat, even if there's not much musical or lyrical development.
A brief dip into soul ("That's What Love Will Do") and r&b ("Baby Brother") help round out All Day Music, but they don't particularly stand out on the album. Again, the passage of time could be to blame here, for the tunes do sound a bit antiquated. Not that they're bad, they're just a bit dusty.
All Day Music is the kind of album that is an enjoyable occasional listen - I dig it out of the Pierce Archives when I feel I need to clean out the pipes a bit. A short album which clocks in at under 40 minutes, it's not a bad effort - and when listening to it, one can understand why this release was big for War in 1971. But it's not completely relevant today, and has failed to keep up with the natural progression of this particular musical genre.
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