As we head into 1973, we first encounter an album released in late 1972 that became the #1 selling album of 1973. In an interesting fusion of soul, funk, jazz and even some psychedelic rock, the band War released an outstanding album, “The World Is a Ghetto”.
Growing up where I did, and with who I did, my exposure to black music was pretty much limited to Little Richard, Chuck Berry and some 50’s and 60’s doo-wop in my early days. That said, we had a K-Tel album that was some collection of 70’s songs, and I was first exposed to the title track of this album when I was around nine years old. Just as I do now, I absolutely loved the crunchy funk of the chorus, and this was probably the earliest seeds planted in my affection for funk music.
The album opens with the most well-known song of the album, “The Cisco Kid”, a funk jam with a western outlaw theme. The groove carries over to “Where Was You At”, which I also loved, and side one closes out with a long jam, “City, Country, City”.
Another extended jam opens the second side, also with a hint of psychedelia, “Four Cornered Room”. The title track follows, and it still is probably my favorite song on the album, even as I enjoyed these many other songs as well. On the album, it is a ten-minute extended play, much different than the compressed single I remember from my K-Tel days. The album closes out with the succinct “Beetles in the Bog”, just six songs in total, but definitely a warm groove and funky listen from beginning to end. It also received the stamp of approval from my son, who had cynically associated the band more with their shared roots with Animal vocalist Eric Burdon, and got to hear the band at their best, on their own merits.