Wednesday, December 23, 2009

449. The World is a Ghetto- Make Love not War.

Album: The World is a Ghetto.

Artist: War.

Year: 1972

Genre: Funk.


  1. The Cisco Kid
  2. Where Was You At
  3. City, Country, City
  4. Four Cornered Room
  5. The World is a Ghetto
  6. Beetles in the Bog

If you’re going to take anything away from this album it will be the knowledge that the members of War used to have a close personal bond with someone named the Cisco kid. You will remember this information because the line “The Cisco kid he was a friend of mine” is repeated constantly throughout the album’s first track. In fact it’s almost the only lyric. Apparently this song was released as the album’s single which I find astounding because I got really sick of it after half it’s running length. If I heard it on the radio it would have me changing stations straight away. Frustratingly The Cisco kid appears to have grown into the Cisco Adult and he now makes computer network equipment which means my work place features the word Cisco quite prominently on a lot of our hardware, causing me to get this song stuck in my head several times a day.

The good news is that the album picks up dramatically from that point onwards. War have a great groove going and while they’re not exactly funk and not quite jazz and not really rock they clearly don’t care either way they’re just happy to play music and let music store owners worry about which category to put them in. There are loads of instruments, multiple percussionists, backing vocals and so much going on that it sounds like one of those albums that wasn’t made by a band in a studio as much as it was self-generated by a great party moved by a communal groove.

The highlight of the release is a song called City, Country, City which is a 13 minute instrumental and closes out the first side. It starts off with the casual saunter of a song that knows it’s got almost a quarter of an hour to play with so isn’t in any kind of rush. For a while it uses two contrasting music themes which are presumably supposed to represent the City and the Country. These motifs compete with each other throughout the song’s opening to represent the difference between life in the farmland and life in the big smoke. The rural setting is represented by a muted trumpet that sounds exactly like the one from the Sesame Street theme which plays a fairly tedious refrain over and over. The urban soundscape features a wailing sax with what sounds like an entire apartment block of percussionists grooving away in the background. Thankfully by about the three minute mark the urban sprawl has overtaken the pastureland and most of the rest of the track boogies and cooks making it clear exactly where the members of the band want to spend their time. When the sax gives way to a very funky organ you know that all the musicians in War (along with their good friend Cisco) prefer to hang out in the city where the action is. This is tasty stuff and couldn’t be more different to the album’s opening.

Sadly the record sort of drifts away on side two. It never dips as low as the opening track but it never reaches the highs of City, Country, City either. It’s like the interesting people left the party at the end of side one and the rest of the album was made by the people who didn’t know when to leave. It’s okay stuff but nothing to write home about.

Highlight: The city part of City, Country, City.

Lowlight: The Cisco kid is definitely no friend of mine.

Influenced by: James Brown, Miles Davis.

Influenced: Funk.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Qoute: "If you like music that is a good backdrop for a party or just hanging around the house or better yet washing the car this is a cd that will fill the bill.enjoy!"

-I love the ascending scale of appropriateness- it's good for raving... no wait, it's better for relaxing... no scrap that it's perfect for heavy domestic chores!

So Are you happy to declare war or would you rather negotiate a cease fire? Let me know below.

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