Eric Burdon & War – The Black-Man’s Burdon (1970)

FrontCover1The Black-Man’s Burdon is a double LP by funk band Eric Burdon and War, released in December 1970 on MGM Records. It was the second of two albums by the group before Burdon left and the remaining band continued as War.

The title is a pun on The Black Man’s Burden, an expression which refers to black slavery, used as the title of a book by E. D. Morel (1920) in response to the poem, “The White Man’s Burden” (1899) by Rudyard Kipling, which refers to (and champions) American imperialism (including its history of slavery).

The album includes two suites based on cover versions of songs by other artists: “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones, and “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues, augmented by additional sections composed by the group. (Two similar suites appeared on the group’s first album.) The extra material is mostly instrumental, except for “P.C. 3” (P.C. referring to Police Constable, a common abbreviation used in the United Kingdom), a risqué poem recited (and probably written) by Burdon over the music. Two other songs include a children’s chorus credited as Sharon Scott and the Beautiful New Born Children of Southern California.

One single from the album was released: “They Can’t Take Away Our Music” backed with “Home Cookin'”.

EricBurdon+War_01The album is also notable for its risqué cover art. While the front cover merely shows a black man in silhouette, the back cover shows Burdon and a woman in a suggestive pose: the woman sitting on a wall with her legs spread far apart, and Burdon (shirtless) resting the back of his head against her pelvis and gripping her ankles. The gatefold photo consists of the group (mostly shirtless) in a field with two nude women lying in the grass.

The album also came with a numbered 7–inch by 3–inch “war bond” entitling the bearer to $1 off the admission of any War concert. (by wikipedia)

SingleEric Burdon’s second and final album with War, Black-Man’s Burdon was a double set that could have benefited from quite a bit of judicious editing. Composed mostly of sprawling psychedelic funk jams, it does find War mapping out much of the jazz/Latin/soul grooves that, cut down to much more economical song structures, would shortly bring them success on their own. Highlights include the soulful vamps “Pretty Colors” and “They Can’t Take Away Our Music”; the 13-minute “Paint It Black” medley reflects the height of their eccentricity, and not one, but two covers of “Nights in White Satin” are absurd low points. (by Richie Unterberger)

Dee Allen (conga, percussion, vocals)
Harold Brown (drums)
Eric Burdon (vocals)
B.B. Dickerson (bass, vocals (bass misprinted as “brass” on cover)
Lonnie Jordan (keyboards, vocals)
Charles Miller (saxophone, flute)
Lee Oskar (harmonica, vocals)
Howard Scott (guitar, vocals)
Sharon Scott and the Beautiful New Born Children of Southern California (vocals on 03. + 15.)

01. Paint It Black (Medley)” – 13:34
01.1. Black On Black In Black (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 2.05
01.2. Paint It Black I (Jagger/Richards) 2.05
01.3. Laurel And Hardy (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 1.30
01.4. Pintelo Negro II (Jagger/Richards) 1.05
01.5. P.C. 3 (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 1.30
01.6. Black Bird (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott)2.17
01.7. Paint It Black III (Jagger/Richards) 3.02
02. Spirit (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 8.38
03. Beautiful New Born Child ((Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott/Goldstein) – 5:07
04. Nights In White Satin (Hayward) 4.28
05. The Bird And The Squirrel (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 2.43
06. Nuts, Seeds And Life (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 4.01
07. Out Of Nowhere (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 3.22
08. Nights In White Satin (Hayward) 2.51
09. Sun / Moon (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 10.04
10. Pretty Colors (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 6.52
11. Gun (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 5.44
12. Jimbo (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 4.50
13. Bare Back Ride (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 7.07
14. Home Cookin’ (Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott) 4.10
15. They Can’t Take Away Our Music ((Allen/Brown/Burdon/Dickerson(Jordan/Miller/Oskar/Scott/Goldstein) 6.45