Eric Burdon & Jimmy Witherspoon – Guilty! (1971)

FrontCover1Guilty! (called Black & White Blues in re-releases) is a 1971 album by Eric Burdon and Jimmy Witherspoon. It was the first release by Burdon after he left his band War.

In September 1970, Jimi Hendrix died after a jam session with Eric Burdon & War at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. After that, Burdon often broke down on stage. On 5 February 1971 he finally left the band in the middle of their European tour, allegedly due to exhaustion. After returning home and taking time off, the bulk of the album was recorded in summer with Witherspoon. The backing band, called Tovarish, consisted mainly of members from War.

“Going Down Slow” was recorded live in May 1971 in the San Quentin State Prison, with backing from Ike White and the San Quentin Prison Band. “Home Dream” was taken from Eric Burdon & War’s back catalog; the song’s title refers to the John Phillips Studios in Los Angeles. “Soledad” was released as a single.

The album was re-released as Black & White Blues in 1976. Remastered CD issues, also with the alternate album title, were made in 1995 by MCA and in 2003 by BMG.

SingleThe Italian e-zine Viceversa ranked Guilty! number 97 on their top 100 albums of all

This album originally came out in 1971 on Far Out Productions, an MGM label. It was titled “Guilty”. Eric Burdon of “The Animals” fame teamed up with the blues legend Jimmy Witherspoon. When I first heard this in 1971 I was blown away, and it’s still knocking me out. My favorite song is “Have Mercy Judge”. I was probably under the influence at the time but damn was that song powerful. Well I haven’t been under the influence since that time period and you know what? That song still kicks my …. The price of the cd is worth it for just that one song, but of course there is so much good music here. The band is good and the two blues men compliment each other nicely on vocals. If you like Eric, like I like Eric, you’ll say, oh my god, Have Mercy on me Eric I can’t stand it if it gets any better. Buy this cd and you’ll be driving to work in the morning singing, “Have mercy, I’m in a world of trouble, being held by the Highway Patrol”. (by elhud)

Recorded at Wally Heider’s and MGM studios in Hollywood, California through July 1971

Papa Dee Allen (congas)
Harold Brown (drums)
Eric Burdon (vocals)
B. B. Dickerson (bass)
Lonnie Jordan (keyboards)
Kim Kesterson (bass)
Bob Mercereau (harmonica)
Charles Miller (saxophone)
Lee Oskar (harmonica)
Terry Ryan (keyboards)
George Suranovich (drums)
Howard Scott (guitar)
John Sterling (guitar)
Jimmy Witherspoon (vocals)
Ike White and the San Quentin Prison Band (on 05.)

01. I’ve Been Driftin’ / Once Upon A Time (Witherspoon/Burdon) 3.47
02. Steam Roller (Taylor) 4.23
03. The Laws Must Change (Mayall) 4.55
04. Have Mercy Judge (Berry) 3.47
05. Going Down Slow (Oden) 6.25
06. Soledad (Burdon/Sterling) 5.07
07. Home Dream (Burdon) 7.18
08. Headin’ For Home (Burdon/Kesterson/Sterling) 4.33
09. The Time Has Come (Witherspoon/Edwards) 5.55


AlternateFront+BackCoverAlternate front + back cover