Simply put, this box includes eight studio albums by War
, the stellar Southern California unit that had been together in one form or another -- and with different names and personnel -- since 1962, though they didn't begin recording until 1970 as Eric Burdon
's backing band. While Burdon
moved on, predictably, the unit, enhanced by the Danish born harmonica player Lee Oskar
, embarked on a string of recordings beginning with their self-titled album in 1971, followed by a most impressive run throughout most of the '70s, when the band dropped only the self-titled offering, but also revealed the genius that became All Day Music
, The World Is a Ghetto
, Deliver the Word
, Why Can't We Be Friends?
, and Platinum Jazz
. Along with Mandrill
ushered in a near perfect meld of funk, jazz, Latin rhythms, soul, gospel, and rock, played with virtuosity and requisite passion.
This Rhino set -- first released in 1994 -- collects the aforementioned albums plus 1982's big-selling Outlaw
that featured the title track and "Cinco de Mayo," and 1994's reunion album Peace Sign
, that included the singles "I'm the One (Who Understands)," and "East L.A.," in addition to the title cut. Rhino has remastered all of the original albums, though there is no extra material on any of the discs; however, they don't need any. As self-contained albums go, most of these were perfect. While the live album is also missing here, it is basically superfluous and should be heard on its own. The box is handsome, yet is has no liner notes and all of these albums are available individually, so it's difficult to know who this set will appeal to -- better a box set of LPs should have been issued. The music, however, remains the focus and for that reason alone this can't be beat.