Eric Burdon & War – Paint It Black Medley

24th February 2022 · 1970, 1970s, Funk, Music, Soul

Geordie soul boy Eric Burdon teamed up with California funksters War to make this idiosyncratic cover of a Rolling Stones song.

Today, as Russian tanks roll into the Ukraine, seems an apt day to post a tune by a band called War.

 Not only did they brew up a steamy soul fusion but their avowed goal was to spread a message of brotherhood and harmony – “and promote hope and the spirit of brotherhood.”

The singer with the rasping soul voice is Eric Burdon, the white Newcastle-born former singer who teamed up with a black funk and soul band from Long Beach, California after leaving his group, The Animals.

They made a couple of excellent albums together, both with even better titles, at least for those of us who enjoy a pun – Eric Burdon Declares “War” and The Black Man’s Burdon.

This comes from the latter, a sprawling 90-minute double-album blending soul, psychedelia and Latin rhythms and reminds us that Burdon was not just a great blue-eyed soul singer but a great soul singer, full stop.

The Black Man’s Burdon opens with this extraordinary 13-minute medley that contains, in the middle, a cover of the Stones’ song Paint It Black.

It includes an extraordinary, and wildly unexpected, spoken-word section in which someone, presumably Burdon, puts on alternately a Cockney accent and a “posh” English one, making remarks about the Queen that are simply too rude to repeat here in her Platinum Jubilee year. I kid you not.

It’s around the seven-minute mark for anyone who can’t be bothered to listen to the whole thing. I’m surprised Burdon wasn’t tried for treason and sent to the Tower.