Posts Tagged ‘funk’

War Newcastle City Hall 14th June 1976

War Newcastle City Hall 14th June 1976
Support from Moon
I was aware of War through their association with the great Eric Burdon. They are an American funk rock band from California, known for their hit songs “Low Rider” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”. War’s music fuses elements of rock, funk, jazz, Latin, rhythm and blues, and reggae. The band are also known for breaking down racial and cultural barriers with their multi-ethnic line-up. As their name suggests, there was a serious political and cultural context to the band concept and War’s lyrics were often socio-political in nature.
“The year was 1969, and these ‘kids’ had the nerve to carry the name WAR at a time when peace was the slogan in an anti-Vietnam America. “Our mission was to spread a message of brotherhood and harmony”.
“Our instruments and voices became our weapons of choice and the songs our ammunition. We spoke out against racism, hunger, gangs, crimes, and turf wars, as we embraced all people with hope and the spirit of brotherhood. It’s just as apropos today” “Eric was ready to throw in the towel on the music scene and return to Newcastle. He was tired of the ‘rock’ thing and desperate for a fresh authentic sound….Eric was so blown away by what he had heard that he jumped on stage to jam with them.” WAR from the beginning was a concept & musical laboratory.” (from the official War site).
The City Hall was far from full for this concert, which was a shame because it was a great performance from a band who are now legends. I don’t pretend to be a massive fan of jazz funk, but I really enjoyed the concert. I remember them playing ‘Lone Rider’, ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends’ and ‘Me And Baby Brother’, which was a single at the time.
The line up of War at the time was Howard E. Scott (guitar and vocals); Lee Oskar (harmonica and vocals); Thomas “Papa Dee” Allen (percussion and vocals; Charles Miller (saxophone and vocals); B.B. Dickerson (bass and vocals); Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan (keyboards, vocals); Harold Ray Brown (drums and vocals).
Lennie Jordan continues to front War and a few years ago he reunited with Eric Burdon for a concert at the Albert Hall.

The Brothers Johnson Newcastle Poly 30 September 1977

The Brothers Johnson Newcastle Poly 30 September 1977
A few of my friends were heavily into disco and funk in the mid to late 70s. Not being one to frequent the dance floors myself, I never quite got into that particular genre of music. However Marie and I regularly went to the Friday night dances at Newcastle Poly around that period, and saw many great bands there such as The Clash, The Damned, Taking Heads and others. So we were there when The Brothers Johnson played, along with some friends who had come specially to see them. This was the first night of their first UK tour, and by this time they had reached almost legendary status as a result of their work with Bobby Womack, Billy Preston and Quincy Jones. I remember that they arrived very late for the gig. They had flown in via London, I think, and had been delayed. However they did arrive and play a shortened set, which went down with a packed crowd which was a mix of the usual Friday night students, and soul and disco aficionados who had come especially for the occasion.

Average White Band in concert 1976 and 1980

Average White Band 1976 and 1980
PIck Up The Pieces! The Average White Band were great favourites of some of my mates in the 70s. Their blend of funk and rock would fill the dance floor in discos. I saw them in concert a couple of times, at Newcastle City Hall in 1976 and again in 1980. I remember that as a tight rock/jazz outfit, great at what they did, but to be honest they were never really by cup of tea. I went to see them along with friends who were more into them than me. The Average White Band split up in 1982 but regrouped after some years and are still playing today. They played recently at the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall as part of the Celtic Connections festival. Looking back through the programmes, which are pictured here, from those gigs did bring back some memories. The support act on one of those tours, I owuld think 1976, was Kokomo. Now there was a band, who are all but forgotten now, and much under-rated. Their blend of soul and funk was much more to my liking. Kokomo drew its musicians from a number of UK bands including The Grease Band, Arrival, and King Crimson. I recall seeing Kokomo quite a few times: a great gig in Newcastle Poly and at the Reading Festival, but can’t recall any of their songs. I must try and find one of their lps.Bands like Average White Band and Kokomo represent a particular time and period to me; in fact I’d almost forgotten them. I’m finding the exercise of working through my programme and ticket collection very interesting. Its bringing back old memories, and reminding me of bands and times that I had forgotten. Its taking longer than I thought, however; I’m working through them, at least in part, alphabetically, and I haven’t yet completed the letter A…..