1972, Music

The World is a Ghetto (1972) by WAR

All I knew of this band was “Low Rider” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”. Despite the evident commercial success of this record I had never even heard the title track or the successful single from this record. I had literally no idea what I was getting into.

But this is great stuff: the majority of the record is taken by these repetitive funk jams with more of a Latin feel than the funk I’m used to. This helps distinguish it from a lot of contemporary funk. Also, the size of the band (a septet) also makes for a big sound which, personally, I rather enjoy in this style of music. Even the shorter tracks have enough of this feel to be compelling.

There’s one track which is an exception to the funk; the last song is a lot more traditional but they still manage to make it work. It may be traditional but it’s fun and well done.

The lyrics are definitely far more serious than Parliament or Funkadelic. And though these lyrics are hardly much more than the standard “social” comment” stuff, that’s fine when the music is as good as this (in my mind) and they really aren’t the focus here anyway.

I really like this and it makes me want to check out more War records.


All tracks composed by Papa Dee Allen, Harold Brown, B. B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, Charles Miller, Lee Oskar, Howard E. Scott

  1. “The Cisco Kid” – 4:35
  2. “Where Was You At” – 3:25
  3. “City, Country, City” – 13:18
  4. “Four Cornered Room” – 8:30
  5. “The World Is a Ghetto” – 10:10
  6. “Beetles in the Bog” – 3:51
  • Howard Scott – guitar, percussion, vocals
  • B.B. Dickerson – bass, percussion, vocals
  • Lonnie Jordan – organ, piano, timbales, percussion, vocals
  • Harold Brown – drums, percussion, vocals
  • Papa Dee Allen – conga, bongos, percussion, vocals
  • Charles Miller – clarinet, alto, tenor and baritone saxes, percussion, vocals
  • Lee Oskar – harmonica, percussion, vocals

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