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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The World is a Ghetto

War

1972

Buy At Rough Trade
The World is a Ghetto
Album Summary

The World Is a Ghetto is the fifth album by American band War, released in late 1972 on United Artists Records. The album attained the number one spot on Billboard, and was Billboard magazine's Album of the Year as the best-selling album of 1973. In addition to being Billboard's #1 album of 1973, the album was ranked number 444 on Rolling Stone magazine's original list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The title track became a gold record. The cover illustration, a light-hearted drawing showing a Rolls-Royce with a flat tire in a ghetto, was drawn by Howard Miller, with Lee Oskar credited with album concept. It uses a blue and black colour pallet as a reference to the melancholy nature of the album. In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Gordon Fletcher said The World Is a Ghetto found War progressing further in the arena of soul and jazz music, and "closer to total mastery of their music as they attempt to use it to communicate the essence of ghetto life".

Wikipedia

Rating

3.33

Votes

9723
Genres
Soul
Funk

Reviews

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Mon May 15 2023
4

Slow, soulful funk with hints of jazz, rock and the slightest reggae flavour. This feels luxurious. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: The Cisco Kid Date listened: 14/05/23

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Sun Apr 23 2023
4

Before today, the only songs by War that I knew were the hits (Low Rider, The Cisco Kid, and Why Can't We Be Friends?). These guys were a hit in the 60's - 70's, and actually, this album was named Album of the Year in '72, so I am excited to hear more of their catalog today! This album is a slow, funky masterpiece. Songs such as "City, Country, City", although being 13 minutes long, were excellent. Instead of being a long song with half a dozen solos mixed in, it was one huge groove, in which each member of the band could solo, and show their skills while the rest of the band kept time. There are some amazing artists in this band! The inclusion of a harmonica in "City, Country, City" surprised the hell out of me, in a good way. The opening song, The Cisco Kid is such a fantastic funky song! This band is a melding of soul, jazz, funk, Latin, blues, and rock into one hell of a laid back sound. They sound a lot like Sly and the Family Stone, but their musical themes are never negative. It is always "peace and love", which is refreshing to listen to. You would think, with a title like "The World is a Ghetto" you'd be in for a political, negative album, but this album is full of positive vibes. The long drawn out grooves have a way of pulling you into a trance, and making all your worries disappear. Overall, an excellent album today. Not something I would always be in the mood for, but it helped make yard work a hell of a lot more enjoyable today!! Favorite songs: The Cisco Kid, Where Was You At, The World Is A Ghetto, Four Cornered Room Least favorite songs: "City, Country, City" 4/5

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Sun Jul 23 2023
4

This feels like what soul was meant to become.

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Thu Jul 06 2023
5

Great album, the intro songs kicks strong. Solid instrumentals then wraps up crisp without overstaying it's welcome. War is a lot more than just low rider.

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Tue Jul 18 2023
5

I hadn't heard of War before, and thus I wasn't sure what I was expecting going into this totally blind. "War" sounded like a metal band, "The World is a Ghetto" sounded like a gangsta rap album. I was completely wrong on all accounts and very pleasantly surprised. This is 44 minutes of just some really funky, jazzy psychedelic soul with some Caribbean flair. It's generally melancholy and usually quite chill, but it gains energy at the right moments and is just a general pleasure to listen to. I especially liked the general feel of Beetles In The Bog and City, Country, City. Thank you Generator, this was a great album to be introduced to. Favourite: Beetles In The Bog

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Wed Sep 20 2023
5

Me every time a new track started on this album: wow, this is the coolest song I've ever heard in my life. Ultimately, City, Country, City was when I knew I loved this album, so that'll go down as my favorite here

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Fri May 12 2023
4

I enjoyed this album quite a bit. It's not really in a style I normally listen to, but I may seek out more like this in the future. The Cisco Kid is a banger. I also liked the longer songs. 4/5

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Fri Jun 30 2023
4

An album that sounds like a hot summer day in Brooklyn. Such a rich atmosphere of sounds.

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Thu Aug 03 2023
4

It was a really great funk album. Perfect song as I walk around and observe city living - the good, the bad, the ugly

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Wed May 03 2023
5

Never heard of these guys before. Some great songs on there, not my normal style of music but maybe my tastes are changing!

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Wed May 31 2023
5

A couple familiar songs, but otherwise very jazzy. I’m all about this. Favorite song on the album: The World is a Ghetto

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Fri Jun 30 2023
5

1972 - Funk; Soul; R&B; Psychedelic Soul

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Fri Jul 14 2023
5

Really enjoyed that - this is more like a 4.5. I'm more familiar with War's collaboration with Eric Burdon than their own stuff, so it was good to rectify that... Fave tracks - "The Cisco Kid" is a great opener. "City, Country, City" is wonderfully cinematic. "Four Cornered Room" is probably my fave track on the album - lovely dreamy hypnotic atmosphere - kinda reminded me of Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan". "The World is a Ghetto" is a jam, and I liked the afrobeat sounding "Beetles in the Bog" You know what, gonna round this up to a 5 since every track apart from one caught my attention!

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Sat Jul 15 2023
5

first album about soul music.Sounds good!

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Sun Aug 06 2023
5

The sounds that a lot of my childhood were based on, very cool to engage with this.

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Sun Aug 06 2023
5

This was fun! A very unique sound to it that I really liked. Excellently played and written, fun album cover as well. So much to love and nothing to hate.

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Mon Aug 21 2023
5

wow holy shit, I thought I'd probably enjoy it but this is PHENOMENAL, the spaciest smoothest sax ever over classic motown grooves. So good

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Mon Aug 21 2023
5

Where has this album been my entire life! What a great album! Absolutely loved it.

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Thu Aug 24 2023
5

some really great, classic funk grooves here. to be honest, i feel like for a lot of people, this album might be boring, but this really just hits the spot for me. i knew cisco kid and the title track before listening to this album, so I kind of had an idea of what I was getting into, but the album cuts on this one really cemented it for me. just a good, groovy album.

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Wed Aug 30 2023
5

Great mix of genres. Awesome funk.

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Wed Aug 30 2023
5

So funky it'll make you want to institute change for the better in your community. 5/5

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Sat Sep 02 2023
5

From the start with 'The Cisco Kid' this is funky... I'd listen to this again. It is funky and still sounds fresh. The music is great. 5/5

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Mon Sep 11 2023
5

I had never heard of this album or band before. I didn’t know I needed this in my life.

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Fri Sep 22 2023
5

Prior to this listen my knowledge of War was limited to “Low Rider” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” but The World Is A Ghetto gives me a whole new perspective of the group. With both songs fit to listen to in isolation and songs meant to be heard in a greater context, this six-track masterpiece has to be one of the best albums in the funk genre. “The Cisco Kid” is a fantastic way to begin the album with a beat to swing to, a protagonist to root for, and a story to live through. “City, Country, City” reveals the urban and rural divide in America if not by demographics, then by the energy of everyday life. I’m not sure what exactly “Beetles In The Bog” is supposed to represent, but I imagine beetles are not on top of the food chain in bayou country. With its nearly hopeless lyrics and pleading sax, the behemoth title track is unsurprisingly the centerpiece of the record. As far as funk concept albums go, I assumed Funkadelic stood in a league of its own with Maggot Brain. I stand corrected.

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Sat Oct 14 2023
5

A great socially conscious concept album that is a musical melting pot. Great grooves and fantastically played.

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Thu Oct 19 2023
5

Funky, poinient, catchy, and all-around banger. Highly recommend.

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Tue Oct 24 2023
5

Hit like Cisco kid and The World is a Ghetto are scattered among this album for those who want a shorter casual listen but if you're looking for the ultimate jazz/funk experience then strap in. City Country City has a 13 minute long jam session which just fucks from front to back. This entire album hits all the right notes for me. 10/10

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Wed Oct 25 2023
5

An album that I consider in my soul/funk tops. Catchy songs with an incomparable feeling from the musicians who perform them. How can you not fall in love with songs like Cisco Kid, City Country City or the incredible The World Is A Ghetto? An essential.

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Sat Oct 28 2023
5

10/10 we’re hitting dangerously high ratings on the funky scale

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Thu Nov 02 2023
5

Too short for this Claisic Master Piece

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Sat Nov 04 2023
5

This was in the NME top 100 albums of all time. Such a great album best tracks City, Country, City and The World Is a Ghetto.

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Thu Nov 09 2023
5

I mean, it's an utterly iconic and genre-defining funk/soul album for a reason. War pushed the boundaries of several genres, constantly challenging perceptions while still keeping the music enjoyable and relatable. They understood the assignment and delivered. It's a masterwork and 100% deserves its place on this list.

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Sat Nov 11 2023
5

Awesome slow grooves where everyone’s absolutely COOKIN. Albums like this are why I’m grateful I wake up with a new album everyday. Is it a 5/5? Maybe not, but I’m giving it a 5/5 because it’s exactly the kind of music I want to discover

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Sun Nov 12 2023
5

It may be difficult to look at this in a neutral manner but this is a perfect groove album. The type you listen to on a sunny day barbecue.

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Sun Nov 26 2023
5

Man, I need a cigarette. This album just rocked my world. Unfortunately, I really only know War for Low Rider, which is a great song, but absolutely not representative of this band as a whole. This is top tier, slow burn funk/soul. And I loved the hints of blended genres throughout, including a heavy psych rock influence, and even some reggae. 5/5 for just being a most welcomed surprise. I really don't understand why this album isn't talked about more in the grand narrative of soul music.

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Tue Nov 28 2023
5

Really only being familiar with the songs 'Why Can't We Be Friends' and 'Low Rider', neither which have I thought too much of, this turned out to be a surprise. I was familiar with 'The Cisco Kid', too but never knew it was this band. The blend of soul, Afrobeat, jazz, and psychedelia leads to some really interesting stuff and some solid jamming creating a unique tone throughout.

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Fri Dec 01 2023
5

Another fantastic album. I have other War albums and tracks in my collection, including some of the tracks on this album, but I've never listened to this particular album fully. Quite short, which is a shame, but that takes nothing away. Listened to it several times and have added it to my "buy a copy on vinyl" list.

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Mon Dec 04 2023
5

Loved this, and never heard it before. Didn’t imagine I’d be offering up a precious 5 to an album I didn’t previously know, but here we are. I can’t get enough of it.

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Wed Dec 06 2023
5

Wow - love this album!!! How cool is it?!? Knew within 5 seconds that it would be good, but not how good. ‘City, Country, City’ is superb!

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Sat Dec 09 2023
5

So cool, jazzy, funky. Best kind of music

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Wed Dec 13 2023
5

Album 256 of 1001 War - The World is a Ghetto Rating : 5 / 5 Favorite Track : Cisco Kid A personal favorite. Great tunes with some meaningful themes. War is a fun band. Hate that this is the only album of theirs on the list. I also really like "Why Can't We Be Friends". Have vinyl and cd of each. Good stuff.

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Sat Dec 16 2023
5

Oh how I love War! Just pour ‘em right in my ears. War have that rare ability to make sounds that go right to your human core and this album is pure War.

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Sat Dec 16 2023
5

So funky and upbeat! Bossa Nova vibes deliver.

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Thu Dec 21 2023
5

Love this album, would sing some of the songs with everyone else! 5 stars!

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Sat Dec 23 2023
5

Lyrics: The lyrical content of "The World Is a Ghetto" is both introspective and socially conscious, reflecting the tumultuous times in which it was created. The title track, in particular, explores themes of urban decay, poverty, and the impact of war on everyday life. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of the struggles faced by marginalized communities, capturing the essence of the band's socio-political commentary. Tracks like "Cisco Kid" and "Four Cornered Room" showcase the versatility of War's lyricism, with narratives that touch on personal experiences and relationships. The lyrics often blend seamlessly with the music, creating a cohesive narrative that resonates with listeners. Music: War's musical style in "The World Is a Ghetto" is a rich fusion of various genres, including funk, jazz, rock, and Latin influences. The band's ability to seamlessly integrate these diverse elements contributes to the album's enduring appeal. The infectious grooves, tight rhythms, and intricate instrumentation showcase the musicians' exceptional skill and chemistry. The use of brass instruments, especially in tracks like "City, Country, City," adds a layer of sophistication to the music, while the rhythmic guitar work throughout the album provides a solid foundation. The dynamic interplay between percussion, bass, and vocals creates a sound that is both energetic and soulful. Production: Produced by Jerry Goldstein and Far Out Productions, the album boasts a polished yet raw production quality that complements War's eclectic sound. The balance between the various instruments is well-executed, allowing each element to shine without overshadowing the others. The production captures the spontaneity and energy of the band's live performances, contributing to the album's overall authenticity. Notably, the album's production values contribute to its timelessness. Despite being over four decades old, the sound remains fresh and relevant, a testament to the meticulous production work that went into crafting this musical masterpiece. Themes: "The World Is a Ghetto" explores a range of themes that remain pertinent to societal issues. The title track delves into the harsh realities of urban life, addressing poverty, crime, and the struggle for survival. "Cisco Kid" reflects on the allure and pitfalls of a life of crime, while "Four Cornered Room" touches on the isolation and introspection that can accompany personal struggles. The album's thematic depth extends to its instrumental tracks, such as the multi-part suite "City, Country, City." Here, War skillfully conveys the contrasts between urban and rural environments, using music as a medium to tell a powerful narrative without the need for words. Influence: "The World Is a Ghetto" has had a lasting influence on the music industry, particularly in the realms of funk, jazz, and Latin music. The album's ability to blend genres has inspired countless artists across different musical landscapes. War's unique approach to storytelling through music, coupled with their socially conscious lyrics, has left an indelible mark on subsequent generations of musicians. The fusion of diverse cultural elements in the album has also contributed to its influence on world music, showcasing the potential for cross-cultural collaboration and artistic expression. The socio-political messages embedded in the lyrics have resonated with audiences and continue to inspire artists seeking to address social issues through their music. Pros: Musical Diversity: The album's ability to seamlessly blend funk, jazz, rock, and Latin influences showcases War's musical versatility. Lyrical Depth: The socially conscious and introspective lyrics provide a thought-provoking narrative that resonates with listeners on a personal and societal level. Innovative Production: The production quality captures the band's live energy while maintaining a polished sound, contributing to the album's enduring appeal. Timelessness: Despite being released in the early 1970s, the album's themes and musicality remain relevant and continue to resonate with audiences. Influence: The album's impact on subsequent generations of musicians across various genres cements its status as a groundbreaking work. Cons: Length of Tracks: Some tracks, particularly the longer instrumental pieces, may be considered overly indulgent by listeners who prefer more concise compositions. Specific Sound: The distinctive sound of War may not appeal to all listeners, especially those with a preference for more mainstream or narrowly defined genres. Limited Commercial Success: While the album received critical acclaim, its commercial success may not have matched its artistic significance, limiting its recognition during its initial release. In conclusion, "The World Is a Ghetto" by War stands as a musical and lyrical tour de force that encapsulates the spirit of its era while remaining relevant across generations. Its fusion of genres, socially conscious themes, and innovative production contribute to its enduring appeal and influence. Despite some minor drawbacks, the album's pros far outweigh its cons, solidifying its place as a classic in the annals of music history.

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Tue Jan 02 2024
5

Oh my god, this album!!! What have I been missing all this time! Such a great record. Next to the classic hits, the other songs are equally as good. But City, Country, City really blew me away! Standouts: The Cisco Kid, Where Was You At, City, Country, City, Four Cornered Room, The World Is A Ghetto 9 out of 10

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Tue Jan 02 2024
5

I’m not as up on Progressive Soul as I’d like to be, so this was an interesting listen. The centrepiece is the 13 minute City, Country, City which opens with an organ and a Spanish sounding guitar playing over the top, continues by alternating between a pastiche sounding country complete with harmonica and a more typical funk beat, before settling into a Jazz jam session with a latin funk sounding rhythm. It’s great, and fascinating to hear a funk bands take on jazz rather than a jazz bands take on funk. The best song is the opening Cisco Kid, with it’s slow reggae inspired beat. I’m trying to find something bad to say about this record but I can’t. This is great

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Wed Jan 10 2024
5

I was so torn on what to give this album, until I asked myself “what’s holding this album back from being a 5/5?” and I couldn’t come up with anything. So ladies and gentlemen we got my third ever 5/5 here. It’s just so full of life, addresses very universal human emotion/struggle. I’m beginning to create a scale for boomer music: on one end is the “songs to ride your Harley to” and on the other end is “songs to do a line to” and this one is more on the latter side

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Wed Jan 10 2024
5

Man this crosses all genres. Rock, Funk, Soul and a near-13 minute bongo jazz riff? Yeah, WAR really lives up to the hype with The World Is A Ghetto. 4.5/5

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Wed Jan 10 2024
5

Always thought they needed Eric Burden - WRONG! loved all of it & will look for more.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
5

Day 4/1001 Groovy, funky music from the golden era - what's not to like? 'City, Country, City' and the title track are particularly excellent - the length really helps to explore the sounds.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
5

I need more 60s/70s funk in my life and this is a fine start. Strong reggae vibes too though.

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Sat Jan 13 2024
5

Interview at end is fascinating

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Sun Jan 14 2024
5

Pare che abbiano avuto enorme successo agli inizi degli anni ‘70 e io non li conoscevo proprio! È stata una bella scoperta. Gruppo da approfondire

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Thu Jan 18 2024
5

Buena música Funky de los 70, con fusión de varios estilos. Redescubriendo los temas Why can't we be friends, y Low rider, que había escuchado alguna vez, pero que no sabía ni el grupo, ni el nombre de las canciones

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Mon Jan 22 2024
5

I got this on vinyl from Goodwill. Some amazing music here. Four Courned Room was one of my most played songs from last year.

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Sat Jan 27 2024
5

Hell on earth exists But funky beauty does too Chill in that beauty

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Sat Jan 27 2024
5

Have this on vinyl! Played it on my record player as soon as this popped up. Classic.

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

Fusion of multiple styles with great vocals and deep lyrics. One of the best albums I've heard on this list so far.

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Mon Feb 12 2024
5

# Playlist track - The Cisco Kid # Notes - Just great right off from the first track. - Kind of a jazzy, funky soul that is fun and catchy. - Even with 2 10+ minute tracks, War pulls it off, and the album doesn't drag at all. - Definitely listening again.

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Wed Feb 14 2024
5

i was 6 years old when this came out

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Tue Feb 20 2024
5

Excelente descubrimiento! Tiene cositas de Floyd y sobre todo de Zappa...muy loco. Muchísimas mixturas instrumentales para deleitarse en cada momento sin que avasallen. Las melodías que vienen y van en city world city me gustaron muchísimo.

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Tue Feb 27 2024
5

Es la música favorita de Jaime.

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Tue Apr 18 2023
4

Filmmuziek. Luistert lekker weg. Alle nummers op het album zijn goed! ****

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Sun Apr 23 2023
4

Could listen to it all day on repeat - puts me in a good place.

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Wed Apr 26 2023
4

Un disco disfrutable, pero demasiado caótico en los géneros que abarca. Necesito un poco más de línea de guia para poder disfritarlo al máximo. Parece que se juntaron y grabaron lo que les parecía 7/10.

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Thu Apr 27 2023
4

first listen not your average funk album

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Fri Apr 28 2023
4

Soul/jazz album with a funky vibe that is a good listen. Brings the listener into a 70's black neighborhood. Leadoff "The Cisco Kid" is the standout.

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Tue May 02 2023
4

Really good, falls just short of 5 🌟 for me, largely because I don't know enough about the music to fully appreciate it. What I do know is that I really liked it, and enjoyed learning about a band I had never (knowingly) heard before.

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Fri May 12 2023
4

Wow, I love this, it’s like if Marvin Gaye got P-Funk to back up What’s Going On. Will return to. B+, can easily rise

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Fri May 12 2023
4

Great album. One of the songs got overly repetitive but other than that the only flaw is that the album doesn't have more tracks!

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Thu May 18 2023
4

Expectations were blown by a band I only knew by a few hits. Super funky incorporating Latin, jazz, gospel, and rock. Incredibly lush with non-traditional song structures. You can tell why it's labelled "prog soul" with how they manage to maintain the melody but yet the song still branches out so unexpectedly so often. We start off with two proggy yet accessible pop pieces. "City Country City" was a fun instrumental jam fest of each of the players showing off, with a satisfying entrancing conclusion. "Four Cornered Room" was an intense western. Really cool harmonica and gong. "The World is a Ghetto" was another cool jazzy piece. The closer sounded like it had afrobeat influence but I think this came out before afrobeat was popular. Really enjoyed the whole record, and sat well in the background with its chill and lush groove.

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Thu May 25 2023
4

The opening groove immediately won me over. Slow, smooth, funky. Even the extended jammy tracks are fun. Great album for relaxing on a lazy summer afternoon. Loved it.

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Mon May 29 2023
4

I just love this. It's so loose and relaxed, just a pleasure to listen to. 4 stars.

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Sun Jun 04 2023
4

C’est pas un album que tout le monde va aimer, mais j’ai beaucoup apprécié l’expérimentation jazz couplé au son classique de War

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Mon Jun 05 2023
4

This album definitely deserves to be on this list.

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Mon Jun 12 2023
4

Excellent album. Very funky. Standouts: The Cisco Kid; The World Is a Ghetto.

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Fri Jun 16 2023
4

Decent, kinda instrument soul funk

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Fri Jun 23 2023
4

This album is a VIBE. The saxophone in The World is a Ghetto was unreal. Great heavy beat throughout. I was hesitant towards this album because it’s labeled as “Psychedelic” which is often too out there for me but this was awesome.

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Wed Jul 12 2023
4

Great album, enjoyed the instrumentals a lot.

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Fri Jul 14 2023
4

I really enjoyed this, very funky. The album cover is fun. The Cisco Kid and The World Is A Ghetto are great tracks. I also enjoyed City, Country, City,

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Mon Jul 17 2023
4

Dang that's a fun album. Drags a bit there in the mid, but some tracks slap hard.

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Mon Jul 17 2023
4

For some reason I expected classic rock but was blessed with a full helping of funk

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Tue Jul 18 2023
4

the songs are too repetitive! if not i would’ve been 5/5 s it’s quite the shame

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Thu Jul 20 2023
4

Quick hits on this give it be a 4* album. I've never listened to this before and am quite impressed so far.

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