Okay, this whole article started out with me wondering what ever happened to B.B. Dickerson, Bass Player for the multi-platinum selling band, WAR?  I figured, “Is he still with us because I can’t believe he would just stop playing as good as he was but I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him since he left the band in 1979.”  Well, it turns out Morris “B.B.” Dickerson did stay in retirement from ’79 to ’96.  In 1996 B.B. joined his friends Howard Scott (Guitar), Lee Oskar (Harmonica) and Harold Brown (Drums) as they formed the updated version of WAR, The Lowrider Band.  These four original members of WAR were not joined by original Keyboardist, Lonnie Jordan, because he chose to stay with the name, WAR, and all of that band’s replacement players.  Of course you know it has to be about ownership of the name, right?  Far Out Productions, owned by WAR’s Manager and Producer Jerry Goldstein, won the rights in court to the group name in the mid 90’s so in ’96, Howard, Harold, Lee and B.B. reformed as the Lowrider Band.  For those of you who haven’t heard the real WAR perform live in a long, long time, this installment of LINER NOTES is going to be a special treat.  Check out the Lowriders, along with additional members Chuk Barber (Percussions), Lance Ellis (Saxophone) and Keith Vinet (Keyboards) performing, “All Day Music.”

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The other two original members of WAR, passed away prior to the formation of the Lowrider Band.  The irrepressible Thomas Sylvester “Papa Dee” Allen (Percussions) died in 1988 and Charles Miller (Saxophone) was murdered in 1979.  I was so saddened by the loss of both these powerhouse musiciansWAR was cookin’ on all cylinders with their lineup; everyone a standout performer in his own right.  Who doesn’t like the song, “Lowrider?”  The epitome of the Latin Funk style that made WAR so distinctive… it was a sound all their own.  Here’s the Lowrider Band performing “Lowrider.”

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Eric Burdon, lead singer for the 60’s British Rock group, the Animals, actually came up with the concept for the group WAR along with Producer, Jerry GoldsteinGoldstein saw WAR’s founding members performing in a club as the Nightshift, playing behind football player Deacon Jones and lured them away to record their first album with Eric Burdon as the lead singer… if you can call that singing.  Eric Burdon Declares War did bring forth the hit, “Spill The Wine,” however.  With typical 60’s Rock drunken lyrics, the tight, tight music behind Burdon’s spoken singing was the Bomb!  The combination of Eric Burdon and WAR was always weird to me… you know, what on earth did they need him for with all that talent?  Surely someone else in the group could sing better than Eric Burdon?  When he released them by moving on, WAR really flourished and 1971’s albums, WAR and All Day Music set them on their way.  “Son Oh Son” was the sweet track from the album WAR and everything on All Day Music was a big hit in my neighborhood.  Give a listen to “Why Can’t We Be Friends” by the Lowriders Band.

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This was a sleeper JAM on the album, Why Can’t We Be Friends.  I’m so glad they chose to perform this cut live as the Lowrider Band.  Enjoy the beautiful song, “So.”

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Wanna hear something new from WAR… Oops… I mean the Lowrider Band?  Check out this song that, even after all these years, still keeps with the WAR philosophy of spreading messages of peace and love and humanity through their music.  This is (the real) WAR music at its best.  B.B. Dickerson leads this song for  Middle Class America, “Ordinary Man.”

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I can’t wait for the Lowrider Band to go into the studio and release a new album.  This group is the true WAR, not Lonnie Jordan “and a bunch of other cats.”  Taking nothing from Lonnie Jordan, I just wish he’d join his Bro-Skis and that Jerry Goldstein would give them their name back and… well, at least Lonnie could join his guys and that would surely be the end of Goldstein’s hold on the name.  I can dream, can’t I?  For the sake of nostalgia, I want to leave you with a clip of the original WAR with 6 out of 7 original members; Papa Dee’s drums were on stage but Papa was not present for the live taping.  This clip is from their guest appearance on the Midnight Special TV show in 1973.  Here’s Howard, B.B., Lee, Charles, Lonnie and Harold performing, “The Cisco Kid.”   Peace!

Musically yours,
Reuben Yabuku

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