Friday Freak-Out: Eric Burdon and War play "Tobacco Road" (1970)

Friday Freak-Out: Eric Burdon and War perform "Tobacco Road" on German television in 1970. Originally a folk tune written by John D. Loudermilk, the song was first made a hit in 1964 by The Nashville Teens. The Jackson 5, Lou Rawls, and many other artists covered it too. In 1970, Eric Burdon and War turned "Tobacco Road" into a 13-minute, three-part epic on their LP "Eric Burdon Declares 'War'." "We the People, have declared War against the People, for the right to love each other." (Thanks, Antinous!)


  1. Fantastic!  One important thing, though, it’s WAR.  I’m not normally a niggler, but a band as bitchin’ as WAR deserves all caps.  And Lee Oskar…best Danish afro to ever grace a stage.

  2. Thank you. I’m off to listen to some more old Burdon. Again. (My girlfriend probably hates you in, say, ten minutes from now.)

  3. I went to see Burdon when he was on tour around 10 years ago.   Decades of singing in his characteristic raw style obviously had had a lasting effect on his voice, which was pretty much completely shot.  Sadly, the best part of the concert was the warm-up act, Peter Noone (from Herman’s Hermits), who did a fantastic set of impressions of other aging rockers on tour.

  4. I’ve been watching tons of 60s and 70s music videos on YouTube lately, and the conclusion of my research is that I fucking love Eric Burdon.  I love the contrast of how deliriously happy he seems in this video versus House of the Rising Sun, where he looks like he might bite anybody who gets too close.

  5. Let me just add “A Girl Named Sandoz” to the list of tunes that Eric Burdon KILLED.  That song is so downtuned and heavy that I bet even Black Sabbath peed their school boy knickers.  Smashing Pumpkins went on to redo it, but really, you never redo a song like that.

  6. Not to take away from Eric and the gang, but if you’re going to mention Tobacco Road exemplars by Jackson 5 and Rawls, the scales should be balanced by adding Edgar Winter and his White Trash to Burdon’s name on the list of arrangements sine qua non. YouTube doesn’t do the work justice; find a copy of the Roadwork album (and get ready for the kick-ass-iest version of Barry’s Back in the U.S.A. you’ve ever heard, among others by Otis, Wonder, and Derringer ;-)

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