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War's unlikely beginning--Eric Burdon basically picked the band members out of an LA bar to back him after he left the Animals--was followed by an unlikely continuation: after Burdon split, the band turned into a 70s-hit-making machine assaulting the Top 40 over and over again with an irresistible amalgam of Latin beats, funky playing, and pop smarts. I wouldn't recommend their albums at this point, and even what should be a great Rhino compilation, The Best of War...and More, is indifferently programmed and disappointingly unannotated; but merely to remember some of the more memorable hits--the growly blues of "The Cisco Kid," the glowing "All Day Music," the groovy "Low Rider," the outlandish "Spill the Wine," and the absurd, delightful "Why Can't We Be Friends?"--is to recall a wondrous period of Top 40 oddities that we in today's musically balkanized world can only dream of. Next Friday, December 31, Drink, 541 W. Fulton; 441-0818.

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