Song of the Day (Shocktober): Lee Oskar “Haunted House”

Lee Oskar

Song of the Day (Shocktober): Lee Oskar “Haunted House”

Lee Oskar Before the RainHarmonica player and vocalist Lee Oskar was a founding member of War in the late ’60s. The eclectic, freewheeling LA-based group first backed Eric Burdon (leader of The Animals) and eventually enjoyed the spotlight themselves, with Oskar’s extended harmonica wailing solos a vital part of War’s fusion of funk, rock, Latin, and R&B.

While still solidly in the War lineup, Oskar made his solo debut in 1976 and recorded several eclectic albums, melding pop, jazz, R&B, and fusion. The lightly stepping R&B of “Haunted House” closes out his 1978 sophomore album, Before the Rain. Opening with the prerequisite stormy night audio verité, “Haunted House” gives way to a head-nodding funk groove, with some great arpeggiated guitar and Oskar’s harmonica playing front-and-center. The only lyrics are the repeated:

Remind me of
A haunted house
I once was in

Not so much a terrifying song as a simply terrific one, the stepping groove has been embraced as a classic in the Chicago Stepping scene.

In 2012, UK producer Leftside Wobble applied his remix touch and beefed up the beat:

Lee Oskar Haunted House elektra promo