The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Eric Burdon & The Animals

12-18-07 Eric Burdon & The Animals

(re-run from Aug. ’02)


LPx2 1975? 17 TRK Collection


From Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, the world warmly received the white R&B vocalist Eric Burdon at the height of Beatlemania. To this day, his version of “House of The Rising Sun” is widely considered the definitive version. The initial incarnation of The Animals was rather overall R&B-oriented (a la early Manfred Mann) – material of that nature is largely contained on their EMI releases. This double LP boxed set from MGM / Polygram Germany covers Phase #2 – Eric Burdon & The Animals go psychedelic!

A lot of people credit Alan Price (keyboards) for some of the success of the early Animals records – which may be true…but it wasn’t until Price left the group that they made some really ‘interesting’ records.

While some may grimace at the thought of “San Franciscan Nights”, at least Eric sounds sincere. In an hommage to his psychedelisizing, the song “Monterey” does it’s job telling the story of the weekend in 1967 that changed his life. I may be the only person who actually prefers The Animals’ version of “River Deep Mountain High” to that of Ike & Tina Turner – but, man, The Animals could rock when they weren’t busy dispensing hippie-dippy stuff!

But, there’s some truly solid moments in this box set of latter-day Animals – “White Houses” is great, as is “Year of The Guru” (both from the wonderful “Every One Of Us” LP / CD). For a real hippie revelation, I can’t recommend “The Twain Shall Meet” (now that’s optimism!) LP or CD highly enough. This is where you can easily find “Monterey”!

And who could forget “Sky Pilot”, the anthemic anti-war song? As far as I know, the single (short) version isn’t on LP or CD – but this box set has the lengthy full original version (nearly 8 minutes long!) – again, found on “The Twain Shall Meet” (pictured)

Of course, right after the psychedelic Animals records, Eric went on to participate in Eric Burdon & War – giving the world the hit “Spill The Wine”. Was that the last time he visited the Billboard charts?

And, of course, though not on this set, Alan Price did go on to make some amazing stuff, notably the original soundtrack to the Lindsay Anderson film “O Lucky Man!”.

2007 addendum: Very soon, I hope to lay my hands upon the kami sleeve ( = little paper album cover ) CD’s of the 4 x psychedelic Eric Burdon & The Animals albums – replacing my German 80’s issue CD’s.


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

The Animals were a highlight of the 2nd rock concert I ever attended. I was in a popular culture elective class in college and we had to write a paper on one of two scenarios: pro wrestling at Eddie Graham Sports Stadium [a metal box] or a Rock Superbowl in the Tangerine Bowl featuring The reformed Animals, The Fixx [ech!] and The Police. It was my first [and last] stadium concert attended. The Animals were the highlight of the day. The Fixx were maddeningly pretentious without delivering any goods - their specialty. You can be pretentious as the day is long - that's no sin to me, but if you fail to deliver the goods - you're 86'd! The Police were riding high on their stunningly awful Synchronicity album so between the crowd of PIGS, the 12 hour span of this horrid event, and the fact that I had to stay there and write a paper on my experiences as it related to pop cult theory, it was a hellish time I wish hadn't happened. I should have seen the wrestling instead. It would have been over in a few hours and I daresay the crowd would have been less offensive!

6:35 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...


I once saw The Fixx open for The Moody Blues - and - you're right! They were not very good. I do like some of their Rupert Hine-produced records, however.

Never saw the re-formed Animals, however.


6:48 AM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Cy Curnin just RUBS ME THE WRONG WAY. As much as I admire Hine/Obstoj, the Fixx don't do it for me. "One Thing Leads To Another" really annoyed me all summer long in 1983 and the 12" version is the most grating record for me of all time. I used to own and somewhat enjoy "Shuttered Room" but I got rid of it decades ago and hey - I don't miss it in the slightest.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Holly A Hughes said...

Interesting perspective, Ron -- personally I find the later Animals stuff to be overwrought and sweaty, but I loved the grit and wry humor of the early stuff. There's no question that Burdon's voice is one of the best in rock 'n' roll, though.

The re-formed Animals were wonderful; it's too bad that they couldn't make it work for longer (their album Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted has some fantastic r&b covers). There's was quite a package of talent there. Unfortunately, it seems that the same personnel issues that scuttled them the first time around made it impossible to keep the reunion going, and after Chas Chandler's untimely death, they could never capture it again.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

I got the 4 x kami sleeve Eric Burdon CD's from Japan! amazing! The bonus tracks are mostly 'single versions' of stuff - but I finally got "Gratefully Dead" by The Animals!

8:41 PM  

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