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The Animals

Alan Price and the...

Introduction
Animals
Animals On Tour
Animal Tracks
Animalisms
Eric Is Here
Winds of Change
The Twain Shall Meet
          Every One of Us
Love Is
 

The Lineup Card (1964-1968)

Eric Burdon (vocals)

John Steel (drums) until 1966

Alan Price (keyboards) until 1965

Chas Chandler (bass) until 1966 also manager of the Jimi Hendrix Experience

Hilton Valentine (guitar) until 1966

Dave Rowberry (keyboards) 1965-1966

The 'New Animals' were

Vic Briggs (guitar) 1966-1968

Barry Jenkins (drums) 1966-1968

John Weider (guitars, violin) 1966-1968

In the ever-crowded field of 60's Brit-Invasion bands, you were either a member of the good or evil sides: Beatles or Stones, rock 'n' roll or R&B, smile or scowl, white hat or black hat (everybody wore mod suits, but that's another story). You either chased down popularity by coming your hair perfectly, writing the most catchy, zippy little pop rock songs you could get your hands on, and scoring the cover of Tiger Beat, or you became hardcore, dour traditionalists, found the best, most obscure old blues singles to cover, and scored high on the Most Wanted list. Newcastle's Animals were every bit charter members of the latter group...they were scruffier than a Highlander's codpiece and played twice as nasty. They also scored the first USA hit of any of these trad R&B hustlers (yeah, even before the Stones). While later contemporaries like the Yardbirds went for endless boogie sections to let their girlie fanbase wiggle in the wings (and later filled those 'rave ups' up with soloing) and the Stones went for the sexual jugular, the Animals just wanted to be as down and dirty as they could possibly get. They didn't have much of a guitar player, their rhythm section was only just about to the level of serviceable, and they didn't have much use for writing their own songs, but they had two distinctive characteristics that worked to differentiate them from the first step. First off was organ player Alan Price, up front and busier than Rick Wakeman on speed at the Moog factory...but classy in that sorta trad soul way that was made true to life by famous organ players like Booker T in the past. Undeniably the most stunning feature of the group was little Eric Burdon, a stout brawler-type with a voice that defines 'blues shouter', more raw than Van Morrison's Them-era yowl and miles edgier than Mick Jagger's pipes, which seem positively pale in comparison to Burdon's aged single-malt groan. Some folks might claim that Burdon's voice takes some getting used to, but that's only for sheltered white people who've just graduated from the Carpenters to Bread and hope someday to have enough balls to actually buy an Association record. At it's best, overloading the mic and egging us on to fuck and dance and fuck s'more, Burdon's blues shout is as energizing of a Brit Invasion musical instrument as any Clapton twanger. The band even hit in America, if not to the same levels as the Stones and Kinks, then at least worthy of mention in the same breath. Their string of singles in 1964 and 1965 was nearly unequalled in consistent quality and power, early blows against the empire like 'We Gotta Get Out Of This Place' and 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood' were very much not your average lovey-dovey songs. They opened the door for later artists' similar cries for freedom from conservatism and constriction and represent a pretty major step stylistically from the 'early Sixties' to the 'late Sixties'.

 Problems arose for this band when the blues cover formula hit the inevitable brick pothole...after Alan Price's flight for freedom in '66, even at the height of their popularity, the original band disintegrated like brain cells after a good gasoline huff and Burdon was left to pick up the pieces and move on. One of the great mistakes of 60's rock history was for Burdon not to die a drug-related death right around early 1967, just prior to the introduction of the Eric Burdon and the Animals moniker and his new, high-cheese 'hep croon' pop style that would cause Animals fans to gnash teeth well into late 1968. Eric saw fit to redefine himself into a sorta hippie guru Tom Jones, gathered a group of ne'er beens for his new group, and began to write 'songs' about San Francisco and Ravi Shankar and Sky Pilots and whatnot. Eric Burdon in '67 and '68 pretty much defined 'acid casualty', a man who couldn't shut up about the counterculture and all the 'far out' stuff that comes with ingesting enough LSD to crystallize your frontal lobes into something resembling Pop Rocks but that tastes a helluva lot worse. The band thankfully spun apart again in late '68 and Burdon once again redefined himself by becoming an honorary black/Latino dude by fronting seminal funk band War in the early 70's before starting a long and sporadically decent solo career including a few reunions of the original Animals lineups that I'm almost totally uninterested in tracking down.

 The Animals have pretty much lost out on a lot of the rediscovery of the old Brit Invasion bands...only their double CD collection Complete Animals (containing their first three albums and some bonus tracks) is particularly easy to find outside of the usual hits collections, and good luck trying to find any of the post-'66 studio albums outside of a vintage record scalper or the delightful folks at WinMX (like I did…get it while you can, I say). No remastered originals with extra discs full of rarities, no BBC sessions, none of that. In addition, for a band with only about 5 or 6 CD's full of material in their entire discography, their UK/USA release situation is a mess not seen since Grant's march to the sea in the 1860's.  Let's see if we can sort through this using as few words as possible: In 1964-5, Americans got three albums, and the Brits only two, and the US albums were usually released first (totally bucking the prevailing trend, BTW) and contained a bunch of singles the Brit albums didn't have. One of these albums was called Animals On Tour, which (surprise!) wasn't a live record, and another album was called Animal Tracks, which was also the name of a UK release that had a more similar track listing to the US-only On Tour than the US version of Animal Tracks. In 1966, the Brits got Animalisms while Americans got Animalization and Animalism, but all these albums are now all combined into a re-released Animalisms CD with something like 25 tracks on it (that I've never seen in the store, but whatever). The Eric Burdon and the Animals albums of '67-'68, when Eric saw fit to record five albums in two years,  were (unfortunately) released in both countries identically as far as I can gather.

I'm reviewing pretty much an exhaustive overview of the 60's Animals, including the three American albums from '64-5 (titled Animals, Animals On Tour, and Animal Tracks, all culled from Complete Animals) the reissue Animalisms, and all of those nasty EB&A buggers. There are two or more 'reunion' albums (Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted and Ark) from the late 70's and early 80's that I don't really feel like looking for, but may buy sometime (you never know).


Animals - MGM 1964

This band's albums are largely the same flavor of ice cream that most Brit Invasion bands that weren't the Beatles were serving in the mid-60's, meaning loads and loads of covers of the kind of black rock and roll and blues hits that the scrufty zitfaces loved to play on their 45's before slugging a 40 and shooting a 38 down on the 8 mile and getting 30 to 50 with option for parole after 15 with good behavior. The Animals, however, made some of these songs so very much their own that it's hard to even imagine them being performed by someone else. 'House Of The Rising Sun', the band's first hit, the first big British R&B hit in the States, and one of the most impressive songs of the 1960's, may have been dredged up from some ancient 78 by Bob Dylan on his debut record, but it's the Animal's version that people remember, as well they should. Bob may have kept all the verses and most of the dirty gritty realism of the original, but the Animals perform a terrifying, droning version that bespeaks of devils at our doors and certain doom around every corner. It's less about losing one's soul to the whorehouse than it is about near-supernatural levels of paranoia and damnation, and Burdon's is the voice howling from the void. It's a near perfect hit single…short, loud, tells more about life in 3 minutes than Dostoyevsky did in 400 pages, and is tenser than an air-traffic controller in a hurricaine. It's the leadoff track, and the rest of the album can't help but pale in comparison to this devastating opener.

The rest of the album is a whole lotta stuff that, if you've listened to any British Invasion music at all, you've most likely heard before. These trad kids had all the enthusiasm in the world, but a fairly limited number of songs to choose from. There's the required-by-state-law minimum number of Chuck Berry tunes, but I've heard the Stones do 'Around and Around' better and more rocking than the version here, and 'Memphis Tennessee' was done better by Berry himself. 'Baby Let Me Take You Home' shows the boys liked Dylan's debut almost as much as I do, but this version of 'Baby Let Me Follow You Down' is scrubbed so lily-white that it sounds like he's asking the girl to the church picnic rather than to fuck like wild bunnies on speed. And Ray Charles' '(The Night Time) Is The Right Time' is just sorta repetitive and stupid...the background singers sound more fit yelling out breakfast orders at the local diner than singing hit lines on a soul song. The other tracks are a vast improvement, especially the crawling voodoo king of 'I'm Mad Again', where the band sounds almost possessed. He's mad like Al Capone, like Sonny Liston, like Cassius Clay, and he sounds like he's gonna drink the blood straight from your vein if you don't fucking move outta the way already...it's only the second point on the record where the band sounds totally vicious in that compelling, wild-ass manner that belies more than a dance-band is lurking back there.  

The Animals debut is a little weak considering that a few of the songs sound downright silly even in their obsessive traditionalist style and the band has yet to comfortably apply their winning 'Rising Sun' fury to any of the other tracks. While 'Sun' runs our asses to Hell and back, almost the entire remainder of the album is near-hysterically giddy and upbeat rock/soul music that just doesn't grind the wheel in the same way. It's good, but nothing so far different than any other bunch of Chuck Berry/Little Richard/Ray Charles/Lightning Hopkins covers albums that a million bands were cooking up at precisely the same moment as the Animals were doing theirs. The Animals had what amounted to a doomsday device strapped to their chests, but they only set it off once in awhile. The rest of the time was spent throwing Black Cats.

 Capn's Final Word: Massive opening punch followed by some light sparring.

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Animals On Tour - MCA 1965

On the surface, this album is pretty much Animals minus the big hit, more covers, more blues, blah blah blah, and if big-beat boogie blues doesn't sound like your particular thing, then move right on down the greased rail, won't you? But I really dig the deep, dark blues vibe that permeates this record album like gin through a Scotsman. This is the Animals' trip through the swamp, as nasty and greasy a blues voyage as you're likely to see from a bunch of pasty art-school Brits who probably never saw a black person until 1964. Beats the Rolling Stones' Now! without contest, I can tell you that. The band launches into John Lee's classic 'Boom Boom' and crawls the kingsnake right on down through 'Bright Lights, Big City' (city lights dazzle girlfriend, causing her to get run over by a trash truck in the middle of Times Square while looking for the nearest pimp to sell herself to) through the weeping 'Worried Life Blues' and a stronger 'I Ain't Got You' than the Yardbirds ever imagined with Keith Relf as their retarded singer. They rock, they wriggle, they dip their instruments in the swamp mud and let the mud dry upon the strings. Right through the raucous 'Dimples' ('She got de dimples in her jaw'...hell yeah, I think all us boys know what he's talkin' bout THERE, now don't we? Whoo! A dimple in the jaw and a lump in my crotch, that's what I always say! That and 'Fuckin' A!', I say that all the motherfucking time. Fucking A!) and the final, late-hour cigarette-lunged 'For Miss Caulker', the blues power never lets up. It's mighty weird to hear a lot of blues without a lot of soloing, but Burdon more than makes up for it...this is blues for lovers of the blues, not blues for lovers of endless guitar soloing. In this it's the very anthithesis of Jimi Hendrix's endless Blues album and is probably closer to heart to what the White Stripes are doing nowadays.

Some of these tracks still register high on the overfamiliarity meter ('She Said Yeah' was released the same year by the Stones on their December's Children mishmash, I've heard a bunch of folks do 'The Mess Around', and of course 'Let The Good Times Roll' is a dumb song that sounds less like the good times are rolling and more like they're being pushed up the side of a mountain, but everyone's covered it.), but this one more than makes up in authenticity and that mighty, mighty dark tension what it lacks in original song choices. In 1965, few folks could generate this kind of feel for black music, unless they were black themselves, and even then they weren't being encouraged to release this sort of hardcore R&B. It took a generation of white kids from Europe to convince people of the blues, and the Animals can legitimately claim a large responsibility for that.

No wait, I mean 98 Degrees. 'My Everything' has done more for the blues than chastity has done for the Catholic Church.

Wait, did I say that right?

Capn's Final Word: Trad blues of the darkest, deepest shade. A covers album I'd walk a mile for.

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G. J. Donnelly Piranha_1@MSN.com Your Rating: B+
Any Short Comments?: Newcastle's finest digs into its bag of chestnuts and warms up some comfy, even crackling R&B. It's not so much rock as roll, which is why these cats went down a storm at the Apollo. Eric Burdon sounds alternately confident, impish, angry and forlorn, but as always, his impact hinges on his mates' ability to keep his hysteria in check.  There's no bad track on the entire album, yet nothing really stands out either, though that's not entirely the fault of the band. Like most British Invasion LPs of the period, this was thrown together as a quick cash-in. Even so, it was clear the Animals were in an artistic cul de sac from the start. Despite their incredible grasp of black music, they had no vision apart from recycling their favorite songs. Price hadn't yet developed songwriting chops, and had little enthusiasm for collaborating with his nemesis Burdon. Covers were chosen at random to fill LP space rather than express a viewpoint (which may not have been !such a bad thing considering what Burdon gurgled up on WINDS OF CHANGE). That doesn't mean the album isn't good, but it is repetitive. "Boom Boom" and "I'm Mad Again" are as ballsy as anything the Stones conjured up, but lack the depth of their classic singles. "Bright Lights Big City" and "Hallelujah I Love Her So" ooze joy, but are hardly groundbreaking. "I Ain't Got You" is passable, but dated compared to the Yardbirds' biting, proto-punk take. (And hey Capn, what's with the Keith Relf/retarded singer bullshit? Keith fuckin' rules!) Still, Burdon is the only white dude I know of that could tackle a spiritual like "Bury My Body". THE ANIMALS ON TOUR may only be a collection of familiar, and sometimes redundant R&B covers from 1964, but we're talking about the classic, original Animals here---the Alpha and Omega of bar bands.

 


Animal Tracks - Columbia 1965

Not much of an album as a bunch of singles and leftovers and shit, but I care about as much as I give a flying fucknose, which isn't a helluva bunch, lemme tell you. When an album is this good, it could be a collection of tracks recorded during 'groupie time' in the dressing room of the Hammersmith Odeon for all I care. While On Tour may have shown how down 'n' dirty (and great and fucking fantastic) this band could be on the blues material, Animal Tracks shows more of what a great pop band they could be. 'We Gotta Get Out Of This Place' is a song of protest and rejection of older-generation values about 3 years early, starting out as a lamentation/leering come-on of someone 'young and pretty' who will 'die before their time is due' and of his dear old dad 'hair turning grey', dying after 'working and slaving his life away' before pleading with his woman to get the hell outta Dodge with him. Of course, Bruce Springsteen would base an entire album on these same lines, but Eric makes his points with a single verse and about 5000 watts of cord-shredding screams rather than a bazillion words and a bunch of saxophones and xylophones and New Jerseyites and shit.

Big Hitter Number Two is 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood', a wife-beater's apology that pleads that 'sometimes I feel myself long regretting some stupid simple thing I've done', and with that killer hookline 'I'm just a soul who's intentions are good (Oh Lahrd, please don't let me be misunderstood)' is one snazzy lover with the fast fists. The other tracks are familiar bluetones, less dark and more fun than Animals On Tour, but still stuffed to the jim-jams with the kinda business that makes listening to Eric Burdon do blues covers more interesting than listening to 95% of anybody else do blues covers. I love the way he goes 'you know I laughed...haha!...when you left...' in the soul weeper 'Bring It On Home To Me' and how the other Animals follow his lead on the background vocals so well its almost like listening to two songs at once. 'The Story ff Bo Diddley' is an old original from 1964 that features the band vamping on 'shave and-a haircut' while Eric hams his way through a hepster's history of rock music. My favorite part of this song is when Eric gives us a few lines from each of the hits he remembers, especially 'Take Good Care Of My Baby', which is hilarious. It's a surprisingly witty and catchy little throwaway...it just sounds like Eric's been fronting a rock band for decades, he's so at home riffing on like that. 'Club A-Go-Go' is another original, more talking-blues singing stuff, and it's still a hoot. Great piano on that one. 'I Can't Believe It' and 'Roberta' are generic, but the cover of the old spiritual 'Bury My Body' (aka 'Make Sure That My Grave Is Kept Clean' and others) is spare and pleading, an organ-led ride from the Delta to the Promised Land, and keeps every promise it makes.

The Animals' third album may be a hodgemash mishpodge, but it's a marvelous album of great singles, well-selected covers, and a few jiggy originals. By staying away from what the Animals don't do very well (pop, staying sober, not playing blues licks) and sticking to what they do well (blues, drinking, playing blues licks), they satis-a-fy once more in this time of much dissatisfaction.

Capn's Final Word: Throw a bunch of singles and rejects and album tracks together and you pull out a great album? It all goes back to whether you can play or not, don't it?

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G. J. Donnelly Piranha_1@Msn.com     Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: Right on the money Capn. By turns passionate, joyous, cajoling, angry and self-pitying, Eric Burdon was THE greatest white interpreter of pre-Motown R&B. Van Morrison came close, but Van was too idiosyncratic and brilliant to concentrate soley on covers, whereas Eric subsisted entirely on them (once Burdon tried to write songs he turned into a joke). "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" could be conscrued as "wife-beating," but Nina Simone did it first, and with less effect (she and Burdon quarreled over the song until Eric pointed out how much free publicity she received). "Club a Go Go" is "I'm a Man" gospel-style, "Story of Bo Diddley" is Burdon the music fan at his most playful and charming (compare it to the dreary "Winds of Change") and "Bury My Body" shows why the Animals were the one British Invasion act to truly cross the racial divide---can't imagine Mick Jagger wowing them at the Apollo like Eric and the boys did. Plus there's "We Gotta Get Out of !this Place," the supreme "pull-up-the-bootstraps" anthem. Organist Alan Price proved to be the only capable foil Burdon ever had, while Hilton Valentine played like a punk version of George Harrison. Drummer John Steel and bassist Chas Chandler could groove, although they lacked the kick of Yardbirds' rhythm section, let alone the swing of the Stones. Even so, this LP offers ample proof that white boys could not only sing the blues, but R&B and gospel too. Indispensible.


 


Animalisms - MCA 1966.

Eric begins realizing the spotlight is his to grab here on Animalisms, the blues stuff begins to lose a little luster, and things get a little further out without actually getting very far out at all. As it sounds here, and as history would later show, Eric Burdon right around this time was beginning to experiment a bit with the...um...flora and fauna of this fine planet of ours, and was pushing his group to stretch their trad-blues envelope just a little tiny tad, but the band resisted stubbornly. If anything, Animalisms sounds like more of a mess than Animal Tracks, as this album features some of the most fundamentalist of their blues arrangements mixed with stuff like fuzzy and effected guitars that hint at Out Of Our Heads. The Animals sound unsure of what to do with this new technology other than play the same ol' blues licks they've been doing for two years. Hell, there's a frigging cover of 'Sweet Sixteen' on here that's gained nothing over the Chuck covers on their debut other than some piano-banging by maestro Dave Rowberry (them Animals had some great key players until Eric ran them all off...I hadn't mentioned Rowberry yet, but he joined after the debut and he's nearly as great as Alan Price was on the organ). Or shall we prefer two-odd minutes of 'Clapping', which I'll be goddamned if it isn't some ripping rock-riff with some bashing rhythm work and great lyrics, which it's not. It's clapping. And mouth noises. *clappity!* *ploik!* What is this, Stomp for Retards?

Lots of the rest of the original studio album is unfortunately filled out with gloppy soul business like the depressing 'Gin House Blues', the limp 'You're On My Mind', and especially 'What Am I Living For', which is okay as a song, but foreshadows quite damningly what Eric Burdon would degenerate into over the following year - a hammy, fatty Tom Jones Clone with little soul and no taste. A few of the other tracks are surprisingly good - 'Maudie' rolls harder than a steam train and 'Outcast' is savage assassination of silence like we know we like to hear from these brats. The rest of the original Animalisms album? Sheeeit, the formula's run dry, man. Write some songs or hang up your boogie for good, man, 'cos there's only so much of this a man can handle without either growing a tumor or Columbinizing his place of business. The original Animalisms record album would probably rate a B with reservations...so close to a B- that it's hanging by one of Hilton's guitar strings, but there's enough kick in a few of these tracks to keep things in the respectable neighborhood.

The rest of this trip of the light craptastic is a series of goldnugget singles (lots of them in both single and mono mixes! As if that matters a fucking iota!) released throughout 1966, including the fantastic lounge rocker 'Don't Bring Me Down', with guitars all a-fuzz, Burdon at his smarmiest, and the whole thing about as terminally 1966 as you care to get. Talk about Nuggets. 'Cheating' is similarly heavy...these guys are transforming into the Amboy Dukes or something. 'Help Me Girl' steps into Between the Buttons territory with its weird soul/dancehall trappings. It's almost as if Eric is rushing on through 1966 just to get to 1967, drop acid, and freak out. 'CC Rider' and 'I Just Wanna Make Love To You' are exactly what you expect, more blues covers done Animals-style, just more garage than what I've heard from them before. They only get super messy, the way we like 'em, on the last blast through Bo Diddley's 'Pretty Thing', a cackling heckling come-on if I've ever heard one. You can almost hear the drool drip from the mike on this one, it's creeeeepy. I'd sure hate to be any girl on the receiving end of this kinda thing, but as a (mostly) innocent bystander, it's captivating. Goodbye, Animals, you've become familiar and your capabilities and parameters and limitations are well known to us now. Another album like this really would've been one shot to the body too many, but we'll be pining wistfully in your memory several times in the next few reviews. Take care, keep your Hammond polished, and we'll be seeing ya.

Capn's Final Word: The last word of the Animals is strikingly similar to their first one. But it's the last good thing to come out of Burdon's mouth, fer sure.

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G. J. Donnelly Piranha_1@MSN.com     Your Rating: B+
Any Short Comments?: Oodles of goodness mix with a few half-assed items on ANIMALISMS, a transition album that reflected the group's growing prowess in the studio. The rigid Mickie Most was dumped from the producer's chair in favor of Tom Wilson, whose technological facility added a new sophistication to their sound. The Animals began to shed their rolling R&B style in favor of a harder mix of rock and soul with Hilton Valentine's fuzz riffs sharing equal time with Dave Rowberry's keyboards. As always, however, Eric Burdon's vocals dominate, and he turns in some of his best-ever performances. "Ginhouse Blues" is spellbinding---nobody can pull the self-pitying drunk routine like Burdon. "Inside Looking Out" rocks with a fury that approaches psychosis---the rave up is as punishing as anything the Yardbirds ever fired up, and the prison subject matter packs a wallop. "Don't Bring Me Down" and "See See Rider" are terrific, riffy, hard-rocking singles that suffer from not being a!s anthemic as "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" or "It's My Life." For perhaps the only time in his career, Burdon actually co-writes a clutch of decent originals. "Inside Looking Out" (itself a rewrite of "Rosie", an old blues) aside, "Cheating" sounds like a veiled jab at the Animals' crooked manager, Mike Jeffrey (who bedeviled Jimi Hendrix as well). "She'll Return It" is fun and horny, and "You're On My Mind" is a passable ballad featuring Burdon at his baritone---he sounds like Lou Rawls. The rest of ANIMALISMS veers between slapdash and clumsy. "Maudie" is Burdon aping John Lee Hooker. It's a fun jam, but Burdon's "mammy" sounding female makes me cringe. The sluggish version of Joe Tex's "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" was a terrible choice to open the LP and one of the dullest tracks the band ever cut. Despite this, the Animals seemed to have their shit together and an idea of where they were going. But then drummer John Steel split (Barry Jenkins took over), Hilton Va!lentine became an acid casualty (he thought he was Jesus), Chandler and Rowberry quit and Burdon...well, I already told you about WINDS OF CHANGE. But there was still one more good run in these cats---ANIMALISM, a US only LP with uncredited contributions by Frank Zappa.

 


Eric Is Here - One Way 1967

That's as in 'Don't Panic! The Animals Broke Up But Eric Is Here!!! It may sound like a drunken Tom Jones gnawing on an old piece of rawhide while a pseudo-Mantovani orchestra twinkles sweetly in the background but - we assure you - Eric Is Here!' But Eric is most definitely not here, not good ol Eric 'Black Man's' Burdon, master of the blues howl. Not mentally anyway. He's gone down the fucking tubes somewhere to a place where great voices die. Eric most definitely took a liking to one of the myriad choices of all-natural herbal refreshment offered by our dear Mother Earth, because that's the only explanation for him agreeing to sing these schmaltzy, oozy lounge croon-tunes better fit for your losers like Engelbert Humperdinck and Gonzo the Muppet and the aforementioned zucchinipants Tom Jones. This isn't rock 'n' roll, this isn't blues, soul, it isn't anything. The most disturbing thing about what's transpiring here is that Eric's voice sounds absolutely terrible, and I don't mean terrible in a 'I wish he hadn't sung (that song/in that style/on such a ratfuck horrible record album)', but in a 'he sounds like complete and absolute shitbox' way. I mean, there's, what, like 10 tracks on here, and the only one where I like him at all is on 'Mama Told Me Not To Come' (yeah, the Randy Newman song Three Dog Night took to #1 in like 1970 or so), which is also one of the few songs that A) I happen to like anyway and B) where it sounds like some of the musicians may have actually been in the same room with Mr. Burdon at the time of recording. The other tracks are just a dark spot on Eric's career. It's obvious that this album was released as a stopgap/contractual fulfillment after the original Ani-mules blew to the four winds...the record company grabbed Eric and said into his drug-addled head 'Listen, E, we need another album from you before people forget you ever existed, like Pepsi Clear and Gerald Ford. [okay, this was 1966, but bear with me] Why not take some of those soul songs you and the band were rehearsing a couple months back, we'll take the tapes and 'jazz em up' for you. We promise, it'll be groovy, man. Like, then we'll schedule you for an appearance on Lawrence Welk right next to the Andrews Sisters and the guy who plays 'Camptown Races' on a harpsichord while  wholesome Mormon-types do their wholesome Mormon-dance around the dancefloor. Groovy, Eric, Groovy! Want some more smack?'

Now, considering this album's bastardized birth, I've certainly listened to it too many fucking times for good health practices to be followed. Hearing the 'True Love' song with that irritating boys choir that sounds like 50 Peter Bradys on the day the pubes started to grow, all over an oppressive, booming backing that reminds me of what the PA system at Auschwitz must've sounded like to the Jews coming in the gate. The message of the song? Some preachy crap about true love and shit, like I give a flying punkass. Oh, but Eric isn't at his worst here, that's on the falling-down pissed Sid Sings howler 'Wait Til Next Year', apparently some sort of N. English drinking song, or else it's a fucking Broadway showtune converted into a N. English drinking tune by Eric's pukingly Newcastle delivery. He sounds fucking horrible, like he's passing out right there in your CD Player, yakking up his deep fried Mars Bar right there on the laser lens. 'It's Not Easy' sounds strangely like some outtake from Satanic Majesties with all the weird noises muted out on the chorus and reassuringly like complete fucking bullshit the rest of the time. It's nice when you can rely on things. The rest of the record bravely carries on in the wake of it's more offensive brothers, beit how 'Biggest Bundle Of Them All' sounds like it's mistakenly being played at 45 rpm, how 'Help Me Girl' (which was recorded before the Animals broke up, though it sounds perfectly fitting for this asspoot of a record) and 'In The Night' show a complete lack of understanding of soul music. It just keeps chuggling on and on to the end, twiddling it's flutes and tinking it's pianos while Burdon digs himself further and further into the pit of darkness. This album is complete and utter shit, but it's still better (!) than what would follow. That stuff's more worthless than Pamela Anderson at a Harvey Fierstein film festival. Do you ever feel like you shouldn't have gotten off the boat, Chef?

Capn's Final Word: Dated schmaltzy hackwork like what used to load up everyone's record collection. That's no reason to have it plug up valuable CD storage space now 37 years later.

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Winds Of Change - One Way 1967.

Thar's some kinda smell on them winds, but I guarantee you it's not the smell of change. That's pure, unadulterated, USDA Grade A, 100% fat free, California Emissions standardized, cryogenically activated, freeze dried, BULLSHIT.

Eric Burdon has gone so far off the psychedelic deep end on Winds of Change as to make an album that is impossible to take seriously and an Olympian feat to frigging listen to. He's transformed himself from the turbocharged Scot bluesman of the early 60's into the sort of burnout you see passed out in the corner during a Hot Tuna concert. He's so fractured by his new love for hallucinogens that his entire decisionmaking process is ruined...he can no longer tell a good idea from a crap one, and lemme tell ya, he comes up with enough crap ideas on this LP to last most people through a nuclear winter. He's either waxing nostalgic for the oozing sores of the Bubonic Plague ('The Black Plague') or rewriting 'The Story of Bo Diddley' as 'Winds Of Change', a sort of low-attention span history of his record collection  ('Lightning Hopkins played it heavy, Duke Ellington was a far out cat, Miles Davis kicked my ass once, Little Richard is the most groovy black chick you'll ever meet'…not real quotes there, but you get the idea). The rest of the time he just makes like a bummer and proceeds to alternately dull and depress us into submission. For a guy who apparently got some sort of kick out of the whole hippie/drug thing as to devote so much of his life to it, he makes it sound about as fun as a Black and Decker root canal. It's just this kind of frowning, acid-prophet doom 'n' gloom that gave hippies a bad name (and would later bear fruit in the form of heavy metallers like Black Sabbath, but they were more for boozers, potheads, and downer enthusiasts than acid crackpots, weren't they?) and it's not like he even does it well - there's more groaner lines based on 'hep' dialogue from 'the Sixties' when stuff was apparently quite 'groovy' and 'far out' unless you were 'dying' in a 'war' or suffering the effects of 'rampant racism' and 'racial violence' while your home 'burned to the ground' in a 'riot'. The worst offender is the horribly sexist 'Man-Woman', based on the lines 'Man! Woman! Desire! Love!' (notice the order of operations here, it seems to be ranked by Burdon's preferences) shouted like some sort of bullshit performance art piece done on Venice Beach by a bunch of USC film school dropouts. I love how the prescribed solution for a cheating man is to have the woman fuck better (no kidding)...I guess this is the Sixties, but was this ever not considered offensive as mugging retarded kids to sell their football helmets on Ebay? Am I saying Eric Burdon was out of touch? What I'm saying is that Eric Burdon has lost not only all contact with the tenets of good taste and comprehensibility, but also seems to have taken leave of the Good Ship Reality in his quest to ingest more windowpane than the entire population of the West Coast.  

Musically this album is interesting in rare and barren spots (cool trumpet on 'Motel Hell', the sitar on the title track is unintentionally funnier than the Christian Broadcasting Network is unintentionally funny) but mostly incompetent dreck Lots of ideas get abandoned halfway down the turnpike, like how 'San Franciscan Nights' starts out with this distorted guitar like it's going to be acid rock (this album, friends, is NOT acid rock, it's acid-influenced rock, and there's a world of difference, I hope you understand) then heads into this blowhard, loopy 'Public Service Announcement' before turning into a frigging Donovan song if Donovan sucked harder than an airplane toilet. Not that we'd want them to attempt acid rock, anyway, but they do on 'Yes, I Am Experienced' and 'It's All Meat', both howlingly incompetent attempts at Jimi Hendrix and Cream, respectively. Anyway, Eric's voice is so UP FUCKING FRONT all the time that trying to relate to this as a 'music album' is destined to fail. Oh, and this new band he's assembled? They have little or no personality, just a bunch of Stepford Wives sidemen to do Eric's bidding, at least as my ears detect. Maybe they'd improve later, but on here it's definitely the Eric Burdon show again, which is kind of like inviting John Kennedy Jr. to pilot the Mars mission.

What I'm saying heah is that I won't go and say that this album is an F, there's too many decent spots to go that far. The wigged out cover of 'Paint It Black' is pretty interesting as a take on the Stones song, as inferior and silly as it is, and 'Good Times' is a darn good song, and there's way too many moments on here that made me laugh out loud right here in my office that the pure entertainment value of some of this simply cannot be denied. In general, though, this album sucks ass dick-twat and manages to do so offensively.

Capn's Final Word: A high water mark for the involvement of bad taste in pop music.

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G. J. Donnelly Piranha_1@MSN.com     Your Rating: D+
Any Short Comments?: It takes genius to make an album this unintentionally fun. If there was one drawback about embracing the Yardbirds' LITTLE GAMES (which I do enjoy and still believe is better record than anything the Doors vomited up), it was that my mind was opened sufficiently to give this Wagnerian opus of wankage a listen. I can honestly say I've never head anything quite like it, unless you count the Shaggs. As a storyteller and philosopher, Eric Burdon makes a great Jerry Lewis. He has a knack for being completely full of shit---read his two biographies---while remaining utterly loveable, like a Homer Simpson with attitude. Eric is a one-man a(cid)-bomb of self-obsessed self-parody, from his ill-fitting paisley rags to the motley mooks he hired to back him up. Vic Briggs (he of the sailor's cap and HUGE blonde goatee) and petulant mope Danny McCulloch look like Zap-comix versions of dockyard laborers, though John Weider boasted the most formidable afro-perm this si! de of Julie Driscoll. They're a solid band, especially when the talented Barry Jenkins is allowed to cut loose on the skins, but their ungainly mix of R&B and psychedelia rarely meshes. Given direction and a good set of songs, they could motor, but instead they're labored with Burdon's delirious psychodramas and oily obsession with other rock stars. The spoken word stuff would've been tolerable had Burdon limited it to one or two tracks, but as usual, once Egg-Man latches on to a goofy idea he can't let it go. "The Black Plague" agreeably rips off the Yardbirds' Gregorian chant, but once Burdon starts growling "bring out your dead" I keep expecting King Arthur to arrive to the sound of coconuts slapped together. "Man-Woman" is a chauvinist's wet dream---who else but Eric Burdon could get trashed, screw around on his woman, make her "pick some tricks from her feminine bag" to keep him happy and set the whole thing to bongos. Then there are the oily love-letters to Burdon's st! ar pals and idols, delivered with the overbearing "personal friend of mine" schmooz of a Vegas crooner. "Winds of Change," (the history of pop music set to bad rhymes and a sitar riff aping the "Meow Mix" jingle), "Yes I'm Experienced" (a spiked Tom Jones tribute to Big Jimi) and "It's All Meat" (more name dropping, though at least the band kicks out the jams) each follow this formula, as would the hit "Monterey," which for all its crass eulogizing wipes the floor with CSN&Y's turgid "Woodstock," if only because of the fabulous groove from McCulloch's bass. Burdon's song ideas were nutty to begin with, but what elevates these tracks into the ether are his breathtaking lyrical ineptitude. "Hotel Hell" was a nice idea---loneliness on the road---with a tasteful mariachi trumpet embellishment. Then you hear Eric gravely deliver verses like "the telephone was dumb" and "the cigarette blows" and you wonder how our hero ever made it past the third grade. Nearly every Burdon origina! l contains at least one godawful line. Even "When I Was Young" gave us the immortal "and for girls, I had a bad yen." I'm guessing English wasn't a strong point in England. There are some respectable moments here ("Anything" is a corny but sweet ballad, "Good Times" is a sincere self-examination with geunine dramatic tension and "Paint It Black" is an interesting Turkish spin on the Stones' Middle-Eastern original) but overall the LP is a Gumby...it makes the brain hurt. It is easy to hate, but it takes a real listener to appreciate the unwitting pain it inflicts while still loving the perp for being the numbskull that he is. If nothing else, E.B. is a soul whose intentions are good, even when his brain malfunctions.

 

Alan Brooks     Your Rating: D-
Any Short Comments?: Well, the cover 'art' is interesting.

 


The Twain Shall Meet - One Way 1968

Dull dull dull. Eric returns to earth somewhat, at least in comparison to the oxygen-deficient Winds of Change, but this is still too much embarrassing Sixties arcane for me and my limited little mind to handle. There's a whole series of actual , certified, honest-to-badness songs here, which automatically raises the grade over the last one, and there's probably less stupid hipster crap and more actual songs and poetry going on, but this is still able to suck the finish right off of a bus. Forgive me if I prefer my psychedelia to resemble Jimi Hendrix or the Grateful Dead more than the frigging Herb Alpert Orchestra, but there you are, this is orchestrated mush with electric guitars and plenty of dark sounding chords, not great riffing and intelligent lyrics. Twain also has more of that weird downer vibe of the last one, sure to make listening to most tracks a dreadful experience that most of you would like not to repeat. From the endless, pitch-shifted 'Oranges and Red Beans' to the, well, equally endless guitar jam 'We Love You Lil', this is almost unconscionably dark and depressing bunch of snuff, and what I definitely don't want to get out of this kind of shitty album is a bummer mood. I only like being bummed out by good albums, dig?

Hell, this clown makes the Monterrey festival sound about as uplifting as a trip to the proctologist. 'Monterrey' takes the same approach as 'Winds of Change' from the last one...he lists everyone he remembers having seen play at the festival and says a little stupid thing about each one. You know, 'The Who exploded into fire and light! The Grateful Dead were a groove! Mama Cass ate half the hamburgers in Northern California! Even when the thing picks up speed at the end, it still drags like a '73 Nova with bad springs. 'Sky Pilot' is better, but I can't believe this song was a 'hit' (like I've ever heard it on the radio...psha!) with such a ridiculous basis in this kiddie melody and druggie lyrics that now just make me cringe. I mean, listening to it, I really don't hear any good songs, nothing I particularly wish to hear again, anyway. It's just a bunch of mediocrities that may have had potential at one point but got screwed up by a band that didn't know what it was doing and a sad clinging to acid rock clichés and some misguided big-band twists. I suppose I could go on, but no.

Capn's Final Word: Eric and the bunch feint towards musicality and fart all over us. Winds Of Change without the really embarrassing stuff.

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G. J. Donnelly Piranha_1@msn.com     Your Rating: C
Any Short Comments?: A bigger budget and less bullshit (relatively speaking; let's face it---no one, not even Yoko Ono, could top WINDS OF CHANGE for pure, unadulterated bullshit), but still a moldy flower power relic. "Sky Pilot" is a fun failure. Burdon's subject matter is worthy---the ties between religion and war---but his lyrics are frustratingly clumsy. Even so, the trippy collage of machine guns, guitar riffs and bagpipes remains a gas. "Monterey" is a corny, self-congratulating tribute to the festival, but as corny, self-congratulating festival tributes go it grooves the hell out of CSNY's boring old "Woodstock." Bassist Danny McCulloch offers two tunes, one of which ("Orange and Red Beams") was allegedly a favorite of Jimi Hendrix's (ahhh acid). Surprisingly, he could sing almost as well as Burdon. Unsurprisingly, his lyrics are almost as flatulent. The big, spacey production from Tom Wilson and Vic Briggs only highlight the half-assed, hilarious hip hippiness of th!e songs ("We're all one/the wind, the rain, the sun"), which is a shame as Burdon delivers some of his best vocals ever, particularly on "Sky Pilot." Bottom line---a microcosm of Burdon's hippy period: sincere, but awfully silly. If Monty Python were around, they'd send the Colonel.

darren finizio     Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: i think all of the eric burdon and animals lps are super fun and unselfconscious...critics like you analyze what was meant to be something that happened in the moment and was tongue-in-cheek to begin with...i find all of the lps between 67-68 very entertaining...rememeber, you can pull apart a musicians words and be the literary expert or just enjoy the music they make...these lps are no different than what any other people were doing at the time, especially from england -- uniting theatrical elements with sound-trips meant for adventurous types who know how to have fun...the lp "love is" is the most musically solid of all of them concentrating on erics magnificant ability to vamp psychedically on standards, something which people like the temptations and isaac haze would later adapt...what i like most about these lps is that the band are really talented and aren't afraid to be loose -- eric is a genius for alowing himself to do these often trashy goofball masterpieces -- must've been very fun to work with...also check out his work with war: more of the same, but more live soul-jams than psychedelic.


 


  

Every One of Us - One Way 1968

Let it not be said that the New Animals didn't improve over their year with Eric Burdon. This album is at least a whole lot less likely to make me stain my pants with vomit, and probably even containing sections of true goodness. This, dear mamas and papas, is a major breakthrough in Eric Burdon-ness, after three whole albums with probably a good 5 minutes of material between them. Yup, this has moments. Not a whole mess of 'em, but this is Eric Burdon and The Animals we're talking about...gotta give them credit for making baby steps towards a slight and tenuous level of respectability. This was recorded during a period of transition for the New Animals, as some old members (guitarist Vic Briggs and bassist Danny McCullough, at least that's what AMG tells me) left and organist Zoot Money (not, I don't know who that is, either) joins up. Not like it makes much of a difference, as the band seems like it's playing a lot less now anyway. Oh, there's still plenty of hippie crap here, that's assured ('Year of the Guru' is about how Eric's 'Gotta get a guru', which I think says more about Eric's abilities as anything else). I rather like the mellow Donovan-y opener 'White House', and 'St. James Infirmary', well it could almost pass for a really crappy Old Animals track circa 1965! And that's pretty frigging good!

Half of this album is devoted to a long suite 'New York 1963-America 1968' that bores like a hookworm on Ritalin. It starts off with an interesting recollection by Eric about the night he found out Kennedy died, on his first trip to the States, but that's all wrapped in some godawful thin 'Olde Worlde' melody, and then all pretentious hell busts apart all over this song, all but ruining it for anyone who isn't either a head case or a head. The next several minutes, at least half of this thing, is either completely unmusical (including a Winds Of Change-esque voice collage bit that sounds a whole lot to me like John Lennon's first three solo albums, and a spoken bit by some black guy who's pissed off about something, though it's never clear what. Can you dig how irritating listening to, much less writing about, this kind of lame album is? I wish I had the balls just to write. 'This sucks ass' and go on to another review, but I guess I'm not built that way.) but when the music does cook, as it finally gets around to doing in the final four minutes...surprise! It's pretty fair! Listenable R&B jams, that's what it is! Almost like what's on the first Funkadelic album, but without the crappy echo on everything. If this is what the New Animals could be, well, sheeit, that's certainly a direction to start walking in, isn't it?

Listen, the NA's released five albums in two years, and Eric Burdon was not exactly Paul McCartney when it came to writing new songs before that period began (not exactly Paul Stanley, either. Not Paul Shaffer. Paul Bunyan, maybe. Paulie Shore, no. RuPaul? He is a better songwriter than RuPaul, I admit). We're witnessing (or being held captive for, in my case) Eric Burdon's development as a songwriter. Well, he never did get real far, so you can do the math to figure out exactly how good these albums must really be, especially considering that even the best guys can't fill up 5 record albums in 2 years. But geez, this one actually has a song or two on it! Score one for the Burden! Now let's move on and see how he puts these wicked pisser new chops to use!

Capn's Final Word:  The New Animals make a case for being an acceptable R&B jam band, but only after they've exhausted all the other possibilities.

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G. J. Donnelly  Piranha_1@MSN.com  Your Rating: B-
Any Short Comments?: I can't really rate this album, as I've never heard the whole thing, but it does contain at least three decent songs. "St. James Infirmary" is the best thing this band ever did by far even though the mooks again ape the Yardbirds' raga-chant-blues formula. But here they pull it off with style and good taste, with the chanting "oh-no's" and sitar-style riffs embellishing the bluesy rhythm rather than smothering it. Plus the double-time rave during the sub-Jeff Beck guitar solo is a gas. I suspect you missed the point of "Year of the Guru" because it's a damn good satire that Burdon amazingly pulls off with real panache. For once, Mighty Mouth managed to pen a pointed lyric, taking the piss out mindless hippies who blindly follow any Maharishi-type scam-bug who crosses their path. It even has a clever twist at the end, as the Eggman realizes the wisest thing about a guru is being one. Credit must also go to his thuggish cohorts for once being able to balan! ce their tacky acid-metal shrieking with a driving R&B rhythm. Equally irresistible is John Weider's "Serenade to a Sweet Lady" a lovely, jazz-inflected instrumental easily as good as Jimmy Page's "White Summer." The lulling "White Houses" is the only other thing I've heard from the LP, and its curious hybrid of delicate noodling and a sub-Cream riffing is harmless enough until Burdon cuts loose with another knucklehead class observation ("High school girl getting ready for a dance and the guy next door is dyin' for a peek" is Eric's idea of evocative storytelling). This lumpen lump of meathead social commentary forshadowed every "working class" ode Bon Jovi ever farted (no wonder Eric sang with them at the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). I've not yet heard the spoken word ramblings, but judging by what Burdon gurgled up on WINDS OF CHANGE, they sound as enticing as a streetcorner wino breaking wind. This was Burdon's third album in less than a year and yet the Y! ardbirds were relegated to recording LITTLE GAMES in a fucking weekend. Tell me again Relf and the boys weren't mismanaged.


Love Is - One Way 1968.

Eric returns to the good ol' Old Animals formula for his final album with the New ones (including guitarist Andy Summers! Later of Curved Air! Even later of...Gasp!...Neil Sedaka's band!!! Good Lord Jesus Christ Savior and Keeper of All Us Fleshy Sinners! NEIL FUCKING SEDAKA!!!

He also played in the Police, pretty much revolutionizing the use of the guitar in a trio setting.

But NEIL FUCKING SEDAKA!!! OH, THE SUBLIME JOY AND GAIETY MERELY TO SHARE THE SAME PLANET WITH MR. NEIL SEDAKA!!! 'Laughter In The Rain' makes me so joyous upon contact that I'm forced to repaint my apartment and replace all my linens! Whooo!!)

I'm so uninterested in this album, and it's really mostly okay, by far the most entertaining thing this group came up with ever. But I'm already so worn out on these pinheads that if the last four albums were Eric's fault, if you don't feel like listening to this one, you can place all the blame square on my shoulders. They rediscover covers, doing a completely ridiculous bleak-acid-freakout version of 'Ring Of Fire' ala 'The Black Plague' or something and an energetic but mistaken cover of 'River Deep Mountain High' that must've made Tina blush as they only about screech out 'Tina! Tina! Tina!' for what seems like an eternity, and must've made Tina secretly wish she could kick Burdon square in the ass for what he made her signature song sound like. The Bee Gee's 'T Love Somebody' is somewhat better, as it sticks to the melody (for the most part), but I hope I'm not alone in thinking that if you can't do the Bee Gee's impossibly high harmonies (especially when your vocals have deteriorated like Eric's have), you shouldn't come within 10 yards of that song. Oh yeah! I nearly forgot the cover of Traffic's 'Colored Rain', quite a bit worse of than the other songs here, and, surprisingly, done just about the best of any of them by the Nude Reanimators. The vocal harmonies are out of tune enough to make your dog hang himself, and it lasts almost 10 minutes, but who's counting exactly? You want some decent acid soloing by Mr. Summers and something resembling a groove, and what you have to do is contribute 9:38 of your life for it...well? Well?

Well, I guess that's why I gave it a C+.

The originals is where things get actually good. Keewhooaaa??!?!? Good! Yeah, R&B grooves, just like that little morsel we got at the end of Every One Of Us, driven by Summer's guitar. He plays Hendrix bluesy ('As The Years Go Passing By') as well as he does Gilmour-spacey and Traffic-jazzy (that's Ummagumma Gilmour, not Dark Side Gilmore, btw)(and that Traffic-jazzy is more Traffic-jazzy than the actual Traffic cover, which isn't Traffic-jazzy at all), and both are just about enough to sustain these tracks' 5 minute running times.

Which is a bummer because both tracks run over 10 minutes. That's three 10+ minute tracks on one album, and 'Gemini the Madman' (the spacey/jazzy one) is SEVENTEEN MINUTES LONG!!! There's absolutely no way they weren't just trying to fill space by making these tracks as long as possible. Hell, they wrote less than half of them, and the other half are long and meandering jam stuff! Mostly! Don't look for specifics, because if I have to look up the tracklisting one more time I'm gonna contemplate pressing delete on this entire fucking site. I can't remember a damn thing on it over than the names of the cover tunes, and, quite honestly, I can't be arsed (respects to my fans in the British Isles, all one of you) to think any more about this band. Listen, I'm a Grateful Dead and a Frank Zappa fan, and I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would enjoy 'Gemini' as a whole. Sure, parts are okay, but as a whole song, it makes about as much sense as Gary Busey on nitrous going 150 mph on bald tires down the wrong lane of the Santa Monica Freeway in an icestorm on his way to donate a kidney to Slobodan Milosevic. So just lemme alone about it, okay?

Capn's Final Word: Never has the New Animals been better musically, but they're not writing their own songs. Never have they had such a listenable album, but they've pushed the running times far beyond what taste would dictate.

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Andrew R     Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: Haven't heard the album, but I did hear 'River Deep Mountain High'.  Why have you not mentioned the awesome ringing guitar line Andy chimes in throughout after the first minute?  It's a dull song melodically (haven't heard the Tina version I believe).  But I will listen to it just for that awesome line.  Even in the 60's that guy already had his shtick going.

And you know it was Stewart, not Andy, that was in Curved Air, right?  That's just one of your "misinformation jokes", right?  "Joey Ramone was in the Clash" - that's a good one.  We all know he was in the Sex Pistols, silly.

(Capn's Response: Ummm, ahhh, heh. Sure. That was a joke. That's the ticket!)

G. J.  Donnelly  Piranha_1@MSN.com   Your Rating: F
Any Short Comments?: Blame acid. There can be no other reason why Burdon thought recording a double LP of Iron Butterfly ripoffs and hungover covers as bloated as corpses rotting on the fields of Gallipoli was an inspired idea. This is the kind of LP one plays at a party when one wants people out of their house. Apart from "To Love Somebody", which is about at as edgy as supper club soul gets, this monstrosity is a migrain from start to finish. Nobody in Burdon's band can sing back-up in key, the musicianship is lumbering and directionless and Eric improvises lyrics like he's auditioning for a spot on the GOLDEN THROATS album. WINDS OF CHANGE and TWAIN SHALL MEET were at least dumb in a fun way. Here we get an avalanche of dumb and none of the fun. Useless, unless your idea of a good time is listening to Eric pant Tina Turner's name over and over. Sadly, after a promising stint with War, Eric returned to this crappy style of post-senile acid rock (you think this is bad, cock!  an ear to SUN SECRETS---a Spinal Tap record without the charm) throughout the '70s and his stock plummeted accordingly until a pair of Animals reunions managed to resuscitate his rep (and his bank accounts).


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