The Animals

*special introductory paragraph!
*In The Beginning
*With Sonny Boy Williamson
*The Animals
*On Tour
*Animal Tracks
*"It's My Life"/"I'm Going To Change The World" 7"
*Eric Is Here
*Winds Of Change
*"When I Was Young"/"A Girl Named Sandoz" 7"
*The Twain Shall Meet
*Every One Of Us
*Love Is
*Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted
*Rip It To Shreds: Greatest Hits Live
*Official Live Bootleg 2000

The first thing that people need to realize is that there is a big difference between an 'animal' and a human being that happens to play in a rock band called "The Animals." I'm tired of explaining to people that Chas Chandler isn't 'that deer on the cover of In The Beginning' and if I hear one more person asking my dog to sing "Sky Pilot," I'm starting up an 'Asker Ball Tree.' The Aminals were an early '60s British r'n'b combo that starred beefy-voiced Eric Burdon on vocals, Leslie Speaker/Hammond Organist Alan Price on keyboards, and my bloody Hilton Valentine, future Jimi Hendrix discoverer Chas Chandler and steely John Steel on three other instruments TBD. Their early catalog is a complete mess thanks to American record labels thinking they know how to program an album more delightfully than their British counterparts; I unfortunately only have the American releases so it's all kinda fucked but I'll do the best I can with the SHIT at my disposal. So the early Animals had great oldie tough r'n'b and rock classic hits like "Boom Boom," "House Of The Rising Sun," "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" and "Don't Bring Me Down" until the whole band disappeared and Eric replaced them with psychedelic hippies. Later the original band reunited twice.

The important thing to remember, however, is that no matter how much you THINK you love The Animals, you actually don't because most of their hits were covers. So no matter what ANYBODY tells you (ie "It's okay to like a band that plays all covers if they bring their own stamp to it." "What's the big deal?" "Lighten up and stop being such a tightass!"), you CANNOT like The Animals. Except a couple of their godawful psychedelic albums because Eric Burdon's LSD wrote a bunch of those...umm... well, we'll call them 'songs' for lack of an appropriate word. Also, while we're on the topic of The Animals for a brief moment, let me cuss loudly to the Heavens that some of their greatest songs never actually made it onto any of the American releases. These non-LP stragglers include "A Girl Named Sandoz" (later covered by Smashing Pumpkins!), "When I Was Young" (later covered by both Tina Turner and The Ramones!), "It's My Life" (later covered with a tarp and left behind the gymnasium!).

Reader Comments

alainna Earl
I don't know if this will appear on your website or not, but I hope you put it on there just so people can see your not' The Almighty of Record Reviews'. To be honest, I like George Stratosin and that Jeff guy, more than you. They actually 'talk and give insight' into artists and have opinions longer, than two paragraphs. (In your case, a 5th grade essay, seems to be the extent of your abilities). Even the way, you write things, is stupid. Can you even explain yourself, without sounding foolish, and like you pretty much know everything?

You gave no real base, as to why you think people can't love a band, that frequently covered other artists song. Yes, 'The House of the Rising Sun', was written and song by Bob Dylan on his second or first album. But it's remembered as what? An Animals song. Because however brilliant Bob Dylan is, Eric Burdon simply mastered the song by putting his all into the song, as he does in all or most of his songs. Show me a single record, that Eric Burdon did not sound fantastic on, or didn't simply make the song his own. All those arguments you posted are complete truths and I don't see why that's a problem. Frankly, I don't care for much of the original Animal cover song, except Bo Diddley's ' Pretty Thing' which is still mastered by The Animals. You can like covers by another artist and you CAN like (or love), the Animals. Feel free to respond.

In The Beginning - Wand 1973
Rating = 3

In the beginning there was nothingness, then Lord God lent a hand. And high above the shadows came a something something land. GODDAMMIT WHY CAN'T I REMEMBER THE WORDS TO THIS DON MCLEAN B-SIDE!??!?!

This album blows. It has all the HALLMARKs and calling CARDS of kickass early Animals r'n'b -- Chas's expert busy bass, Alan's twoot-tweet Hammond and Eric's American-sounding nearly-black-Southern low bassy raw rough great voice (possibly the greatest voice in early '60s white blues/rock/roll - sure beat hell out of weedy Mick Jagger, 'kid going through puberty' Keith Relf, and clueless Roger Daltrey anyway!) -- but the interchangeable riffs wear really fuckin' thin after a while, much more so than on the studio records. Granted, this was early early (December 30, 1963), but the songs are all 12-bar blues constructions performed with the same exact instrumentations and dragged to extraordinarily bland lengths through endless interchangeable organ solos. Also, it being an early 60s live recording, the dumbassed producers put a loop of audience "Yay!...Yay!...Yay!" between every song to give it that authentic "real-live in-person concert performance for a group of Autistic children" feel.

The songs are all covers of songs by black people -- oh hell! I forgot to tell you this! Eric Burdon wanted to be black. I read his book, and he says in there that he always felt much more in touch with black people and black culture than with his own. And he really DID sound pretty black in his vocals - at any rate, he sounded as American as a shrimp barbecue when he sang, which makes it all the more startling when he speaks to the crowd between songs and you can't make out a single word through all the bleedin' bloody barmy British buffoonery. Also, have you heard of this band called "Guided By Poices" or something like that? A dude sent me 18 of their albums on an MP3 disc, and they're fantastic! I expected them to suck because so many college people like them, but man! Great songs! Great SHORT songs a lot of them too! I can't say I like what little I've heard of "Modesto Mouse" though. Maybe I just need to give that band more time.

But back to the live Animals. They do two Chuck Berry songs, two John Lee Hooker songs, one by some guy who wants to be Chuck Berry, one by Bo Diddley, and one by Duke Ellington. The incessantly basic bluesy chord changes make me shout "CHRIST! SHUT UP! SHUT SHUT SHUT UP!!!," especially after listening to the band members sing back-up "Heeeey Bo Diddley!" for seven and a half minutes. Then they fuckin' sing the backup vocals WRONG in "Almost Grown" (just as David Bowie's loser friends would later during his BEEB Session). You know what? To Hell with all of it. ALL OF IT! Except "Boom Boom," which has always been one of my favorite Animals tracks studio-wise, and they don't screw it up live even though Eric sings it differently with different lyrics and what-have-you ("Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell and all those chimps"?). Also, Sonny Boy Williamson incompetently drums on "C Jam Blues" while Eric shouts "Sonny Boy is the King of the Blooooooze!" which is totally something Jim Morrison would say six years later probably.

So love The Animals for their ruledom, but don't waste your time with In The Beginning. Sure, their early studio albums were full of 12-bar blues constructions too, but at least they fiddled around with arrangements, styles and varied instrumentation. On here it's just the same godforsaken Chuck Berry riff over and over and over again until hair grows in your ears, thus rendering you attractive to women.

I just saw A History Of Violence on the large screen, and I must say that although I really enjoyed watching the film, the pacing seemed WAAAAY off (why was the climax in the MIDDLE of the film?!) and the ending was a lot more formulaic than I was expecting from David "Videodrome, Crash, The Dead Zone, Rabid, M Butterfly, Naked Lunch, Spider, They Came From Within, The Brood, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Scanners, Fast Company, Crimes Of The Future, Stereo and Existenz" Cronenberg "Along With On-Screen Appearances In Into The Night, Nightbreed, Last Night And Thousands Of Other Films With The Word 'Night' In The Title." And regardless of its colorful cover artwork, the sound of this album is completely black and white early '60s monophony.

God I fuckin' love Monophony. Especially being a shoe and getting sent to jail all the time!

Nike Impax Run II Plus/Size 11/Right Foot
Cell Block #2124-F

Reader Comments (Oran)
dude!! i can't believe it took you so long! didn't you know that GbV is the best fuckin' band in the history of rock?!? with the best vocals ever? and the best melodies ever ('best' as in - 'better than the beatles or anyone else')?

i actually remember a comment you wrote about them a few years ago - you thought they were ok but nothing special. so, i'm glad you've seen the light...

i'd love to read your review of the GbV discography. it'll be difficult though - the 18 albums you got are just the tip of the Robert Pollard iceberg...
If you want to knock around a band that was very exciting for its time (at least all the material that Alan Price played on), at least get the organ make right. He used a Vox Continental portable organ that was made in England by Jennings Musical Industries; in the studio he used a Vox AC 30 Amp. Most of the English groups used one, but Alan Price, crook or not, was the master of the instrument. He didn't switch to a Hammond and Leslie until forming The Alan Price Set in late 1965. A great example of what a Hammond and Leslie sound like can be heard on their second record'I Put A Spell On You" in 1966. An even greater example of a Hammond and Leslie sound can be heard by Procol Harum's Matthew Fisher playing on "A Whiter Shade Or Pale"; it doesn't get much better than that. I owned a Vox organ myself back in the 60's, and its raw sound fit the music perfectly, but it doesn't sound even remotely like a Hammond.

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With Sonny Boy Williamson - Charly 1982
Rating = 3

Hmm. Well, as it turns out, In The Beginning is actually also included in its entirety on this double-album, along with a couple other songs and Sonny's set backed by the non-Burdon Animals. Sonny was already in his sixties and was to pass away within the next two years, but his youthful exuberance and apparent toothlessness shine through in this spirited gummy old-man performance of several interchangeable harmonica blues songs that bore the spirit of Jesus out of me. That's just me though. And Sonny Boy Williamson wasn't born for my pleasure. Sexually perhaps, but his music was never intended to appeal to young people of the youth generation like me. I'm young and free - he was old and part of the corporate machine system. How was he to know that his music wouldn't appeal to the young youthful people like me that would be young one day?

The Animals back him up nicely though, particularly in Willie "Richard Nixon" Dixon's classic "My Babe" and the bouncy "Sonny's Slow Walk," which, if you're a former Saturday Night Live fan, sounds a lot like the theme to "Jackie Rogers Jr.'s $100,000 Jackpot Wad." In additiom, a young Eric Burdom hops onstage to perforn a couple of duets with Mr. Williamsom, including a gigantically exuberant "Talkim' 'Bout You" and a gargantually stultifying "The Night Time Is The Right Time." Fans and merrymakers will find much mirth indeed in Sonny Boy's obvious unfamiliarity with these tracks, which finds him accompanying Eric's actual lyrics with tuneless shouts of "BAY-BAY!... BAY-BAY!" And who could fail to enjoy Eric's cute lyric, "Sonny Boy Williamson is the King of the Blues/Makes me wanna put on my dancing shoes!" Presumably to dance very slowly to a dying man wheezing into a harmonica.

Incidentally, Sonofa Bitch Williamson was a very odd dude, all filled with lies and weirdness. Read the All-Music Guide synopsis of him; it's pretty crazy. He was actually the SECOND Sonny Boy Williamson, having stolen the name of a popular performer in his early career in an attempt to trick people into thinking he actually was that popular performer.

Say, you know what's amazing? The guitar chops of Hilton Valentine. MAN, can that guy play an A and an E!

Reader Comments (Elliot Imes)
i am shocked that you would give this such a low grade! yeah, most of the songs are covers, but i really think most of these songs totally smoke. really dirty, grimy, and and sonny boy sounds amazing on it. a 3 is waaaay to low. i'd give it a 7.

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The Animals - MGM 1964
Rating = 8

Features such classic cover material as "The House Of The Rising Sun," (Bob Dylan), "The Night Time Is The Right Time" (Creedence Clearwater Revival), "Talkin' 'Bout You" (The Hollies), "I'm In Love Again" (Carl Perkins), "Around And Around" (Germs), "Girl Can't Help It" (Journey) (kidding), and "Memphis, Tennessee" (Elvis Presley), as well as such unforgettable original material as the band photo on the front cover.

If you want to feel like you've been rolling around in a pile of dirt, The Animals are the band for you. I don't know if it's Eric's rough and soulful (yet melodic!) voice, the grubby early '60s recording technique, the scuzzy dead guitar tone, the bag of sod I poured in my ears or what, but this music just feels DIRTY! And I don't mean dirty like the number 69; the songs actually sound like they were recorded by five men covered in dirt! I can sort of even SMELL dirt while it's playing. Underneath the mountains of cocaine caking the interior of my nose, sinuses, brain and limbic system, that is!

Also, while most of the British r'n'b bands of the early '60s sounded like dork white kids trying to play soul music, Eric Burdon actually did sound like a black American (and by extension, his band sounds sorta black too! Or at least a mixed Booker T. and the MGs-type deal). With this advantage over their poseur competition, it's no wonder the Animals were so adamant about remaining blues purists intead of going 'pop'. Well, that and the fact that at this point in time none of them could write a decent song if the fate of the entire universe depended upon it.

The debut American Animals album is mainly comprised of two overlapping styles of song: (1) basic 12- and 16-bar r'n'b progressions, and (2) the theme to Sesame Street. However, the energy is so infectious, the bass lines so fun to bounce around to, the vocal melodies so catchy, and Eric's voice so overwhelmingly COOOL(!!!!) that any fan of early '60s music should be "all over it" like a drunken rapist on a 7-year-old gi - hang on

Sorry, my Charles Bukowski filter switched on for a second. You know what else about this album? Regarding what it sounds like to your ears? This music sounds horribly dreadfully painfully bloodlettingly torturously HAPPY AS ALL HELL! As awesome as they are, the ominous threat "House Of The Rising Sun" ("Oh mother, tell your children not to do what I have done...") and murderous gangsta rap "I'm Mad Again" ("I don't know what I'm gonna do with you. I might drown ya! I might shoot ya!") aren't at all indicative of the overwhelmingly gleeful goodtime vibe of the rest of this record -- even "Gonna Send You Back To Walker" sounds like the narrator absolutely adores having his girlfriend cheat on him! But we all need a respite from smiling sometimes in life, and it's naive to think that 1960s man was any different. Did you know it takes 450 muscles to frown but only 1 to smile? That's why happy people have no muscle tone.

As for me, I really like this record. The instrumentation certainly doesn't blow me away and a few of their interpretations are a letdown ("The Night Time Is The Right Time"? More like "The SHITE Time Is The SHITE Time," if you...etc), but for the most part they've chosen good material and adapted it to their dip-dee-dow-dow-doo guitar style and dwee-dwee Hammond organ tone swimmingly. Trainspotters might note that they perform two Chuck Berries, two Fats Dominos, a Ray Charles, a John Lee Hooker and a bunch of other people who will never be famous because they're not cute and in their early '20s like Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker are.

Also, isn't it awesome how whenever I see the poster for Transporter 2, I think it says Trainspotting 2? Man, that would kick SO MUCH ASS! It could be just like the first one except THIS time, instead of HEROIN, they're all addicted to SPUDS!!! THAT'S RIGHT!!! A WHOLE FUCKING MOVIE BASED ON A FIFTH-RATE "WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC SONG!!!! I'LL START THE SCRIPT RIGHT NOW!!!!




Reader Comments

Benjamin Burch
The animals really had a promising career ahead of them, and it's a shame they fell apart after only 2 years. This album is just a straightforward kick ass rock 'n' roll album, and though it's full of covers, most of them even match up to the originals. This album is also much better than the stones or the kinks' debut albums. Other than the sped up backing vocals on "The Night Time is the Right Time," the album is perfect.

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On Tour - MGM 1965
Rating = 8

Say, have you ever created a circle (or 'hole') with your right thumb and index finger, and then pushed your left index finger in and out of the circle in a coordinated hand motion? I saw a guy do this the other day, and I couldn't believe it. It looked EXACTLY like a man and woman making love! Now, I'm no erotic cocksmansmith by trade, but I must admit sensing a bit of giganticism occurring in my front pants region. I was beginning to regret wearing sweatpants to the funeral when suddenly it occurred to me that this sultry hand motion also closely resembled a turd being expelled from an anus, then sucked back in and re-expelled, over and over again, for hours if necessary. This realization (epiphany) took care of my problematic woodpecker, but then my sphincter started to feel sympathetic and the next thing you know I'm crapping on the dead little girl's face. If it weren't for my knack with a false accent and tall tale about 'fertilizing the deceased for a fragrant entry into the afterlife,' I'd have been up Waste River lacking an oar!

Likewise, the Animals' On Tour album begins with their guitar-lickwified classic "Boom Boom (Gonna Shoot You Right Down, Take You In My Arms - I'm In Love With You! Love That Is True, Boom Boom Boom Boom. I Like The Way You Walk!)" and doesn't let up from there. But first, what's in a name? The Who's record company did this too -- what is the point of taking a bunch of brand new studio tracks, pressing them onto vinyl for fans of the band to enjoy in delight, and then giving the album a title that makes it sound like a live album? Were live albums bigger sellers than studio ones in the early '60s? And even if they were, who the hell would buy a live album with no hits on it? Or was the intention to serve as a reminder that The Animals/Who were in fact "On Tour" at the time of the album's release so teensters wouldn't forget to check their local listings? I don't get it.

But you should! Because it's a really good album. I'm told that it's sort of the American version of the second British album Animal Tracks (as opposed to the third American album, which was then unconfusingly titled Animal Tracks), so if you're a CD consumer, take note of that. We're again looking at a bunch of 12- and 16-bar blues and r'n'b progressions, but this time around they've upped their ante to include some jazz influences and much more impressive instrumentation. A full FOUR songs show clear jazz influence, for the first and basically LAST time in their career: these would include the fun-as-monkeys speed piano bopper "Mess Around," lounge jazz groove ballad "How You've Changed," slow melancholy "I Believe To My Soul" (featuring a terifically skillful jazz piano solo) and Hilton's jazz guitar virtuoso showoff piece "Worried Life Blues." The rest is the same old Animals vibe - not as uniformly gleeful, but still r'n'b-based music paired with a pop/rock approach. But here, let's open the cover and peek inside:

See that? Brown cardboard! In the future, let's take care to make sure an album jacket is gatefold before ripping its sides apart.

In addition to improving "Bright Lights Big City" 500-fold through hypnotic guitar and metronome drumbeat, and beating the crap out of the Yardbirds' tinny renditions of "Boom Boom" and "I Ain't Got You," Eric And Company herein present the first original Animals-written HIT SINGLE (and there wouldn't be many more in the years to come, so enjoy it while you car). This would be, was, and still is, a speedy anxious troubled blues rocker called "I'm Cryin'." I hope it was a hit anyway, as (according to Eric Burdon's book) Alan Price swindled the rest of the band out of their rightful "House Of The Rising Sun" royalties. Which is of course only fair because nobody listens to that song for its stupid guitar line or shitty vocals.

Artists covered on On Tour on vinyl on MGM Records include John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles and many many others. Some of the covers seem a bit ill-considered though; the Rolling Stones did a harder rocking "She Said Yeah," your high school marching band did a harder rocking "Hallelujah I Love Her So," and Eric sounds 100% bored and humiliated to be singing the la-de-da pop song "Let The Good Times Roll." Otherwise it's smooth sailing for fans of soulful belter bellowing, standard chord changes, and Hammond organs (Have you heard "96 Tears" or "Wooly Bully"? That's what a Hammond Organ sounds like.).

(Also, have you heard "We Didn't Start The Fire" or "Uptown Girl"? That's what a Male Sexual Organ sounds like.)


Did you notice how the text seemed to get much lower when the "E"'s turned into "O"'s? That's the Doppler Visual Effect.

Reader Comments
Mark: As that malpractice suit will attest, I don't know a spleen from a kidney, but I do believe you're mistaken on the sound of the mighty Hammond organ and the instrument Alan Price used on so many early Animals records. The tip-off is where you talk about the sound of the Hammond as used on "96 Tears" or "Wooly Bully" -- those are both classic Farfisa combo organ tracks. The Farfisa makes the sound people have in mind when they refer to a "cheesy organ sound." I don't know what they have in mind when they refer just to a "cheesy organ."

Farfisa's had the funkiest volume control, too, which the player manipulated with his or her knee. Made for some real rocking-out postures for those Farfisa jockeys.

Pretty sure Price used something other than a Hammond on those early records, anyway.

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Animal Tracks - MGM 1965
Rating = 7

It doesn't take a jellybag to notice that my incoming reader comment bag has been looking a little sparse over the past few years, so I am purposely gearing this review towards attracting a hefty dose of email correspondence from you folks out there in the Gallery Of Peanuts. Okay, here we go.

Only ten songs? Why, that's like only having sex with ten girls! Say, you out there - what was the craziest place YOU ever made whoopee?

Wow, five of these songs are originals! Still, I'd be hardpressed (OW!) to actually grant songwriting credits to the band members since they simply stole music from other r'n'b songs and put their own lyrics to them. In fact, three of their originals are so WORTHLESS and AWFUL that they alone brought the grade down from a 10 to a 7. Say, reader - who was the most WORTHLESS and AWFUL person you've ever made whoopee with?

This is the last of the early classic ramblin' rollin' Animals albums. After this, Alan Price split town, producer Mickie Most got a kick in the crotch, and the remaining members moved on to slightly different-sounding pastures. So, just like a maiden name, enjoy it while you can! Say, reader - what's YOUR mother's maiden name?

Classic Animals hits to be found here include the depressing yet anthemic bass-driven "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place," an all-time classic that finds Eric dragging his voicebox from low bluesy cool to insane desperate wailing in the course of three minutes; Sam Cooke's beautiful soul piece "Bring It On Home To Me," to which Eric brings a heartwarming (yet gritty!) sensitivity; soul-searching rocker "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (best line: the almost tossed-off "'Cuz I love you"); and fun as hell piano boogie "Roberta," in which Eric repeatedly implores that he's not mad at you (and that therefore you shouldn't be mad at him) before going on to explain that when you add two 1's together, the sum total is 2, and that furthermore if you take the additional step of adding 2 and 1 together, the end result is 3. Say, reader - what are the numbers on the front of YOUR credit card?

So those are the classics. Interestingly, all four of those compositions fall within the half of the album NOT written by The Animals. How could this BE!? Well, here's how it could be. The first Animals original is a remake of "I'm In Love Again" (or "Sesame Street") with different lyrics. The second is "Bo Diddley" with Eric telling a bunch of shit jokes on top. The third is a very pleasing soul ballad that should have been a hit and thus really doesn't belong in this derogatory paragraph. But the fourth is "Mannish Boy" with different lyrics and the fifth is a bland standard 12-bar blues on piano! Can you believe that? Yeah, I know! Actually I like the fourth one too; it has this really fun bouncy low piano tap note. Forget I mentioned that one. But the other three? CHRIST!@#$#$% @!! Believe me, their shelf life has LONG since expired! Say, reader - when does YOUR credit card expire?

In the interest of describing every single song on the LP, "Bury My Body" is a poppy take on the old folk-blues standard. Though arranged incredibly awkwardly (cymbal tap verse into STOMP-STOMP-STOMP chorus into really really fast part out of nowhere, and back), all three of the parts pretty much kick some ass so just pretend it's three different songs and you'll bask in the thrill of having gotten a great deal on it. Especially if you used your Visa, Mastercard or American Express. Say, reader - which do YOU prefer? Visa, Mastercard or American Express?

So that's the DETAILED look at the record. From a further out looking in standpoint, this collection of singles and crap left over from the first two UK albums is (obviously) not a step forward for the band, but it sure does include a lot of strong material performed in that wonderfully dirty and spectacularly dusty original Animals r'n'b/blues/pop/rock style. It's unfortunate that MGM chose to include the painfully hokey and overlong "Ballad Of Bo Diddley" when three better songs would have fit in its place (like the KILLER piss-off anthem "It's My Life," which I think was released only a few months later), but I guess it's no use yelling at the past.


Huh? No no, I was angry with my pasta, and calling it by its nickname.

Anyway, I look forward to receiving all your reader comments for this 'interactive' review! Also, wouldn't it be hilarious to rewrite your life insurance policy so everything goes to me? Ha ha! Let's do that, as a joke.

Reader Comments
You gotta be kidding about sparse reader mail. Ok, I'll play the interactive reader reply game. Here are my answers:

- esophagus
- Phyllis Diller
- Evie Amin
- same as yours!
- same as yours!
- Diner's Club
- life insurance? (Chris)
Hi John,

Here are my responses to the interactive music critique. Hey Paul, would you mind if I asked you a question? I mean seriously George you can't just give Aminimica 7 stars because Ringo was on it.

- On your bed
- One of my ex's, I can't remember her name but it starts with a B.
- Bin Laden
- 16 digits between 1 and 9
- It expires?
- Discover, as in I've Discovered that I have no money after buying albums that Mark told me to buy.
- My son! Where have you been?

This sounds just like the first album, except better. (This statement can also be applied to "Thickfreakness" by The Black Keys. More old school, kick ass rock 'n' roll, and since there isn't a bad spot on this album, I'll give it a 10 (at least by animals standards anyway). Can't quite pin down the best song here since the album is so even, but my favorite line here is when Eric Burdon goes "Eric baby you make me feel so good" during their excellent cover of "Hallelujah I Love Her So".

Not part of the review: I have the British version of this album, and speaking of the Black Keys, I was all set to post comments under their albums this morning, but to my dismay I discovered you never got around to reviewing them. They're back catalogue sounds more or less the same up until around 2008, and they're very consistent and reliable. More so than bands like the Animals at least.

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"It's My Life"/"I'm Going To Change The World" 7" - MGM 1966
Rating = 5

I come from the old school that says if your manager brings you one of the greatest songs you will ever record, you don't show your appreciation by firing him and putting a self-credited plagiarism of the song on its B-side, but hey! What do I know?

Although the lyrics confuse the hebb out of me (is he really saying "Are you gonna cry, when I'm squeezin' the rye/ Takin' all I can get, no regrets/ When I, openly lie/ And leave only money / Believe me honey, that money/ Can you believe, I ain't no saint/ No complaints/ So girl go out/ Hand it out" -- the fuck does that mean?!), "It's My Life" is indeed one of the darkest, toughest, meanest rockers that the Animals would ever record: a killer opening bass 'lick' welcomes by a brooding up-and-down guitar riff which then leads into an increasingly excitable, boastful bridge until it hits the gigantic anthemic chorus, "It's my life! Don't you forget!" Then Gwen Stefani rips off her fake vagina and

until it hits the gigantic anthemic chorus, "I don't care what you say anymore, cuz it's my life - go ahead with your own life, leave me alone!" and Billy Joel drives his car into a weather satellite, leaving a

until it hits the gigantic anthemic chorus, "It's my life - and I'll do what I want! It's my mind - and I'll think what I want!" Then Eric Burdon changes the key and ONE NOTE of the guitar line for an 'original composition' called "I'm Going To Change The World" on the B-side.

Oh alright, I'll be fair and admit that he does change every other aspect of the song besides the guitar line. But he makes them all WORSE! The pop-up-pop-down bass line is replaced by a single note over and over. The driving 4/4 backbeat is replaced by BAP-BAP-BAP-BAP. The stripped-down guitars and drums arrangement is brapped and broobled all up by an ugly Hammond organ. The classic vocal melody is replaced by the complete lack of a vocal melody. But hey - at least its captivating 20-second organ solo consists of a single annoying high-pitched note being beaten over and over as quickly as Alan (Dave?) can lift his finger up and down!

So if you buy an Animals compilation, make goddamned sure that "It's My Life" is on it. Because the B-side snorts blow. "I'm Going To Change The World"? With that level of songwriting, you'll be lucky to change your DOLLAR!

No, I know. Sometimes a sentence is structured like a joke but doesn't actually make any sense when you read it closely.

Reader Comments
Another really nice take on "It's My Life" in on the live album by (of all people) David Johansen, who does the song in a medley with "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" and "Don't Bring Me Down." Actually that whole Live It Up album by Johansen is good. Maybe you can give it a spin when you do your NY Dolls page ...
Do I hear Mick Jagger on backing vocals ??

Roger Atkins
Hello Mark,

My name is Roger Atkins and I wrote the lyrics to this song. I've only just been made aware of your site. I'm very glad that you appreciate "It's My Life" as much as you do. However, you have misquoted some of the lyrics. Below is what you think they are, and below that is what they really are.

Incorrect lyrics: "Are you gonna cry, when I'm squeezin' the rye/ Takin' all I can get, no regrets/ When I, openly lie/ And leave only money / Believe me honey, that money/ Can you believe, I ain't no saint/ No complaints/ So girl go out/ Hand it out" --

Correct lyrics: "Are you gonna cry, when I'm squeezin'em dry/ Takin' all I can get, no regrets/ When I openly lie/ And live on their money/ believe me honey, their money/ Can you believe, I ain't no saint, No complaints/ So girl throw out any doubts..."

I hope this settles the WTFDTM question! Also, you should note that Eric never sang the correct lyrics at the end of the chorus, either. He sings: "Show me I'm wrong/Hurt me sometime" but the correct lyric is: "Sure I'll do wrong/ Hurt you sometime..."

In the past three years or so I've been into the Animals, I never would have guessed that "I'm Gonna Change the World" is "It's My Life" with one bass note changed. When I saw on the writing credits that Eric wrote it, I automatically assumed it was gonna suck, but it turned out to be quite good! I hated the guitar solo at first, but I grew to really like it.

Much like the b side, the a side doesn't sound too different from the Animals hits of this era, and it's a slight letdown from their other three a sides from 1965. Still, it's a terrific song and would have fit perfectly on their second or third albums. I'll give this single a 9.

Add your thoughts?

Animalization - MGM 1966
Rating = 8

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcomining Dave Rowberry on Hammond organ and piano, Barry Jenkins on drums (on some of the songs at least), Tom Wilson on production, and a fuzzbox on Hilton Valentine's guitar. Put 'em altogether and that spells a slightly brand new sound for England's The Animals! They're still doing the 12- and 16-bar r'n'b jive turkey thing with their different tempos and stylizations, catchy guitar licks and such, but the mix seems slightly less filthy under Tom's thumb than it was under Mickey Moist. There's a bit more separation between the instruments, a bit more reverb on the drums, and a ton more volume to the bass. Man, that goddurned bass is louder than the guitar and organ in half of these songs! Otherwise, even lacking Price and Most, you could actually call THIS the last of the "traditional Animals albums" since their songwriting/playing style hasn't yet changed like it would in crazily major ways starting with the next record.

The most bizarre thing about this release is that the band contributes four brand new originals and all four of them are among the album's finest tracks. I've no clue how this happened, but it did! One gorgeous piano soul ballad, one bitter garage rocker, one gigantically fun piano boogie, and one mean soul-psych blaster = Four Fine Animals Kreations (F.F.A.K.), you! I'm not sure if any of them were hits ("Cheating" maybe?), but golly do they suggest that this band could have gone on to great things had they continued to work harder on their writing.

The hits were (of course) cover tunes - "See See Rider" and "Don't Bring Me Down." But hang on -- I read on AllMusic Guide a while back that one of the main reasons the Animals dumped Mickey Most was because he was bringing them too many 'pop' songs to record instead of the traditional r'n'b that they wanted to play -- and that "It's My Life" was the last straw that broke the last camel's final back. If such is the case (and I've no proof that it is - you'd have to ask Bruce Eder. Which isn't hard to do since he works at Academy Records on 18th St. between 5th and 6th), then WTF is "Don't Bring Me Down"? It's the same exact goddamned type of song as "It's My Life"! The same soul-meets-bitterness-meets-hardrock-meets-defiance-meets-great-fucking-song. Oh well. At least they didn't bite Tom Wilson's dick off when he brought the song to them! (Assuming that they didn't bite Tom Wilson's dick off when he brought the song to them -- again, check with Bruce Eder on this one).

Sooooo yes. It's still oldy-time-sounding Animals (except for the forward-looking psych-blues-blitz "Inside Looking Out") and perfect for your '60s rock catalog, with our fuzzy friends bringing their rumblin' tumblin' tone to classics like "I Put A Spell On You," "Sweet Little Sixteen," John Lee Hooker's "Maudie" (or "Shakin' All Over, As It Sounds Exactly Like"), Joe Tex's "One Monkey Won't Stop The Show" (or "Two Chords Over And Over And Over Again While Eric Just Talks"), and "Gin House Blues" (or "Dull Bass Guitar Drowns Out Everything, Ruining What Could Have Been A Majestically Melancholy Track"). It's neat how so many songs on this album have alternate titles.

Personally, I think if you're looking for just one Animals album, you'd be best advised to buy a greatest hits album. But if you're too good for that, this one won't steer you wrong.

Of course, neither will The Animals or On Tour. Good luck finding ANY of them on CD. By the by, Animalization is the American version of the British Animalisms with some songs switcherood. Neither record has anything at all in common with the American Animalism, which would hit shelves approximately four minutes later.

Reader Comments

Since I only have the british animals albums, I know this album as "Animalisms". Songwise it's not a big departure from the last two albums, just sound wise. When I heard this album for the first time a couple of years ago, I thought there was something wrong with my computer. I always liked Chas as a bass player, and (even though next to nobody has heard this album) I'm glad he's finally getting put in the spotlight. The bass is super loud throughout this album, and there's tons of echo and reverb on the vocals.

It's June of 66 and they are still relying on covers of old r&b songs. At this point they should have started writing their own material. Still, the playing is very tight and they haven't really showed any signs of slowing down just yet.

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Animalism - MGM 1966
Rating = 7


Mark Prindle


Foul-Mouthed 'Critic' Mark Prindle Awards Seven Stars to Legendary Band's Fifth U.S. Album

New York, NY - October 20, 2005 - Failed music critic Mark D. Prindle of Mark's Record Reviews ( today announced that he has awarded The Animals' Animalism LP 7 stars out of a possible 10. His previous album grades for the popular but defunct rock group known for such golden oldies as "We Have To Get Out Of The Place" and "Boom Boom" include "8 stars," "3 stars" and "7 stars." Mr. Prindle, one of the least-liked music reporters on the planet, begins his Animalism review with a brief anecdote about a man named Mr. Turd going to the gymnasium, before launching into an alliterative description of the LP that he claims he typed while dangling upside down from the chandelier. These asides and grotesqueries are among the least popular aspects of Prindle's reviews, and have led to his appearance in the last seven issues of Who's Who In Poor Writing.

"I'm very pleased to award The Animals' Animalism LP a score of 7 out of 10," said Prindle. "Written during a slow work day when my manager was out of the office, this review has the background and experience to strengthen my presence among the online music fan community and help take to the next level."

As stated in his review, Mr. Prindle finds Animalism to be "an empty shell of the Animals' former sound," specifically referring to it as "so minimalist and purist that it sounds more like Eric Burdon and a bunch of Chicago session musicans than the band that performed such hits as 'Don't Bring Me Down' and 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'." After noting that the album was the first Animals full-length to produce not even one hit single, Prindle uses the phrase "genital warts" four times in reference to Tom Wilson's strange decision to put all the drums in the left speaker and all the keyboard and guitar in the right. The text then turns yellow as Prindle claims he has "run out of monitor ink and (has) been forced to wring out the pants of a homeless man into (his) keyboard."

"Animalism is not for fans of the speedy, excited, young and filthy Animals of yesteryear," stated an actual music critic. "This is the experienced, older, calmer, higher, and above all cooler later-period Animals, willing to forego instant gratification in order to let the songs breathe and progress at their own relaxed pace," the actual music critic continued, adequately describing the general sound of the record without even once using the term 'smelly balls.'

Animalism does indeed represent a bit of a departure for The Animals, though you wouldn't know it by reading Mr. Prindle's obscene and seemingly written-while-high-on-PCP summary. Where a normal human being might mention that the album contains a significant number of 12-bar blues and mellow r'n'b songs, Mr. Prindle calls it "about as energetic as a medicine that induces nausea and vomiting -- No hang on, my dictionary broke." While a music listener with a working pair of ears might notice that these performances find Burdon and his fellow Animals creeping closer to the Creams and Fleetwood Macs of the late '60s than the Yardbirds and Rolling Stones of 1964, Mr. Prindle states, "Animalism? More like MINimalism, if you ask me!!!!," followed by several lines of capitalized H's and A's leading to what one presumes to be a 'punchline' of some sort: "Oh. Yes, I suppose it could have been an intentional play-on-words on their part." Finally, where most critics would acknowledge that the album does indeed feature some terrific and interesting band performances (though no original compositions), Mr. Prindle describes the album (in all caps) as "SAM COOKE (OO!), FRED NEIL (FOLKY!), BB KING (ARR!), DONOVAN (BLEORGH!) AND A BUNCH OF SMELLY BALLS WRITING INTERCHANGEABLE BLUESY-WUESY-WUESERS (sic) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Other highlights of Mr. Prindle's Animalism review include:

- "Best known as an excellent Soul Survivors b-side, 'Hey Gyp' finds Burdon going up to Gyp and saying 'Hey'"

- "A Burdon in band is worth two members of Bush. That makes no sense at all. FUCK!"

- "If you're an electric blues fan, you'll love this album -- AND TAKING IT UP THE ASS!!!"

- "Eric strains his voice so high in the leadoff track, you'll swear he left his dick in the grand piano!"

- "If I wanted to hear a bunch of slow boring soundalike 12-bar blues songs, I'd buy ANY BLUES ALBUM EVER RECORDED SINCE THE WORTHLESS SHIT GENRE WAS FIRST INVENTED"

Mark Prindle's review of The Animals' Animalism LP will be available for download on beginning October 31, 2005. Although the review appears to be free of charge, readers will receive an additional $19.95 per minute charge on their next phone bill (minimum: 45 minutes).

Located online at, Mark's Record Reviews is one of the Internet's longest-running and least good record review sites. Amateurish critic Mark Prindle combines boring stupid anecdotes, pointless and aggravating wordplay, horrifically witless obscenity, and never-ending lists of song titles to create what are arguably the least insightful reviews of any artistic endeavor in the history of written language. Readers are invited to add their comments by clicking on the "Add Your Comments?" links at the bottom of each review. Some use this opportunity to call Mr. Prindle a 'worthless unlikeable braindead piece of shit jackass"," but most simply get bored halfway through and leave.

# # #
Reader Comments
Good one.

Btw, the title of this album is a reference to La Ferme des Animaux (Quattrepattes, oui! Deuxpattes, non!) of the famous French author Georges Orweille. To tell the truth he actually wasn't French at all and his real name, in what I cannot describe as anything else but bold and outright lie, was Eric Burdon*. He was born in India and his father was the head of the local Opium departement.

It is interesting that this is not the only album title reference that I have knowledge about. For example, the title of the Fall's "I am a curious orange" is a reference to the hippie erotic movie** "I am curious (yellow)". So that's actually two different album title references that I know about.

*OK, so it's actually Eric Blair, as in Tony "Fuckhead" Blair. But his father really WAS the head of an Opium department.
**Tree-huggin porn
***This is a really great song in a Spongebob episode.****
****This is a fake footnote I made up in order to refer to the great "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight (Having a wonderful time)" song in the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Help Wanted", sung by Tiny Tim. (Ben Marlin)
How's it going? I hope everything's good, with you and Brenda and Henry. I just wanted to let you know that I came across your old review of Animalism by the Animals, where you turned your review into a press release for your review. What a great idea! You executed it really creatively. I hope you don't (or didn't) believe all that negative stuff about your site, because it's that type of review that makes the site so great. So, keep up the awesome work that you probably wrote several years ago and I'm just noticing now. Take care.

Okay... Now it's December 66 and they're still doing r&b covers. Staying "true to the roots" I guess. Sure there's some fantastic stuff here ("All Night Long", "The Other Side of This Life", "Rock Me Baby", "Outcast", "That's All I Am to You"), but like you I expected more out of this one. Apparently by this point, the original (aka "real") animals broke up, and I guess this album was released to keep their momentum going. Funny how this and the "Eric is Here" album weren't released in England when they came out over here. I'll give this one a 7.5.

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Eric Is Here - MGM 1967
Rating = 3

Then tell him to LEAVE! Heh heh heh. Yeah, that was good stuff.

(*retires a proud man*)

(*returns three months later upon learning they won't give Social Security to a 32-year-old*)

This is the most perfect example I've ever encountered of an artist cynically exploiting the name of his old band to bamboozle fans into buying an album that sounds NOTHING AT ALL like said band. I don't have the contacts to find out whether the name "Eric Burdon and the Animals" was an idea of Eric's or one that was forced on him by a record label aware of the flop potential of a Burdon solo album, but this album must have pissed off basically everybody who bought it in 1967. You know how The Animals played all that r'n'b material in a rock and roll style? And the way they brought a dirty rockin' feel to classic blues material while also performing darker material by young talented songwriters of the day? Well, if you liked such brooding rock classics as "House Of The Rising Sun," "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" and "It's My Life," you'll LOVE sitting through a whole album of schmaltzy orchestrated garbage!

Actually, I shouldn't oversimplify it like that. It's actually a stylistically diverse record, covering pop, soul, oldtimey music, bachelor pad balladry, show tune bombast, bubblegum and even early funk. But there are two major problems. The first is that the guitar/Hammond arrangements of The *ACTUAL* Animals have been replaced by horns, strings and sissy-toned pussy keyboards for little kids. There literally isn't a single guitar to be found on this record! Not that I've found anyway. Furthermore, Tom Wilson has once again pulled his misguided "all the horns, strings and bass in the left speaker/all the drums in the right" trick. I know as well as the next guy (Steve) that it's fun when a record takes advantage of stereo separation to do interesting things with the space of a room. But when you completely separate core instrumental components like this, the listener must sit DIRECTLY between the speakers or either (a) he won't be able to hear any drums or (b) he won't be able to hear anything except vocals, drums and a smudge of orchestrated frapp way down the hall.

The second problem with the album is a bit more dire. You see, even though they plundered the catalogs of such talented songwriters and songwriting teams as Boyce/Hart, Goffin/King, Mann/Weill, Ritchie Cordell and Randy Newman (THREE FUCKING TIMES!!!), they seem to have chosen only the absolute worst pieces of ugly hookless crap penned by each of them. Instead of "Last Train To Clarksville," Eric got a piece of hokey hippy crap that sounds like one of the 'serious' (non-cartoon, non-Muppet, non-watched) parts of Sesame Street. Instead of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," Eric got a Burt Bacharach-style ballad with seemingly no interesting components at all. Instead of "Indian Giver," Eric got a piece of tar-flavored bubblegum with a ball of shit inside. It's to Randy Newman's credit that all three of his contributions are at least passable, though it's also worth mentioning that Three Dog Night would three years later record a much catchier version of "Mama Told Me Not To Come" than Eric manages here. Incidentally, am I the only one who sings that song as "Mama Told Me Not To Come (In Her Face)"? If so, somebody call "Weird Al" Yankovic because I have an idea for a new movie.

Eric Burdon has a tremendous voice, but it doesn't suit orchestrated pop music at all. He has a BLUES/ROCK voice. Deep, raw, rough, confident and soulful. How do you think a voice like that is going to sound when backed by the queerly assfuckingest instruments in the world? Not that fans of brass sections and wimpy keyboards are GAY, you understand; you can like smoking pole without being gay. But this doesn't even sound like a band. Because it ISN'T! It's just Eric Burdon performing karaoke over pre-recorded orchestrated garbage arranged by a couple of George Martin neverwillbe's. If you don't own it, don't buy it. If you do own it, throw it away and wash your ears out with lye soap. You can always go online and steal MP3s of "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today" (lovely Randy Newman song) and "Help Me Girl" (the ONLY song on here that sounds like The Animals -- and even it has horns instead of guitar!), and none of the others are even worth that much hassle.

Unless you have some perverse need to hear what an Eric Burdon Vegas Revue might sound like (complete with ripoffs of "Hit The Road Jack" and "That's Life"), Eric Is Here belongs in your toilet smothered in diarrhea, not on your turntable (also smothered in diarrhea).

Reader Comments

This is one of my guilty pleasures. It doesn't really surprise me that not many people like (or even know) this album. I imagine that this album was made so Eric can get some extra cash after the original Animals dissolved.

I can imagine the average animals fan bringing home this album for the first time in 1967 and being repulsed by the fact that it's Eric Burdon and an orchestra instead of the animals. The orchestra here might even be Nina Simone's backing band.

There's only two songs here I'm not really fond of, the dumb children's song "True Love" and the one where Eric talks in a weird accent throughout "Wait Till Next Year." Even though I do actually like the version of "Mama Told Me Not to Come All Over Her Face," I agree that Three Dog Night's version was a hell of a lot better. Yes, I do agree that Tom Wilson did a really crappy stereo separation, and I couldn't help but notice the vocals were mixed a lot higher than the instruments. Yeah, I think a 3 is way too low for this album, and I personally give it a 7.5 despite how many things it has going against it. Probably the most overlooked and underrated animals album (even if it's not an animals album). My favorite song here is one I'm surprised you didn't mention "That Ain't Where it's at," but I find basically every song to be enjoyable.

Add your thoughts?

Winds Of Change - MGM 1967
Rating = 6

'Twas the Summer of Love, 'twas. And Eric Burdon found himself a whole new band of wild and free cats (coincidentally called "The Animals") to assist him on a mystical search for the ultimate psychedelic psyounds of L.O.V.E. As he states in text on the FRONT COVER, "The new world different from the old with new jewels to be consumed, new frontiers to be won, and much more love to be given. The recognition of existence of pain and ecstasy to know that they are both there in the pit of my stomach, and can be turned on or off as easily as a stereo colour T.V. set. I love you all, and want you to gain something from these new sounds as I gain from listening to my saints in past years. If you feel alone and confused and unhappy discontented, just know that I (and there are many like me) love you, and maybe you'll know why I am happy contented and un-confused. The games I play are mostly games of children (not all) happy games, games of love, games of mystery, games of wonder, please excuse my games of fear and jealousy, I'm only human after all and still a student of life. Maybe the next production will be all games of love, but by then I could be in another world..." Yes, 1967. The year that LSD converted every buffoon in the music business into a man-child philosopher with an important message for mankind. Strangely, they all came up with roughly the same message!

Nevertheless, this was the first album on which The Animals wrote nearly all the material, and the surprising thing is that it's not terrible! The new band shared Eric's drive to experiment with new sounds, new instruments and novel approaches to songwriting. The severe EARNESTNESS of their mission results in some hilarious moments of unintended comedy, but some of the songs have excellent hooks and, unlike some of the more cliche'd blues material of the earlier band, this material is never boring or predictable. They throw everything they can find into the mix -- sitars, violins, vibes, wind noises, monk chants, church organs, loud blasts of distorted guitars, gentleman's club sleaze ambience, bongos, triangles, horns, Byrds-esque arpeggios -- to create a bready hue (heady brew) of mix-and-match material mangling myriad moods, mindscopes and mgenres. I'll talk more about these moods and mgenres in a second, but first I'd like to recite some more of Eric's acid-soaked liner notes.

The back cover features a photo of Eric standing with his legs crossed, getting ready to write something on a notepad. Although the photo is clearly intended to signify the album's "Dude! We actually wrote all these songs!!!" nature, one look inside the gatefold and you'll wish somebody had grabbed the goddamned pad out of his hand so he couldn't have written all this drug-enhanced hippy love shit about every person he's ever met. I will now quote verbatim Eric's album dedications, in order to demonstrate the horrifying mind-rotting effects of drug abuse. This is intended as a first-hand warning for young people.

Roland Kirk - who is such an inspiration.
Dominic Behan - an Irishman.
Mick Jagger - who is really my brother.
Barney Platts Mills - an intelligent man.
George Harrison - from whom I learn from being in the same room.
Hilton Valentine - my guide and my conscience.
Alan Price - my musical brother.
Chas. Chandler - the voice of my home town.
My Mother - whom I love.
Kevin Deverage - friend.
Zoot Money - second father.
Peter Watkins - determined brilliant mind.
Collin Welland - an actor, a friend.
Giorgio Gomelsky - mad Russian intellectual.
Ann Ivil - my crutch when walking is difficult.
Eric The Head - the voice of Frisco.
Ray Charles - from whom I learnt so much.
President Johnson - whom I hope will listen.
Ho Chi Minh - whom I hope will listen (maybe with L.B.J.)
Miss St. John - who turned me on.
All the lads at West Central - whose knock on my door is expected.
Mr. Bertie Brown - who touched my young mind.
Georgie Fame - whom both me and my girl love deeply.
Eddie (Tom Tom) Thornton - truthful man from the land of the palm trees.
And the heavy gang at the North Eastern Electricity Board, Fossway, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Eastern District - whom I sweated and drank with.

Still interested in giving acid a try? Here, let me read you one of the musician credits from Winds Of Change. I'll give you, oh let's say... ONE guess who wrote this.

Danny McCulloch. Bass guitar.
All man is Danny!
And it costs so much bread!
But it's wort it eh Dan?
Don't dig things that are not solid.
But I'll get you in the end oh yah.
Is the world's no. 1 expert on Wimpys
(English Hamburgers)
Worships God, ketchup
and home,
Gives money away (he once gave $90 to a
car dealer in Shepherd's Bush during the
credit squeeze).
Never complains about anything.
We all love him,
and his corduroy suit.

And that's only the FIRST musician credit. Eric goes on to share empty-headed inside jokes about the drummer, both guitarists, producer (?) and ROAD MANAGER (!?!?!) before running out of space on the page.

Now then - back to the moods and mgenres. Talk about Experi-Mental! (That was pretty psychedelic the way I separated out the word "Mental," wasn't it? I'm training to be a Flower Child!) Forget your beloved blues-rock; here we've got (a) Eastern sitar meditation drone, (b) beautiful guitar picking over booming reverbed drums, (c) Eastern tonality guitar soloing, (d) dark modal guitar plucking (with powerful triangle accompaniment), (e) bouncy happy psych-blasts, (f) sissy bubblegum, (g) sweaty African bongo action (with funky triangle accompaniment), (h) melancholy folk melody with Tex-Mex trumpet, (i) hooky peace pop, (j) hippie folk balladry (with light schmaltz) and (k) noisy distorted crang-crang-crang ROCK!!! And sure, some of it is stupid and campy as hell, but it's ALWAYS a party on the ears in the way that only a record that's trying REALLY REALLY hard to be important and 'of its time' can be.

Even lyrically, we're talking a mad gas. Eric recites as much as he sings on here, but the lyrics are really quite interesting most of the time (if not always good). Various tracks find him:

- Namechecking his favorite musical pioneers (an endless list that includes Elmore James, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, Chick Webb, Charlie Christian, Billie Holliday, Alan Freed, Joe Turner, BB King, Charlie Parker, Louis Jordan, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, The Mamas and the Papas, Ravis Shankar, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. Okay, it's not literally endless)

- Converting a verse of "Paint It Black" into spoken word nonsense

- Reciting an awesome and creepy original story that combines Poe's Masque Of The Red Death with David Crosby's "Mind Gardens"

- Explaining to a surely-listening Jimi Hendrix that "Yes I Am Experienced"

- Telling San Franciscans that "whether you know it or not, you're beautiful"

- Assuring women that they can keep their men from straying by fucking them really good

- Describing the loneliness of life on the road while inadvertantly foreshadowing an awesome dark comedy/horror movie ("Hotel Hell"/Motel Hell)

- Insightfully bemoaning his party-hearty past ("When I think of all the good time that's been wasted having good times...")

- Explaining the true nature of the blues once and for all. "It's all meat from the same bone!" GET IT??? Well, if I'd take the time to quote a few other lines from the song, you would. As such, let's move on.

So basically there are some great melodies on here, along with a handful of boneheaded but interesting ideas. To my ears the only absolutely awful songs are the cover ("Paint It Black" - for SIX MINUTES!?) and the hit single ("San Franciscan Nights" - a bubblegum whimsy ballad they should have dumped on Davy Jones). The rest is a lovely mix of psychedelic dicking around and folksy mellow cool-down music. Tom Wilson's still doing his 'complete stereo separation of core components of the song' horsecrap though. Why do they keep using that guy? Does he have pictures of them giving Nixon a handy or something?

Reader Comments
All right! Great to see you've slogged through the dubious quagmire of the Animals discography and added some insightful reflection on it's content to the voluminous archives of music criticism. I'm a big supporter of the late 60s-era Animals myself, probably mostly because it's so obvious in it's 60s "this is the beginning of a new era" earnestness. It really does play like a time capsule from the era, where so many bands just tried anything and everything, and proudly stood by it as art, even if it sounded like baboons farting (smile! you're on Candid Camera, Fifty-Foot Hose!). And that Eric Burdon - not only could he sing his ass off (which helps explain the mystery of why he currently has no ass), but he always sounded 100% sincere, even when he was making music that was, frankly, embarrassing. Luckily, during the late 60s, he hit bullseyes more often than not, even though his shameless earnestness makes him an easy target for criticism.

Winds of Change is probably the most consistent Animals album from this period (or perhaps any period, for that matter). "Poem By the Sea" (darkly evocative!), "The Black Plague" (creepy-cool!) and "It's all Meat" (rocks righteously!) are probably the most impressive tracks, but really there's not a bad track here. Oh yeah, except for "San Franciscan Nights" - hoo boy what an embarrassment. The word "corny" just doesn't do it justice. I wonder if it was the inspiration behind Spinal Tap's "Listen to the Flower People." And I actually like the extended take on "Paint it Black" - he did an even longer (and better) version with War a couple years later - on "The Black Man's Burdon"). Then again, it's such a good song that it's hard to ruin it anyway.
Yeah, I had a couple of Animals greatest hits albums, and an Eric Burdon and War collection, and I was wondering why Eric Burdon can't make records anymore, 'cause he's got a GREAT voice. Then I found a cassette that was half-Zombies, and half Animals, and the Animals side had "San Franciscan Nights," "Monterey," "Sky Pilot," and a couple of other things, and it hit me: it was 'cause Eric Burdon's a fucking tool. I shoulda figured out from the War album title, "Black Man's Burdon," but I wanted to give him the benefit of a doubt. He's such a fucking tool that Mark Lindsay looks at him and says, "You're a fucking tool."

This gets a higher rating than "Eric is Here"? Booooooo! I'll give this album a solid 2. Fuck this album, I think it's terrible. Just one sloppy, completely outdated song after another. The only one I like here is in fact one of my favorite Animals (or in this case "Animals") songs: "Anything". It's unforgivable that they never did another song like that, and for the rest of their career they went in this ultra lame psychedelic direction. There are some good moments on this album, but they are few and very far between, and some of the stuff on here isn't even music.

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"When I Was Young"/"A Girl Named Sandoz" 7" - MGM 1967
Rating = 8

This may actually have come out before Winds of Change - not sure about that. At any rate, side A is credited to all the band members that appear on that album.

More importantly, Happy Halloweeb everybody! I wrote this review on October 31. So Happy Halloweeb everybody!

I had my first Halloweeb at ten. And for candy I had a bad yen. I ate quite a lot -- When I was young (doodly-doodly-doodly-dee) When I was young (doodly-doodly-doodly-dee).

I've always thought "When I Was Young" was an asswhistle because of the horrible cover versions by Tina Turner and The Ramones, but as it turns out, the original Animals version is a mean-sounding hard-edged master(cod)piece! As heard here, "When I Was Carl Jung" (tee hee!) simmers along on a dark throbbing bass, dual violin/guitar "doodlies," a good hard beat, an eerie vocal melody, and an unexpectedly raw and tough mix considering that Eric was in the middle of his psychedelic love phase. And that killer disintegrating buzzsaw guitar at the beginning?? Man, that frizzle-frazzle is worth twentyElectric Prunes records! (the really bad later ones). I give it a thumbs middle and then force my thumb knuckle into an awkward upright position until it snaps and the skin becomes completely separated from the muscle and bone, drooping slowly downward to the floor in a sickening display of water displacement.

And side B is even BETTER! And possibly the most obvious (and STUPID!) drug reference ever translated into song form. Come on, "A Girl Named SANDOZ"?! I don't think I've ever even been in the same room as LSD -- and even I know who Sandoz is! Here, let's listen:

"Well I met a girl called Sandoz/And she taught me many, many things/Good things, very good things, sweet things/ I met her one sunny morning/It was hot but the snow lay on the ground/Strange things, very strange things, my mind has wings."

Eric Burdon = King of Nonexistent Rhyme Scheme

The funniest thing about it is that the music is about as far removed from 'starry-eyed psychedelia' as you can get. In the year of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," Eric chose to tell his tale of lysergic self-discovery against a backdrop of swooping, bending kickass distorted bass, a stoned pothead guitar lickin' big and loud, a sleazy swaggering cheerful blues-rock riff, and cool/creepy xylophone notes. Okay, there IS a brief moment of acidic whimsy in the form of a short-but-hilarious 'dark lullaby' break with violin and music box. But come on -- a scummy bluesy scorcher about LSD!? This is a fuckin' BEER song all the way! It sounds like early Cows, for (Judith) Crist's sake!

Whichever way you pinpoint, this is a terrific single. I'm not gonna give it a 10/10 because that's just lame to give a 10 to a single, and you should really be out there looking for a good greatest hits compilation. However, just listening to the heavy, earthy mix of this particular single, I get the feeling that it probably didn't make it to CD without getting all pussied out. So on top of whatever greatest hits CD you find, I'd recommend seeking out this original single on ebay as I did. Six minutes of Heaven and cheap cheap cheap!

But enough about my visit to the World's Oldest Whore.

Reader Comments

Now where did this come from? Considering how unlistenable their last album was (aside from "Anything" of course), these songs are pretty good! They're not my favorite songs by the Animals, but I'll still give this a 7.

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The Twain Shall Meet - MGM 1968
Rating = 6

Animapsychedelia Part Two (out of two). All eight tracks on this LP are original compositions (for the first and last time ever), tackling oodleholes of different songwriting approaches and experimental arrangements while featuring the most godawful muffled mix of nearly any studio record I've ever heard. What the hell was Tom Wilson DOING!? Mixing it with his head inside a toilet bowl!? Where the hell are the drums? Why is the "Sky Pilot" guitar solo buried under unlistenably hissy 'battle noises' and bagpipes? Why does half of "Closer To The Truth" sound like it was recorded on an empty aluminum can jammed into a tape recorder, and the other half sound like a drunken guitarist wobbling back and forth across a room? These are questions that somebody should have thought to ask before the album hit record stores.

Just like the nadiricical Eric Is Here, this album says "Frig You, Guitars" to emphasise more artistic and mind-expanding important instruments as sitars, horns, woodwinds, celeste and strings. And just like Winds Of Change, they take their psychedelic psylliness far, far too seriously and wind up looking like complete buffoons more than once. When they're on, they're on though -- the highlights for me are the eerie, Moody Bluesy "Just The Thought" (aside from the dumber than dirt 'other band member repeating every line Eric sings' gimmick), East-Meets-West sitar/celeste dark declaration "No Self Pity" (aside from the stinking-of-patchouli lyric "I am blind! I am blind... But I still see.") and the very last 'classic' that the Animals would ever record: the wonderful, moving, noisy, catchy and tear-jerkingly sad Vietnam protest anthem "Sky Pilot," (which apparently is an army chaplain - WHO DA GUEST? Da guest is an army chaplain.)

So if you take these three melodically and thematically compelling tracks and combine them with the pants-upsettingly-funny misguided bullshit of the rest of the album - why mister, you've got yourself a contender for Winds Of Change Pt. II: Hippie Boogaloo! Check out the rest of this crap. Or, if you don't own the album, check out my brief descriptions, which are at least less likely to irritate your bowels than sitting through the actual songs:

"Monterey" -- about the four thousandth song of Eric's that's just a list of his favorite artists ("The Byrds and the Airplane did fly!"), this stunningly bad yet fast-moving schtick job sounds EXACTLY like a funny chase scene in an Austin Powers movie. How could anybody at any point in our nation's history have taken this song seriously? It sounds like Eric is running down the sidewalk shooting at a jewelry thief! Interestingly, that's how they'd recorded "Boom Boom" three years earlier. That's not Eric's voice - those are actual bullets!

"Closer To The Truth" - Groovy bluesy funk rock, as mixed by a man who has mistaken thumbtacks for earplugs

"Orange And Red Beams" - Yes that's right. What we all really, really hope for when we buy a record by "Eric Burdon And The Animals" is that as many lead vocals as possible be performed by one of the "Animals." Preferably through the most distracting sucky-vacuum noise effect available.

"We Love You Lil" - a guy whistling, followed by a merry folk tune performed on lead guitar, culminating in a 10-minute guitar solo with somewhere around four notes.

"All Is One" - If you're looking for insightful meditation peace and love music to get baked to, tune in to the bagpipes, the droning sitars, the Earthen bongos, the mesmeric strings, the hypnotic brass; turn on with the natural harmonic voices of the woodwinds, the "We're all one! All is one!" chant for humanity, the rising change within and without all of us, the steadily growing and pulsating re/progression of being into form, sound and light, the orgasmic interspatial explosion of universal harmony for all creatures; and drop out of an airplane to your death.


Reader Comments
Easily the most psychedelic of all the Animals albums, and it's also the first one I ever got. It's also my favorite. I got it because I loved the song "Sky Pilot". But there's plenty more to enjoy if you're into that psych sound. The free-form aimless mantras that make up the bulk of side two are entirely appropriate in spite of themselves - this is hippie sitar stoner music par excellence. The shorter songs on side one are weird but occasionally brilliant. "Just the Thought" is hauntingly pretty, very subtle and uncharacteristic of their usual sound. "Orange and Red Beams" (my One Way CD reissue copy lists it as "Oranges and Red Beans" - quite a difference!) and "Monterey" are kinda hokey - okay, extremely hokey. But mmmm..."Sky Pilot".... what a classic that is. Great verse melody, even better chorus, phased guitar solos, airplanes crashing, guns exploding, bagpipes honking all over the place... God almighty, I need a Bufferin. Overall, this album is a crazy mess of druggy murkiness, kaleidoscopic effects and maddening noise - everything a good underground psych album should be. This is an album that could end a marriage.
Sky Pilot? is that the song that sebadoh "sampled" on freed weed (i can't remember which of the two albums it was)? if so, that song's hilarious.

This is not a good album, but it's certainly much easier to sit through than its retarded predecessor. Instead of bitching about how bad this album is, I'd like to point out the good things: Tracks 2-4 are the ones that stand out here, and I guess the best one is "Closer to the Truth". It's quite hard to see what Tom Wilson saw in these dick heads. I'm giving this a 4.

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Every One Of Us - MGM 1968
Rating = 6

The Animals have posed for a black and white cover photo in order to inform you that they have exited their psychedelic phase. It was fun while it lasted, but then Eric took a mathematics course and up the ass went his "All is One" theory. In its place we find REALITY. You know how bands like to get 'REAL' after waking up from the lysergic colorful fantasy of 1967: The Beatles did That White Album, The Rolling Stones did Beggars' Banquet, and the Animals were right there alongside them, trashing 'gurus,' getting their hands scabby on some REAL acoustic guitars, and returning to good old REAL back-near-basics electric blues rock of REALITY. Helicopter, you know what they did to be even REALER than That White Album and Bugger Baby Buggy Bumpers? They included dialogue of a REAL documentary nature! Capturing the REAL-LIFE worries of a black American war veteran and the (fake) REAL exchange between two hard-up and suffering British working glass blokes. Forget you, horns, flutes and sitars of peace, love and understanding! Your colorful hues and calling Mick Jagger your brother aren't REALITY! Poor people, acoustic guitars, and macho electric blues rock -- that's REALITY. There are some terrifically confident and memorable songs on here as well, in and among the HUMILIATING BATSHIT NONSENSE.

That wasn't the nicest thing I've ever said. But seriously - what's up with that shitty little girls' song at the beginning of the album? Do I smell gay or something? No! I bathe in MANLY SWEAT! Provided by naked sweaty men in my shower. Therefore, I clearly find women attractive. But that first song? Come on! Let's not even TALK about it, and whether or not it has a title. In addition, Eric Burdon should not have chosen to sing "The Immigrant Lad" in his 'boy with no testicles' voice.

So there's this whole batch of acoustic stuff on side one, right? Some of it's good (especially the melancholy folk instrumental!), some okay, some terrible. But then suddenly it shifts over into the blues/rock portion, which kicks some TOTAL ASS with America's favorite blues classic "St. James Infirmary" benefiting from a bass guitar going "BWOOMP." And once you've heard Eric's awesome rock/blueser making fun of gurus, man you'll NEVER go back to gurus! Who's with me?

Then comes the snag. A snag perhaps related to the fact that this band released three studio albums (one a DOUBLE!) in 1968. And that snag? Why, that would be the 19-minute track on side two. The first portion features some pretty acoustic arpeggiation, then the black guy talks and we're all fine and dandy. But after the black guy's done talking - and this ALWAYS happens when black guys finish talking - the entire rest of the record is wasted on a TERRIBLE SHITTY LOUSY funk blues thing! And I don't mean a wicked one like "The Soft Parade"; this directionless, hookless mess will make you vomit and have diarrhea at the same time, probably through your nose. What a way to destroy a promising release! Eh well, it was flawed anyway.

So That's My Momma! A bunch of acoustic guitars, some good songs, some bad. Some tough guy blues rock. Some people talking. Some this, some that. Also a 20-second hilarious fancy-voice vocal with dumb lyrics. SOMEBODY PUT ALL THESE NOTES IN SOME SORT OF ORDER SO THAT IT LOOKS LIKE A RECORD REVIEW.

Also, no offense but I want every Christian politician in office to be replaced by a porn star. Preferably a naked girl one who gives speeches while sitting on the camera. I'll be like "Dude, turn it to C-Span."

Then Dude won't turn it to C-Span and I'll get upset and briefly consider crying.

Reader Comments
"WHITE HOUSES"?? IS THAT THE GIRLY SONG YOU HATE SO MUCH?? C'MON, SAY IT! CHOWDAH! I always thought it sounded like the mid-70s Grateful Dead at its wimpiest - that faux-Carribean melody thingy over the chorus is so corny. And yeah, that tedious R&B jam at the end is totally unnecessary. It's filler, and I don't wanna hear it! One listen, and I'm seeing red! And as surely as the CD case can be used as a straight edge, Eric Burdon sure is a small man (with a) big mouth. I'd like to get him to stop releasing such unnecessary tracks, but it's like screaming at a wall. Damn, I almost made it to the end of the EP, but at this point it would just seem forced if I continued.

The good moments on this CD are fantastic though. "Serenade for a Sweet Lady", a nice John Weider instrumental, is a nice piece of latin cocktail jazz, but very dark and moody. "Year of the Guru" is early rap-metal! With incense! It's hip! If you're not! "St James Infirmary" is a fantastic psych-blues take on a tired old blues standard - sounds like Cream! And lastly, the first part of the 19-minute tune that closes the album is GREAT. A couple of guitars doing an arpeggiated waltzy thing, a deep bass sustained throughout, well-placed low-key percussive accents, and fondly nostalgic lyrics about how America "blew his mind" when he first visited there. For some reason I think it's kinda funny how he rhymes "willin'" with "Bob Dylan" - the correct rhyme of course should be "Lowell George".

Jeez dang - these slow Friday afternoons at work really bring out the prindle factor in my writing habits.

I didn't realize it until I read your review, but they did gone the psychedelic bullshit down here, instead, we get the lovely "New York 1963 - America 1968". What the fuck is that?! That "Gotta Be Free" thing at the end is okay, but other than that, it's pretty abysmal. The rest of the album isn't quite that way, and some of these songs are pretty good! Never understood "White Houses", but I've always liked it. "St. James" and "Guru" are great too, and "Serenade" is a gem as well. So, aside from that atrocity at the end, and those dumb opera singers on "Uppers and Downers", this album isn't half as bad as I remember it being.

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Love Is - MGM 1968
Rating = 7

Hey check this out -- I've got a "message in a bottle" to tell you! It's about the new guitarist that Burdon picked up for this album. "Don't stand so close to me" when I'm trying to tell you who the guitarist is! I'll give you a hint: because he was "so lonely," he later went on to fame and fortune in his own band about a decade later. I know that since I "can't stand losing, you" might feel the same way and are thus getting upset because you can't figure out who this guitarist is. Or perhaps you're my old church choir teacher "Roxanne" and just wanted to pop in to see how I'm doing. I'm fine! But back to the topic at hand - Say! Did you hear that some guy from NASA is "walking on the moon"? Also, just FYI, "when the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around."

But enough of my silly hintiness. Did you guess correctly? That's right! The new guitarist for this album is Hall & Oates! Also, Zoot Money has joined on keyboard, along with Andy Somers on gutar. The result is a sprawling, jamming, cover-heavy, original-dandy double-album with the clearest, crispest mix probably ever heard on an Animals record. Zoot brung a couple cool songs from his old band, Eric writ some humdingers, and the cover song selection was the most diverse yet -- Sly & The Family Stone's "I'm An Animal" (get it??? The ANIMALS??? "I'm an ANIMAL"???), Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire" (get it?? Zoot MONEY?? Johnny CASH???), Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High" (get it??? Eric Burdon??? HIGH????), and the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" (get it??? The band was a bunch of NOBODIES???). All's well that pays well, and at the end of the day, the shortest song on here is still almost 4 1/2 minutes.

Now then, greetings earthling. (Beep boop beep) Let's talk about this album while you take me to your leader. (Beep boop beep) It's sort of a cross between the early 'catchy r'n'b/pop/rocknroll' Animals and the midperiod 'psychejello' Animals, but with really, really, really long songs. Several of the songs are actually marred by their ridiculous lengths, since rather than being fully fleshed-out ten-minute progressive rock compositions, they're more often just normal-length rock songs extended interminably through solos, over-repetition, and 'crazy' noise bits.

It's easy enough to forgive though, with the kickass (and ODD) re-interpretations of cover material joined by such wonderfully anthemic original noise-pop explosions as "I'm Dying, Or Am I?," "Gemini," "Colored Rain" and "Madman." This Animals is a LOUD Animals, thanks to (again) a terrific mixing job for a change -- and a loud Animals is an exciting, visceral thing filled with wildly tremeloed high-pitched organ, chunky guitar choogles, and the most melodic and exciting group tandem harmony, backup and call-response vocals in the band's history. Seriously, the album's only real fault (other than a 10-minute piano blues bore) is that each song is dragged on for far too long. This is the kind of overextension that should have been saved for the live shows. As it is, they've taken a great 9-song album and needlessly dragged it out into double-album length -- presumably just because they had so much fun playing the material. Understandable, but kind of a drag if you're the listener! It's also kind of a drag when your baby don't love you. Nevertheless, Love Is is still a damn fine album, and definitely their most pleasurable since the original band died and went to Hell.

One thing though -- am I nuts or is "Colored Rain" about Eric Burdon trying to get a girl to pee on him? I know that the 'official' lyrics read "I want you to take our body close/I want you to work that up I know/Take that colored rain/Bring it down yeah," but I'd swear on a Bible that Eric is actually groaning, "I want you to take off all your clothes/I want you to wipe out on my nose/Take that colored rain/Bring it down yeah." Listen to it for yourself and tell me what you think. What the hell ELSE would "Colored Rain" be?

Hmm. You know, you have a point. She could just be on the menstruating rag.

So come on everybody and do the Menstruating Rag! (toodly doodly toodly everybody has fun...)

Reader Comments
"Colored Rain" is actually yet another cover song on this album (you implied it was a Burdon original). It appears on Traffic's first album, Mr Fantasy. Which means the lyrics were written by Jim Capaldi - of "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" fame. Where the "low spark" refers to the illusion of sparks flying when a stream of piss hits the ground on a sunny day, and "high heeled boys" being an ambiguous reference to masculine women. So being peed on by women was certainly a recurring theme in Capaldi's lyrics. Hey! Here's another one. The same Traffic album had a song called "Rainmaker" on it. Kinda creepy...

Or perhaps I have an overactive imagination. Either way, I'll never hear "Colored Rain" the same way again.

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Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted - Jet 1977
Rating = 4

Following three albums with War and some solo whatnot, Eric Burdon somehow managed to reunite the original Animals line-up for a late '70s reunion. Cute album title, but unfortunately it promises much more than the record can deliver. Even though it's credited to "The Original Animals," the Animals were not the same band in 1977 that they'd been in 1966. By '77, they were older, slower, more conservative, and (strangely) much, MUCH whiter. With a weird nose and molesting children. And that's my review of Dangerous.

Although the Bananimals try like the Charles Dickens to fill the album with boring slow 12-bar blues songs to show that they're still in touch with their black American roots, this is probably one of the most sterile and soulless 'white boy blues' albums ever released. The mix is dry and 'no-frills' to the point that it sounds like a demo tape, every instrument sounds a little too clean (Soul Asylum, Hang Time), and most distressingly of all, Eric Burdon doesn't even sound like himself any more! What happened to his low growly booze voice? Now he sounds all high and whitey. And while we're discussing the album's good points, is Hilton Valentine playing ANYTHING!? I swear half of these songs just sound like Alan Price dicking around his synth piano while the least interesting rhythm section in America knocks out a basic 4/4 beat for Eric to sing slickly and uninterestingly over. So if you like bland amateurish thinly-produced non-rocking caucasian blues, You Interrupted My Dinner is right up your ("Weird") alley! (Yankovic!)!

Hmm. That seems to be about it as far as my review goes. I could add that they play a nice Dylan cover with a tortoisely slow drumbeat, and that the final track is a fun little silly guitar riffer that would have fit in perfectly on an early Animals record, but nobody would read that sentence. Likewise, if I were to point at track 6 and say "AWFUL! TURN DOWN THE VOCALS! CHRIST!," thousands of eyes would glaze over*. So I won't even mention the dopey Bob Seger boogie woogie song, or the one where Paris' Hilton Valentine gets off his ass and plays a few countryish Ventures-style licks. Nor will you hear me rave about how much fun that one sleazy-sounding piano/bass tune sounds. You may hear that from your ordinary everyday average Joe, but not from me! Find some other sucker, a-hole because I've said my fill. A word is worth 1/1000th of a picture and you've almost got one tenth of a photo there, so 'Ea Tshi T,' as the Japanese say.

Say, does anybody hear like modern R-n-B? Every time I think about Mary J. Blige, I piss in my pants. This is because I don't know how to get a boner.

On a related note, here's a question for all you blues fans out there. I don't understand you. Do you people not feel any sort of 'diminishing returns' as you hear song after song after song after song using the SAME EXACT MELODY!? I realize that different blues artists play their guitars in unique ways and throw in their own personality and voice, but the 12-bar blues format is so limiting, you almost have to throw a needle into a haystack and then look for it if you want to come up with a metaphor about how hard it is to find a blues song that actually sounds different from all the others (Robert Johnson's "They're Red Hot," for example). So answer me, you. Do you just like old black men and wish that there were several in your house most of the time? Just stinkin' up the place with their toothless gums and smelly old manure hats?

*Krispy Kreme Human Eyeball Munchkins(TM)

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Ark - IRS 1983
Rating = 5

It took me a full 22 years to finally get the title, but indeed I finally did! You see, ANIMALS were on the Ark! And you're welcome for saving you two decades of nonstop concern.

"Ark - De Triomphe!" would be something great to say if this album were any good. Instead it's the original Animals reunited in 1983 to perform music with no connection at all to the original Animals sound. This is strictly early-'80s pop/rock - lots of 'dark' songs along the "Don't Pay The Ferryman" lines. Eric co-wrote half of the songs; the others were written by sodlid. Have we discussed sodlid here before? It's one of the few words that's spelled the same forwards and backwards.

No hang on - I meant that smells the same forwards and backwards. But on to matters of deeper importance, like Noah's Ark:

"And the wind sprang up
And the sky grew dark
But they were safe in the ark
And it rained and rained and rained and rained and rained

Forty days and nights of rain
Forty days and nights of rain
Can you imagine how much water would be standing
After forty days and nights of rain?

Noah, Noah
Build it long
Make it strong against the wind
Keep your third leg out of the duckbilled platypus
And stop selling "Holy Poop" on ebay
That rainbow is God making fun of your lack of testosterone.
And we're gonna throw your ark on top of a mountain for assholes to look for.

Ark is much more melodic than Before You Interrupted My Piss Dream, but the music bears no resemblance to any other Animals release. In fact, it's strange to me that Eric Burdon even bothered pulling the original members back together for a record that seemingly could have been performed by any group of backing musicians. Most of the songs are split between bouncy happy new wave along the lines of Alice Cooper's experiments in that genre, and darker yet radio-ready minor-key material of the "Sunglasses At Night" subgenre. It has some nice busy bass lines, but basically no guitaring of any interest, strictly wussy 80s-toned keyboards, and woefully tepid drumming. Eric sounds bassier again, but acute alcoholism and a misguided delay effect render his shout phlegmier and less appealing than it used to be. You know, like a milkshake after somebody with bronchitis drinks out of it.


Thank you for respecting my moment of silence in tribute to those afflicted with the horrible bronchitis virus. Remember - Bronchitis doesn't discriminate. It hates black people of course, but personal opinion has nothing to do with its choice of victim.

This record features some truly catchy little bits and pieces of melody, but it's also unfortunately filled to busting with obvious and unmemorable passages, resulting in a record that ultimately sounds like a disposable 'trying to connect with the kids of today' cut-out. The fact that the ridiculously melodramatic miss single (as opposed to 'hit single' - pretty WILD how I did that, huh???) "The Night" is one of the album's finest songs should be hint enough that most of the tracks simply don't gel. Jubilant verses are ruined by dopey choruses, playful compositions are made nauseating by dated synth bass breaks, swaggering menace is muted by 'sexy' saxophone solos -- all in the name of 'sounding contemporary.'

To be honest, there IS one blues song - and it's not bad, thanks to an evocative keyboard background reminiscent of Faith No More - but it has absolutely no similarity to the prior output of Messrs. Chandler, Price, Burdon, Steele and Prindle. Oh - did I not mention that I'm a member of the Animals? Oh, it's true alright!

Okay it's not true. I'm just blanking on the guitarist's name right now and don't have the luxury of 'scrolling up' like you rich college pricks with your fancy 'mouses with the rolly thing in the middle.' At the very least, let it be known that you can't spell "Mark" without Ark!

So thank God for this album. Can you imagine having to live your whole life in the shadow of "Pop Muzik"?

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Rip It To Shreds: Greatest Hits Live! - IRS 1984
Rating = 3

Rip WHAT to shreds? Their reputation? Their dignity? My panty?

So I'm enjoying a fine brisk shopping vocation with official interview transcriber Jim Laakso, a Yale graduate with long hair, and what should appear right there in the bin but a wild, woolly ANIMALS 'Greatest Hits Live!" LP for $3.00. "Holy frijole, senor!" I exclaimed to Jim, as we were in a Spanish-speaking back corner of NYC called 'Brooklyn,' "Look at this awesome old Animals live album! It's got this old '60s r'n'b font and a filthy old 'ripped red cloth over tiny photos of the band' layout. Man, I bet this tears 'em up!" But then, not wanting to embarrass myself in front of a Yale graduate (especially one that didn't go through the Northeastern prep school system -- meaning this guy's actually smart instead of just rich), I took a closer look at the album cover. And I didn't like what I saw. Not one bit.

Hidden very discreetly behind the awesome hard rockin' font and ripped, torn, animal-clawed red leather lay a photo of a clearly middle-aged Eric Burdon. "YOU SON OF A BITCH!" I screamed at the top of my lusty mouth before flipping the cover over in exquisite agony to see, in little teeny tiny print down near the bottom, "recorded december 31, 1983." I bought it anyway though. Who gives a shit?

Well, I'll tell you ONE person who didn't give a shit that he was performing before a paying audience on this particular night - Eric L. Burdon. Or whatever his middle initial is. I'm going to put forth three propositions, some or all of which might be true. Here they are: Eric Burdon (1) was grade-A ripped on this night, on your finest alcoholic spirits, (B) was high on illegal drugs and floating on a merry boat across the skies when he was supposed to be doing a New Year's Eve 'gig' (as we say in the business), or (C) was so sick of singing the same exact songs during every performance of his twenty-year career that he could no longer stomach the idea of performing them correctly. Whatever the cause, the effect is one of the worst live albums ever released by a major band: Frampton Comes Alive. Hearing Burdon fart into his guitar during "Do You Feel Li

: Rip It To Shreds. Hearing Burdon just shouting and halfassing his way through some of the 60's' finest music ("House of the Rising Sun," "Don't Bring Me Down," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "Bring It On Home To Me," "Boom Boom" and "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" are quite literally rendered UNLISTENABLE) is a disappointment right up there with finally getting to have sex with Marilyn Monroe only to discover afterwards that she's been dead for four decades and you've been ramming your dick into a dusty old bone for 45 minutes.

But Eric isn't the only one to blame for this album's assballyness; the band sounds terrible too. The mix is aweful, the keyboard is all tinny, the guitar has a light chorus sheen on it that wusses it out, someone keeps playing saxophone throughout, and everything is all smoothed over so that the songs have NO power at all. NONE! This music is O.S.S.-ified (Old, Sterile, Stinky). Imagine a wedding band (music, not ring) being forced by the groom's drunk asshole brother into playing an all-Animals set so he can sing along, and you've got a pretty good idea of how rancid this piece of garbage really is.

It does have two good perfomances though, as well as an Eric Burdon solo tune ("It's Too Late") that's fast and fun enough to at least not make my muscles twitch like the others. The two good'uns are "It's My Life," which Eric actually sorta makes even better by singing the "Baby! Remember!" bit at higher and more excited notes than in the original version, and "I'm Crying," which perfectly emulates the speedy frantic drumming of the studio version and finds Eric actually bothering to sing the melody (maybe because it's the only Animals original on the album?). There's also an unexpected Alan Price solo song ("O Lucky Man!") and I'm told that the CD version has "When I Was Young," but I wouldn't know about that, being a vinyl junkie who melts down car seats and injects them into my neck.

Interesting to note is that the live performance featured not only the original band, but also late-60's member Zoot Money and some dude named Steve Grant. Yet they still sound as thin and wispy as a pennywhistle! Not only that but they perform the entirety of "Don't Bring Me Down" to the music from its chorus, turn "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" into an ugly overdramatic soap opera lounge song, and perform "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" ENTIRELY WRONG!!!! I mean, that is one of the single greatest bass lines in the history of rock and roll, and THEY PLAY THE FINAL NOTE WRONG THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SONG!!!!! Was this Eric attempting to make the song sound more like the Fear cover version? I don't get it, and I don't want to get it. Nor do I want to get why he introduces "Bring It On Home To Me" with "This soooooooong was written by Sam COOKE. One of the bessst rock n roll performers in the world." Nor do I ever again want to hear "Boom Boom" with a dorkass slide guitar solo and Eric going "Buhbuhbuhbuhbuhbuhbuh Baby rock!"

And that's why I've spent seven paragraphs telling you it sucks when you could have gleaned that from the "3" I gave it at the beginning. Timewaster, thy name is mine own!

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Official Live Bootleg 2000 - Flying Eye 2001
Rating = 4

Okay, now Eric's just being ridiculous. "Eric Burdon and the New Animals" features NOBODY from ANY incarnation of the Animals, and is just a trick to get people to attend his greatest hits concerts. But even then, he gives them the worst, most embarrassing Vegas loser sing everything like an asshole drunk off his rocker show since PJ Proby's infamous comeback (whatever year that might have been). His voice goes from clean to disgustingly phlegmy with no in-between, the guitarist - though he does manage a much tougher sound than Hilton Valentine during the last reunion - is mainly out there to show off his Hendrix/hair metal cock rock soloing, and the whole shebang is buried under yet another pussyass sleek 80s keyboard tone (in 2000!).

It at least covers an interesting cross-section of his Animals career, including two songs each from Animalization and The Twain Shall Meet, one each from Animal Tracks, Animalism, The Animals and Winds Of Change, the "When I Was Young" single, and fancy new covers of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and two Jimi Hendrix songs. Of this eclectic collection, three songs are performed fantastically: "Inside Looking Out," "Hey Gyp" and "See See Rider" (aside from Eric for some reason singing the lyric as "Easy Rider" for half of the song). A few other performances have passable moments. The remainder are a gigantic barrel of fisting.

Having learned my lesson about wasting hours on a negative review of a CD nobody intends to buy anyway, let me just share a few brief moments from the addled mind of Eric Burdon 2K ("K" for "Kegs"):


From "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood":

-- "Buh-buh-buh-bay-bay-bay-bay Doooooo youwoowoowooowoowoowoo...."

-- "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh lord - PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

-- "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh lord - Please don't let me die in Hollywood!"

-- "Don't let me drown/Don't let me down!" (several times, for some reason)

-- "Don't call the cops! Don't let the kids know we smoke pot!"

From "Monterey":

-- (*sucking noise*) "DOOOOHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

From "When I Was Young":

-- "Here's a song I wrote when I was a kid, so I could sing it these days...."


After "When I Was Young":

--Audience member: "Good job!"
Eric: "It IS a good job! It gets you out of the house, you meet people... You get to party every night and get paid for it...."

After "Hey Gyp":


From "House Of The Rising Sun":

-- "There is a house in - " (*holds mic out to audience, who shouts "NEW ORLEANS!") "- Louisiana USA, baby!"

-- "It's been the ruin of many a poor boy boy boy girl girl girl boy boy...."


And I'll close with not a quote from Eric, but a quote from me personally. Here's something I said out loud about 43 minutes into the CD:

"That's it, Eric. Make fun of 'Sky Pilot.' The only moving song you've ever written. Bring it down to size."

Reader Comments
great new work on The Animals, Mark...i nearly pissed myself laughing at times..very funny downloading winds of change as i type..thanks..
In case anyone wants to WITNESS the events Mark has transcribed here, these performances (from 1998 according to the video description) are available in video form.

I was getting William Shatner vibes from this the entire time...

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood:
House of the Rising Sun:

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