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Blues - Released May 9, 2011 | The Dave Cash Collection - OMP

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Rock - Released January 1, 1968 | Universal Records

The mix of topical songs, surreal antiwar anthems, and diffuse psychedelic mood pieces on The Twain Shall Meet is extremely ambitious, and while much of the group's reach exceeds its grasp, it's all worth a trip through as a fascinating period piece. In fact, the mood pieces predominate, mostly underwritten and under-rehearsed, and recorded without the studio time needed to make them work. "Just the Thought" and "Closer to the Truth" are dull and unfocused, even as psychedelia, while "No Self Pity" and "We Love You Lil" are above average musical representations of mind-altered states. "We Love You Lil" opens with a clever play on the old popular tune "Lili Marlene" that leads to an extended guitar jam and ethereal backing that rather recalls the early work of Focus, among other progressive rock acts. "All Is One" is probably unique in the history of pop music as a psychedelic piece, mixing bagpipes, sitar, oboes, horns, flutes, and a fairly idiotic lyric, all within the framework of a piece that picks up its tempo like the dance music from Zorba the Greek while mimicking the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'." On the more accessible side are "Monterey," a distant precursor to Joni Mitchell's more widely heard post-festival anthem "Woodstock," with some clever musical allusions and a great beat, plus lots of enthusiasm; and the shattering "Sky Pilot," one of the grimmest and most startling antiwar songs of the late '60s, with a killer guitar break by Vic Briggs that's marred only by the sound of the plane crash in the middle. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 26, 1998 | Monrose Digital

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Rock - Released June 11, 1991 | Universal Music Canada

Despite its being credited to Eric Burdon & the Animals, this hour-long compilation may prove to be of equal interest to serious fans of the original Animals (i.e. the quintet that recorded "House of the Rising Sun," "It's My Life," etc.). The first four cuts, at least -- "Don't Bring Me Down," "See See Rider," "Inside Looking Out," and "Hey Gyp" -- were done by the classic second lineup, featuring Burdon and original members Hilton Valentine, Chas Chandler, and John Steel, along with Dave Rowberry on keyboards, and those tracks all sprang from the original Animals' R&B roots. They also happen to be first-rate recordings and, indeed, are superior to many of the tracks off of the original band's first two LPs. As for the rest, overlooking "Help Me Girl" -- an Eric Burdon solo release on which it isn't clear who played, other than drummer Barry Jenkins -- it's all the work of Eric Burdon & the Animals, the psychedelic outfit that Burdon and his management assembled in 1966 around Jenkins; and John Weider on guitar, bass, violin, and keyboards; Vic Briggs on guitar, vibes, keyboards, and saxophone; and Danny McCulloch on bass, with Andy Summers showing up late in the day on "River Deep, Mountain High." Their material is surprisingly engaging, even if it isn't what anyone really wants to remember Burdon for -- in contrast to the typical British psychedelic music of the period, which tended to sound very fey and elegant, the "new Animals" played a hard, ballsy kind of psychedelia that never lost sight of the rhythm (and, at its best, didn't stray too far from the blues) of their R&B roots. The sides represented here are played more than competently and show occasional inspiration in the writing, arrangements, and performance. Though their sound is more of an acquired taste than that of the original Animals, they were a talented band, and perhaps if they could have pulled together one album that was as inspired as the singles "When I Was Young," "Monterey," or "Sky Pilot," they might have sustained some success. Instead, their albums tended toward the self-consciously heavy, spaced-out noodling that we hear on "Winds of Change," where Burdon sounds as though he's doing a burlesque of Jim Morrison. This disc lives up to its name, however, distilling down the best elements of the group's various facets, so you get their most accessible single sides and the best of the album noodling (the sitar and violin on "Winds of Change" are beautifully played, even if they don't go anywhere). The disc could have been extended to include cuts like "Shake" by the early transitional lineup, and "Paint It Black," which would have come close to making it definitive, but those did turn up later on Polygram Special Products' budget-priced best-of on the group. The sound is very good for a 1991 CD release, and the notes are reasonably thorough. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 1, 1967 | Polydor

Winds of Change opened the psychedelic era in the history of Eric Burdon & the Animals -- although Burdon's drug experiences had taken a great leap forward months earlier with his first acid trip, and he and the group had generated some startlingly fresh-sounding singles in the intervening time, it was Winds of Change that plunged the group headfirst into the new music. The record was more or less divided into two distinctly different sides, the first more conceptual and ambitious psychedelic mood pieces and the second comprised of more conventionally structured songs, although even these were hard, mostly bluesy and blues-based rock, their jumping-off point closer to Jimi Hendrix than Sonny Boy Williamson. The band's new era opened with waves washing over the title track, which included sitar and electric violin, while Burdon's voice, awash in reverb, calmly recited a lyric that dropped a lot of major names from blues, jazz, and rock. "Poem by the Sea" was a recitation by Burdon, amid a swirl of echo-drenched instruments, and it led into one of the group's handful of memorable covers from this period, "Paint It Black" -- driven by John Weider's electric violin and Vic Briggs' guitar, and featuring an extended vocal improvisation by Burdon, their approach to the song was good enough to make it part of the group's set at the Monterey International Pop Festival that June, and also to get a spot in the documentary movie that followed. "The Black Plague" opens with a Gregorian chant structure that recalls "Still I'm Sad" by the Yardbirds, and was another vehicle for Burdon's surreal spoken contributions. There were also, as with most of the group's work from this period, a few easily accessible tracks that could make good singles, in this instance "Good Times" and "San Franciscan Nights," a Top Ten record in various countries around the world in the last quarter of 1967, although, as Alan Clayson points out in his notes, the latter song was overlooked in England for nearly 12 months after its release elsewhere, and then appeared as the B-side to the relatively straightforward, brooding, moody rocker "Anywhere." Burdon was so inspired by Jimi Hendrix's music that he wrote one of the psychedelic era's rare "answer" songs, "Yes I Am Experienced," as an homage to the guitarist; the latter's influence could also be heard in "It's All Meat," the LP's closing track, and a song that calls to mind an aspect of this band that a lot of scholars in earlier years overlooked -- the fact that Briggs, Weider, et al. had the skills to make music in that style that was convincing and that worked on record, on their terms. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 1, 1968 | Universal Records

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Rock - Released October 1, 1967 | Universal Records

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Rock - Released March 21, 2011 | Charly Records

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Rock - Released December 1, 1968 | Universal Records

It's an eyebrow-raising experience to encounter the cover of "River Deep, Mountain High" that opens the Animals 1968 album, Love Is. Clocking in at nearly seven and a half minutes, it's the weirdest version of the song ever cut. Self-produced by the band, it juxtaposes vocalist and bandleader Eric Burdon's staggering abilities as a rhythm & blues singer with few peers with then-modern-day psychedelia. The Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry-penned vehicle for Ike & Tina Turner was never envisioned like this. There are moments of pure greatness in the track, a rough, garage-hewn rock and R&B foundation underscored by Burdon's blues wail is, unfortunately, completely messed over by the sound effects and his insistence on yelling "Tina, Tina, Tina..." ad nauseam in the bridge. And this is just the beginning. This version of the Animals contained enough serious players that they should have known better: Burdon, keyboardist Zoot Money, drummer Barry Jenkins, bassist John Wieder, and a young guitarist who'd been booted from Soft Machine after a very brief period named Andy Summers. For those who found charm and even inspiration in the Twain Shall Meet and Winds of Change -- both recorded in San Francisco -- Love Is may hold some sort of place in the heart. For those who looked back to the Animals catalog that included such dynamic albums as Animalism and Animalization as well as a slew of killer four-track EPs, this must have seemed like the bitter end. On the other hand, this trainwreck of an album has some interesting moments -- mainly for hearing how hard they tried to imitate other acts who were successful while at the same time trying to forge a new identity from the ruins of who they once were as a band whose day had come and gone. The utterly awful reading here of "Ring of Fire" is almost laughable. Other covers include a rave-up cum psychedelia version of Sly Stone's "I'm an Animal," Traffic's "Coloured Rain," and the Bee Gees "To Love Somebody." The latter -- which has to be heard to be believed -- begins with Summers playing Chuck Berry licks as an intro before it slows down into a completely over-the-top Don Covay-styled soul shot with Burdon underscored by a female backing chorus which counters to push him into the stratosphere. Despite its cheesy organ sound, it has enough power drumming, crunchy guitar, and a neat little piano break by Money to make it work. It's easily the best thing here even if it is absolutely mental. Burdon had heard ex-bandmate Chas Chandler's young guitar protégé Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone from the Sun" from the Jimi Hendrix Experience's debut album as well. In fact, he enlisted Money's buddy, guitarist Steve Hammond (of Johnny Almond's Music Machine) to come up with a long-form psychedelic suite that evoked it and some of Pink Floyd's weirder experiments at that time. The end result, "Gemini," is hysterically funny now, and must have just seemed to be ecstatically drug-addled tomfoolery at the time. The closer, "The Madman (Running Through The Fields)," by Summers and Money would have been a killer single if they'd edited the acid-fried middle section out of it. As it stands, Love Is was a mess from a band who, once great, had completely lost its way and was on its last legs. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 1, 1967 | Polydor

Winds of Change opened the psychedelic era in the history of Eric Burdon & the Animals -- although Burdon's drug experiences had taken a great leap forward months earlier with his first acid trip, and he and the group had generated some startlingly fresh-sounding singles in the intervening time, it was Winds of Change that plunged the group headfirst into the new music. The record was more or less divided into two distinctly different sides, the first more conceptual and ambitious psychedelic mood pieces and the second comprised of more conventionally structured songs, although even these were hard, mostly bluesy and blues-based rock, their jumping-off point closer to Jimi Hendrix than Sonny Boy Williamson. The band's new era opened with waves washing over the title track, which included sitar and electric violin, while Burdon's voice, awash in reverb, calmly recited a lyric that dropped a lot of major names from blues, jazz, and rock. "Poem by the Sea" was a recitation by Burdon, amid a swirl of echo-drenched instruments, and it led into one of the group's handful of memorable covers from this period, "Paint It Black" -- driven by John Weider's electric violin and Vic Briggs' guitar, and featuring an extended vocal improvisation by Burdon, their approach to the song was good enough to make it part of the group's set at the Monterey International Pop Festival that June, and also to get a spot in the documentary movie that followed. "The Black Plague" opens with a Gregorian chant structure that recalls "Still I'm Sad" by the Yardbirds, and was another vehicle for Burdon's surreal spoken contributions. There were also, as with most of the group's work from this period, a few easily accessible tracks that could make good singles, in this instance "Good Times" and "San Franciscan Nights," a Top Ten record in various countries around the world in the last quarter of 1967, although, as Alan Clayson points out in his notes, the latter song was overlooked in England for nearly 12 months after its release elsewhere, and then appeared as the B-side to the relatively straightforward, brooding, moody rocker "Anywhere." Burdon was so inspired by Jimi Hendrix's music that he wrote one of the psychedelic era's rare "answer" songs, "Yes I Am Experienced," as an homage to the guitarist; the latter's influence could also be heard in "It's All Meat," the LP's closing track, and a song that calls to mind an aspect of this band that a lot of scholars in earlier years overlooked -- the fact that Briggs, Weider, et al. had the skills to make music in that style that was convincing and that worked on record, on their terms. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 1, 1968 | Polydor

The mix of topical songs, surreal antiwar anthems, and diffuse psychedelic mood pieces on The Twain Shall Meet is extremely ambitious, and while much of the group's reach exceeds its grasp, it's all worth a trip through as a fascinating period piece. In fact, the mood pieces predominate, mostly underwritten and under-rehearsed, and recorded without the studio time needed to make them work. "Just the Thought" and "Closer to the Truth" are dull and unfocused, even as psychedelia, while "No Self Pity" and "We Love You Lil" are above average musical representations of mind-altered states. "We Love You Lil" opens with a clever play on the old popular tune "Lili Marlene" that leads to an extended guitar jam and ethereal backing that rather recalls the early work of Focus, among other progressive rock acts. "All Is One" is probably unique in the history of pop music as a psychedelic piece, mixing bagpipes, sitar, oboes, horns, flutes, and a fairly idiotic lyric, all within the framework of a piece that picks up its tempo like the dance music from Zorba the Greek while mimicking the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'." On the more accessible side are "Monterey," a distant precursor to Joni Mitchell's more widely heard post-festival anthem "Woodstock," with some clever musical allusions and a great beat, plus lots of enthusiasm; and the shattering "Sky Pilot," one of the grimmest and most startling antiwar songs of the late '60s, with a killer guitar break by Vic Briggs that's marred only by the sound of the plane crash in the middle. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 1, 1968 | Universal Records

Eric Burdon & the Animals were nearing the end of their string, at least in the lineup in which they'd come into the world in late 1966, when they recorded Every One of Us in May of 1968, just after the release of their second album, The Twain Shall Meet. The group had seen some success, especially in America, with the singles "When I Was Young," "San Franciscan Nights" and "Sky Pilot" over the previous 18 months, but had done considerably less well with their albums. Every One of Us lacked a hit single to help drive its sales, but it was still a good psychedelic blues album, filled with excellent musicianship by Burdon (lead vocals), Vic Briggs (guitar, bass), John Weider (guitar, celeste), Danny McCulloch (bass,12-string, vocals), and Barry Jenkins (drums, percussion), with new member Zoot Money (credited, for contractual reasons, as George Bruno) on keyboards and vocals. Opening with the surprisingly lyrical "White Houses" -- a piece of piercing social commentary about America in early 1968 -- the record slid past the brief bridge "Uppers and Downers" and into the extended, John Weider-authored psychedelic mood piece "Serenade to a Sweet Lady," highlighted by Briggs' superb lead acoustic guitar playing and Weider's subdued electric accompaniment. This is followed by the acoustic folk piece "The Immigrant Lad," a conceptual work that closes with a dialogue, set in a workingman's bar, in which two Cockney workers, voiced by John Weider and Terry McVay, talk about their world and their lives. "Year of the Guru" is another in a string of Jimi Hendrix-influenced pieces by this version of the Animals, showing the entire band at the peak of their musical prowess, and Burdon -- taking on virtually the role of a modern rapper -- generating some real power on some surprisingly cynical lyrics concerning the search for spiritual fulfillment and leaders. "St. James Infirmary" recalls "House of the Rising Sun," as both a song and an arrangement, and is worthwhile just for the experience of hearing this version of the group going full-tilt as a rock band. And then there is "New York 1963 -- America 1968," an 18-minute conceptual track with a center spoken word section featuring not a group member, but a black engineer named Cliff, who recalls his experience as a fighter pilot during World War II, and tells of poverty then and now -- although the opening section starts off well enough musically, amid Burdon's sung recollections of coming to America and his fixation on the blues and black music in general, and the closing repetition of the word "freedom" anticipates Richie Havens' famed piece (actually an extension of "Motherless Child") from Woodstock, the track is too long and unwieldy for any but the most fanatical listener to absorb as more than a curiosity of its time. In fairness, it must also be said that Burdon's mixing of politics and music, social criticism and art, however inappropriate as pop music for a mass audience, was out in front of most of the competition during this period, in terms of boldness and reach, if not grasp. The extended jamming on this and the other songs also highlighted a fundamental problem that afflicted this version of the Animals from the get-go, the fact that they were touring too much to write enough songs to properly fill their albums, which meant extending the instrumental portions of everything that was on them, in order to fill up the running time; this group had the musicianship and talent to pull it off totally successfully in all but one instance here. This album would be one of the last times that this lineup of the group would appear on record -- Briggs and McCulloch would leave later in the year, both to be replaced by Andy Somers (aka Andy Summers), and the group as a whole would pack it in with the waning of 1968. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released December 1, 1968 | Universal Records

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Rock - Released June 1, 2012 | Goldenlane Records

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Rock - Released August 1, 1968 | Universal Records

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Rock - Released June 12, 2006 | Charly Records