Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Animals - The Complete EP 1964-1967

One of the most important bands originating from England's R&B scene during the early '60s, the Animals were second only to the Rolling Stones in influence among R&B-based bands in the first wave of the British Invasion. the Animals had their origins in a Newcastle-based group called the Kansas City Five, whose membership included pianist Alan Price, drummer John Steel, and vocalist Eric Burdon. Price exited to join the Kontours in 1962, while Burdon went off to London. The Kontours, whose membership included Bryan "Chas" Chandler, eventually were transmuted into the Alan Price R&B Combo, with John Steel joining on drums. Burdon's return to Newcastle in early 1963 heralded his return to the lineup. The final member of the combo, guitarist Hilton Valentine, joined just in time for the recording of a self-produced EP under the band's new name, the Animals. That record alerted Graham Bond to the Animals; he was likely responsible for pointing impresario Giorgio Gomelsky to the group.

Gomelsky booked the band into his Crawdaddy Club in London, and they were subsequently signed by Mickie Most, an independent producer who secured a contract with EMI's Columbia imprint. A studio session in February 1964 yielded their Columbia debut single, "Baby Let Me Take You Home" (adapted from "Baby Let Me Follow You Down"), which rose to number 21 on the British charts. For years, it was rumored incorrectly that the Animals got their next single, "House of the Rising Sun," from Bob Dylan's first album, but it has been revealed that, like "Baby Let Me Take You Home," the song came to them courtesy of Josh White. In any event, the song -- given a new guitar riff by Valentine and a soulful organ accompaniment devised by Price -- shot to the top of the U.K. and U.S. charts early that summer. This success led to a follow-up session that summer, yielding their first long-playing record, The Animals. Their third single, "I'm Crying," rose to number eight on the British charts. The group compiled an enviable record of Top Ten successes, including "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place," along with a second album, Animal Tracks.
In May of 1965, immediately after recording "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place," Alan Price left the band, citing fear of flying as the reason; subsequent biographies of the band have indicated that the reasons were less psychological. When "House of the Rising Sun" was recorded, using what was essentially a group arrangement, the management persuaded the band to put one person's name down as arranger. Price came up the lucky one, supposedly with the intention that the money from the arranger credit would be divided later on. The money was never divided, however, and as soon as it began rolling in, Price suddenly developed his fear of flying and exited the band. Others cite the increasing contentiousness between Burdon and Price over leadership of the group as the latter's reason for leaving. In any case, a replacement was recruited in the person of Dave Rowberry.

In the meantime, the group was growing increasingly unhappy with the material they were being given to record by manager Mickie Most. Not only were the majority of these songs much too commercial for their taste, but they represented a false image of the band, even if many were successful. "It's My Life," a number seven British hit and a similar smash in America, caused the Animals to terminate their association with Most and with EMI Records. They moved over to Decca/London Records and came up with a more forceful, powerful sound on their first album for the new label, Animalisms. The lineup shifts continued, however: Steel exited in 1966, after recording Animalisms, and was replaced by Barry Jenkins, formerly of the Nashville Teens. Chandler left in mid-1966 after recording "Don't Bring Me Down" and Valentine remained until the end of 1966, but essentially "Don't Bring Me Down" marked the end of the original Animals.

Burdon re-formed the group under the aegis of Eric Burdon and the New Animals, with Jenkins on drums, John Weider on guitar and violin, Danny McCulloch on bass, and Vic Briggs on guitar. He remained officially a solo act for a time, releasing a collection of material called Eric Is Here in 1967. As soon as the contract with English Decca was up, Burdon signed with MGM directly for worldwide distribution, and the new lineup made their debut in mid-1967. Eric Burdon and the New Animals embraced psychedelica to the hilt amid the full bloom of the Summer of Love. By the end of 1968, Briggs and McCulloch were gone, to be replaced by Burdon's old friend, keyboard player/vocalist Zoot Money, and his longtime stablemate, guitarist Andy Summers, while Weider switched to bass. Finally, in 1969, Burdon pulled the plug on what was left of the Animals. He hooked up with a Los Angeles-based group called War, and started a subsequent solo career.

The original Animals reunited in 1976 for a superb album called Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted, which picked up right where Animalisms had left off a decade earlier and which was well-received critically but failed to capture the public's attention. In 1983, a somewhat longer-lasting reunion came about between the original members, augmented with the presence of Zoot Money on keyboards. The resulting album, Ark, consisting of entirely new material, was well received by critics and charted surprisingly high, and a world tour followed. By the end of the year and the heavy touring schedule, however, it was clear that this reunion was not going to be a lasting event. The quintet split up again, having finally let the other shoe drop on their careers and history, and walked away with some financial rewards, along with memories of two generations of rock fans cheering their every note.

The Animals - The Complete  EP 1964-1967
 taken from RuTracker.org (Complete French CD EP)
and private collection McLuhan's Garden 45'

 Eric Burdon And The Animals
Album        : 
Hey Gyp (Barclay Ep 071121)
Year         : 1967

01. Hey Gyp (03:47)
02. In The Night (02:29)
03. When I Was Young (02:59)
04. Ain't That So (03:18)

Eric Burdon And The Animals
Album        : 
See See Rider (Barclay Ep 071081)
Year         : 1966

01. See See Rider (04:00)
02. Mama Told Me Not To Come (02:14)
03. Help Me Girl (02:36)
04. That Ain't Where It's At (03:00)

 The Animals
Album        : Boom Boom (Columbia Esrf 1632)
Year         : 1965

01. Boom Boom (03:18)
02. Club-A-Gogo (02:19)
03. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (02:27)
04. Roadrunner (02:48)

 The Animals
Album        : 
Bring It On Home To Me ( Columbia Ep Esrf 1671)
Year         : 1965

01. Bring It On Home To Me (02:41)
02. Hallelujah! I Love Her So (02:45)
03. For Miss Caulker (03:56)

 The Animals
Album        : 
Don't Bring Me Down (Barclay Ep 071043)
Year         : 1966

01. Don't Bring Me Down (03:15)
02. Cheating (02:24)
03. What Am I Living For (03:12)

The Animals
Album        : 
It’s My Life (Columbia Ep Esrf 1217)
Year         : 1965

01. It's My Life (03:05)
02. Believe To My Soul (03:23)
03. I'm Going To Change  The World (03:33)
04. Let The Good Times Roll (01:55)

The Animals
Album        : The Animals (Barclay Ep 870970)
Year         : 1966

01. Inside Looking Out (03:44)
02. That's All I Am To You (02:23)
03. She'll Return It (02:41)

The Animals
Album        : 
The Animals Are Back (Clambia Sego 8452)
Year         : 1965

. 01 Bring It On Home To Me (02:45)
. 02 Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (02:30)
. 03 We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (03:15)
. 04 Club A Go-Go (02:22)

The Animals
Album        : 
The House Of Rising Sun (Columbia Ep Esrf 1571)
Year         : 1964

01. The House Of The Rising Sun (04:29)
02. Talkin' About You (French Ep Version) (01:51)
03. Donna Send You Back To Walker (02:29)

The Animals
Album        : 
We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place (Emi Columbia Ep Esrf 1692)
Year         : 1965

01. We've Gotta Out Of This Place (03:12)
02. I Can't Believe It (03:32)
03. I Ain't Got You (02:27)
04. How You've Changed (03:12)

The Animals
Album        :
 I'm Crying (Columbia Esrf 1593)
Year         : 1964

01. I'm Crying (02:46)
02. Take It Easy (02:51)
03. She Said Yeah (02:18)
04. I'm In Love Again (02:59)

 Eric Burdon and The Animals
Album        : Bonus CD Single
Year         : 196?

01. ''San Francisco Nights'' (03:19)
02. ''Good Times'' (02:58)

review of Complete French EP 1964/1967 by review by Bruce Eder

This may seem like a strange way to listen to a group's legacy, 42 songs on 11 CD platters in a box. It is a bit pricey, as well, but going up four songs at a time with the Animals sort of makes sense, at least as far as distilling down their most successful and interesting work. The group never quite got the hang of making successful albums; that doesn't mean that they didn't do some very good ones, including their two for EMI, but their 12" platter sales never remotely matched the popularity of their nine hit singles from 1964 through 1966. Their EPs were a different matter -- while the group strained in the studio to assemble 40 minutes of attractive listening, their songs made great four-track platters. In England, they issued five extended-play singles, while in France the group saw twice that many issued in their name, both by EMI Records and the Barclay label. The 11 discs in this box (counting the bonus CD single of "San Franciscan Nights" b/w "Good Times") make up their French EP output across three years, each song remastered in state-of-the-art, 24-bit digital audio and sounding most impressive. Starting with The Animals, containing "House of the Rising Sun," "Talkin' About You" (the official "short" edit), "Gonna Send You Back to Walker," and "Baby Let Me Take You Home," there's a good cross-section of the best work out of just about every group of recording sessions the band ever had -- they never knew how to program an album for mass appeal (especially as they couldn't include any singles on them). The EMI sides are a match in fidelity to the sound on the 24-bit Japanese remasters of the two EMI albums, but the box continues on up past that point to their brief stay with England's Decca Records and Burdon's closing out of the Animals name and eventual formation of Eric Burdon & the Animals. All of the EMI material, and even a major chunk of the Decca-recorded sides (now owned by B&C Recordings), was upgraded elsewhere by 2003, but not the MCA-owned sides such as "Hey Gyp," "When I Was Young," the mastering of which here makes the quality on Polygram's Best of Eric Burdon & the Animals, 1966-1968 sound like it's mastered off of 45s. There is one genuine obscurity, "Ain't That So," from their early psychedelic period. The artwork on the individual sleeves is also more interesting than the images on the jackets of either of their EMI LPs, at least until 1966, when the group's lineup became very fluid and Burdon became the focus of the graphics -- and one also gets a good picture of the 1967-vintage group on the bonus disc sleeve.
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