The Animals: The Animals (Columbia)

BLUESY NEW ANIMALS LP
REVIEW IN DEPTH by NORMAN JOPLING

THIS MONTH, the first album from the Animals enters the shops and will doubtless crash to the top of the L.P. charts. So here’s a review in depth of every track, for the benefit of anyone who will either buy, dance to, or merely be interested in the disc.

‘STORY OF BO DIDDLEY’ as the leader track is way-out, to say the least. Written by Eric Burden it isn’t the Bo Diddley number of the same title, but a mammoth-length affair describing the life and times of Bo Diddley — especially with his tour of Britain and meeting the Animals. Eric’s throaty vocals are effective, and the persistent Bo Diddley riff which runs all through gradually builds up to a screaming climax. Interesting and definitely uncommercial — also a great tribute from a great group to a great singer.

‘BURN MY BODY’ is slightly reminiscent of the skiffle era. There’s a folksy flavour about it, and the harmonies of the boys blend well with Eric’s vocal. Backing is earthy and powerful, and the number moves along steadily at a medium pace. Good arrangement by Alan Price with good contract value to track one.

DEXTERITY

‘DIMPLES’ is the John Lee Hooker number which so recently crashed John into our top fifty for the first time. It’s given a very similar treatment by the Animals who re-create the Hooker sound with amazing dexterity. Loads of genuine earthy blues feeling, and perhaps a tribute to the great one.

‘I’VE BEEN AROUND’ is a Fats Domino composition. It’s a medium pace, almost plaintive rock number with Eric showing an interesting ability to punch out a good tune, as well as conventional blues. Pounding — repeat pounding — backing on this, and some good harmonies from all concerned. This might make a good single for them — it’s certainly ultra-commercial and catchy. Piano is responsible for good backing sounds.

‘I’M IN LOVE AGAIN’ is another Fats Domino original which even made our charts many years ago. But the Animals make into more of a Jimmy Reed treatment with a solid conventional beat and plenty of dance appeal. Excellent guitar solo, while the beat pounds away, and of course that appealing, almost coarse vocal from Eric and the lads.

‘THE GIRL CAN’T HELP IT’ is the Little Richard song from the film of the same name. It’s a wild rocker to close the side, with the group screaming the title lines in between every phrase from Eric. The vocals tend to dominate the backing on this track, but nevertheless a solid sound is maintained. An interesting revival of what must be a long-forgotten rock number.

‘I’M MAD AGAIN’ is a John Lee Hooker penned item with a repetitive riff running all the way through. From almost a talking start the vocal develops into a controlled frenzy with supporting voices helping things along. A wild, wild climax and gradually all the instruments join in to make this one of the most exciting tracks on the album. Some frightening guitar sounds too, on this number which few other R & B groups could have handled at all, let alone as well as this.

‘SHE SAID YEH’ is the old Larry Williams number, given a far different treatment from the original. Jerky staccato beat with loud and tuneful vocal and solid rock beat. Strong backbeat on this light-hearted song.

‘THE RIGHT TIME’ has a solid organ intro with some atmospheric guitar work, and what sounds like a shrill girlie chorus backing up Eric on the number popularised by Ray Charles. There’s a sensational organ solo, although every instrument works itself almost to death on this track. Repetitive, but effective and atmospheric, too.

‘MEMPHIS’ has been recorded by just about everybody. The danceable beat is here, and the number seems rather subdued compared with most on the album. Strong guitar work, but even the originality of the Animals doesn’t fail to hide the fact that this song is played out.

‘BOOM BOOM’ is yet another John Lee number, whom the boys seem to owe a lot, material-wise to. A rhythmic jerker with a powerful dance beat with a solid sound. It needs good vocal work to hold this together and luckily Eric comes through unscathed. Grows into a wilder affair than the Hooker version but still maintains the same bluesy appeal.

‘AROUND AND AROUND’ is the second Chuck Berry song on the album, and it was recently recorded by the Stones. As the instrumental line-up of the Animals is different, a different sound is achieved on this wild closer to an excellent album.

The album was produced by Mickey Most, and the number is Columbia 33 SX 1669.

© Norman JoplingRecord Mirror, 14 November 1964

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