The Animals – ‘Animalism’ (1966)

Uncategorized October 10, 2022

The Animals – ‘Animalism’ (1966)

November 21, 1966 saw the final U.S. release by The Animals with guitarist Hilton Valentine, bassist/vocalist Chas Chandler and organist/pianist Dave Rowberry backing lead vocalist Eric Burdon, Barry Jenkins drumming on ten of twelve tracks, John Steele appearing on the other two. By the time ‘Animalism’ appeared in music shops Burdon was already touring with a new lineup under the name “Eric Burdon & The Animals.”

The 2014 reissue of ‘Animalism’ reviewed here is the mono version and contains eleven bonus tracks recorded by the new lineup for a January 1967 appearance on the German television show ‘Beat Club’ and an August 1967 performance for BBC television. The LP itself was a commercial success, reaching #33 on the Billboard charts and a fine farewell for The Animals, setting the stage for the October 1967 debut LP ‘Winds Of Change’ by Eric Burdon & The Animals

‘Animalism’ , like previous albums by The Animals, was a collection of American R&B and blues standards by artists such as Sam Cooke, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters B.B. King and St. Louis Jimmy Oden, among others, in this case also including covers of tunes from rock guitar virtuoso Frank Zappa, American singer/songwriter Fred Neil and even British singer/songwriter Donovan, who, like The Animals, had been produced by hitmaker Mickie Most. The LP opens with the Zappa penned ‘All Night Long’ given the band’s usual treatment with Valentine’s guitar and Rowberry’s organ carrying the melody and both contributing solos. A five and a half minute take on B.B. King’s ‘Rock Me Baby’ showcases Valentine’s snaking lead guitar line and extended solo, aided by Rowberry’s organ. The group’s cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Smokestack Lightning’ finds Valentine and Rowberry leading the way with Chandler and Jenkins locked into a groove, Rowberry delivering an organ interlude while Valentine holds a steady riff as the band shifts into rave up mode for the tune’s final minute. Burdon’s vocals are front and center on Donovan’s ‘Hey Gyp’, Rowberry taking a mid-tune organ solo leading to one by Jenkins on drums as Valentine revs up to rock the song to a close. The real highlight, however, is the album closer, a six minute plus take on St. Louis Jimmy Oden’s ‘Going Down Slow’ which features a nicely restrained lead line by Valentine supported by Rowberry’s organ, with Chandler and Jenkins holding the beat. At 2:45 Valentine cuts loose with an extended solo that builds as it soars, the band comfortable with, and well suited for stretching out as it does on this tour de force, an incredible way for The Animals to close out their recorded legacy.

The bonus material starts with eight tracks from a January 1967 BBC appearance by the new lineup of Burdon (lead vocals), John Weider (guitar, violin), Vic Briggs (guitar, piano), Danny McCulloch (bass) and Barry Jenkins (drums). The performance begins with a revved up take on Ma Rainey’s classic ‘C.C. Rider’, with Weider and Briggs’ guitars and Rowberry’s organ roaring. A melodic, mid-tempo run through ‘A Love Like Yours’ leads to a fiery version of ‘Shake, Rattle & Roll’ with screaming guitars complementing vocal harmonies. A bluesy delivery of J.D. Loudermilk’s ‘Tobacco Road’ features a stinging guitar solo and driving lead guitar line. Weider and Briggs have their guitars revved up and ready to rock on Bo Diddley’s ‘Roadrunner’ which finds the band racing from start to finish. The group’s BBC performance begins with Burdon’s ‘When I Was Young’, which serves as a harbinger of things to come, being an original, and combining Weider’s violin and Briggs’ guitar as the sound explodes on this tale of youth and sexual experimentation. The band follows with relaxed takes on ‘A Love Like Yours’ and the Jagger/Richard composition ‘Connection’. A white hot run through the Burdon blues based original ‘It’s All Meat’ again features Weider on violin and Briggs on guitar while named dropping Muddy Water, Jimmy Reed, Eric Clapton and Muhammad Ali among others. ‘San Franciscan Nights’ showcases the new lineup at their best, Weider and Briggs trading guitar licks while Burdon sings the praises of San Francisco during the summer of love, the band performing with such ease as to appear capable of operating on autopilot. The appearance ends where this reissue begins with a nice run through Zappa’s ‘All Night Long’, guitars blazing over Burdon’s vocals.

‘Animalism’ is presented in its mono version on this release from the Swedish Flawed Gems label utilizing a mint vinyl source. With the recently released mono versions of the first four US albums by The Animals and Esoteric Recordings’ 2020 5 CD boxed set ‘When I Was Young-The MGM Recordings 1967-1968’ using original master tape sources, one hopes ‘Animalism’ follows suit soon. Until then however, this CD is the best available for ‘Animalism’ in mono, (it is available in stereo on the 1995 Oxford label reissue ‘Animalism & Bonus Hits’), thus filling a hole in The Animals discography for collectors. The disc has a run time of 76:55 and contains original album artwork, full track listings and musician credits as well as a four page insert with liner notes by DoDo Bruneau and a two panel centerfold of the band.

Kevin Rathert

The Animals – ‘Animalism’ (1966, 2014 Flawed Gems reissue)

  1. Josef Kloiber says:

    Have this. Probably his best just before he went to S. F.
    Kevin The Spirit Mercury Years is awesome ! That was a really good tip ! I was wrong to be skeptical. THANKS FOR THAT.
    And now one more question:
    Since J. Hendrix is something like No.1 for you( i myself was never a particularly intensive Hendrix listened, but sure he is great), i would like to ask you which cds apart from the ones i list and own are still recommended ?? Thank you.
    Are you Expiemced, Axis bold…, Electric Ladyland, Atlanta 70, Blues, Monterey, Fillmore East 69/70, Band of Gypsys. Albert Hall 1969, Miami 68, BBC, Jewel Box, People Hell and Angels, Valley of Neptune, Both sicks of the sky, 4 cd Box rel. 2000 this is exc. and Noel Redding- the experience sessions.

  2. Kevin Rathert says:

    Josef, there is a 10 CD set called “In The Studio” that I have always enjoyed. Looks like you have a wonderful collection of Jimi. Yes, I’m a huge fan. Do you have the Purple Haze label releases? ‘The Rainbow Bridge Concert’ is a double of the actual concert on Maui. ‘Axis Outtakes’, ‘No More A Rolling Stone’, ‘Am I Blue’ ‘Stockholm Concert’, ‘Truth And Emotion’, all double sets. There’s also an ‘Are You Experienced’ double which isn’t listed in Discogs that is quite good on Purple Haze. They are all bootleg, but good quality. I’ll have to ponder further as I have about 100 discs by Jimi. Get back to you later with more. Sorry I missed your comment until now.

  3. Kevin Rathert says:

    Josef, glad you enjoyed the Spirit ‘Mercury Era Anthology’. I thought you’d like it. Do you have Lincoln St. Exit’s ‘Drive It!’ on Flawed Gems? Sadly it’s the only reissue of the album and all of the band’s singles and it’s a bootleg. I interviewed their lead guitarist/lead vocalist/songwriter Michael Martinez, credited as Michael Martin on the darned CD, several years ago. The rights are tangled up because of Mainstream Records and Mike can’t even get the rights to his own music but the needle drop on Flawed Gems is excellent and ‘Drive It!’ may be the best heavy psych album ever. Up there with ‘Population II’ by Randy Holden. You probably already have the album, but the CD has all the singles and even the pre-Lincoln St. cuts credited to Xit, the same band. Write more soon.

  4. Kevin Rathert says:

    Josef, the other Purple Haze Records release is called ‘Are You Experienced (And More) and is another double disc set. There are lots of duplicatons in Hendrix releases unfortunately. I’ve quit buying as the market is saturated with live Jimi and my collection has become so large I can’t possibly listen to everything I have. The Pentangle ‘Through The Years: 1984-1995’ 6 disc set review coming up soon may be of interest to you. Bert Jansch and Jacqui McShee are together throughout and there are lots of BBC recordings previously unreleased. I like Pentangle a lot, especially with Peter Kirtley, even without John Renbourn. What do you think of them?

  5. Stuart Robertson says:

    It can be confusing concerning The Animals album releases,as their was a UK 66 album titled”Animalisms”,this was the album after they left Mickie Most and EMI,they’d lost Alan Price and John Steel,who was replaced by Dave Rowberry ,this album was produced by Tom Wilson and released on Decca Records,and again its a 12 track album of covers of RnB,blues and soul,with only 3 self written numbers,2 by Burdon/Rowberry “You’re on my Mind”,”She’ll Return It” and 1 by Roewberry”Clapping”.

    This album features the much covered “I Put A Spell On You”but this album has nothing to do with the US album “Animalism”hence the “S”on the UK title”Animalsms”.

    There is a legit cd reissue of this UK title,on Secret Records,featuring 13 bonus tracks,featuring the likes of See See Rider,Inside Looking Out,Don’t Bring Me Down,Help Me Girl,Big Boss Man etc.Basically Decca recordings.It’s rather good !!Another one to fill holes in the mixed up confused discography of The Animals.

    After the split of the “original”Animals,there was an inbetween album of sorts titled”Eric Is Here”credited to Eric Burdon and The Animals from early 67.Which features songs like Mama Told Me Not To Come,I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today,Help Me Girl,In The Night,it’s Not easy,It’s Been A Long Time Comin’and more,again produced by Tom Wilson.
    It seems to be a stopgap while Eric Burdon puts together a more psychedelicised Animals,and their upheavel to the USA.This seems to be only available on cd on One Way Records from 95,i’ve never saw this available on any other cd.

    I also have the 1995 Oxford cd,of the US “Animalism”with 12 bonus tracks,a strange mix of early Animals titles like Blue Feeling from 64,Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood from 65 and later Animals titles like A Girl Named Sandoz,Gratefully Dead,both non album single sides from 68,and singles like Monterey(67) and San Franciscan Nights(67),along with When i Was Young and Aint It So.So the bonus tracks is a bit of a confusing mess!!!Still very worthwhile though!!Actually comes with decent liners too.

  6. Josef Kloiber says:

    Thank you Kevin for the many tips. I visiting Germany. Later you will get more information.

  7. Josef Kloiber says:

    Kevin and Stuart sorry for the late reply. I’m still in Germany and only now have the time. Above all thanks for the many Hendrix tips. As soon as I’m in Vienna I’ll take of it. Sunday I’m going back. Just briefly: Lincoln Street…I have. Excellent like so many Mainstream lps. Stuart, I only know the Pentangel from the sixties and early seventies and I know that by Ch. Red Rec. soon a box will appear from the later years. I’ll take care of it. The old Pentangel is definitely one of the best of the UL folk scene. Thanks again both of you. And I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m in Austria and if there’s an interesting post. Thank you !!!

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