AND THE ANIMALS
Dell rats identified with the Eric Burdon and the Animals. They shared the English band's blue collar, industrial working class sensibilities. Eric Burdon and his mates were champions of the underdog. Their songs expressed anger, defiance and determination to rise above.
Penned by the famous Brill Building songwriting husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" was recorded by the Animals and became at top 15 hit single in America as well as a popular anthem among American Armed Forces serving in Vietnam. Yet the original version of the record that Americans had come to know and love suddenly disappeared, arbitrarily pulled out
of circulation for almost 40 years while an alternate version played on the radio and was used on Animals reissues and compilations.
I know what
In 1965 the two different versions of "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" were recorded during the same studio session. One version featured an angrier, more intense Eric Burdon vocal and slightly different lyrics. Somehow the weaker take with a less powerful Burdon performance was declared the "official" recording, was sent to the UK, and was the only version of the song ever released there. It gets better. In another mixup, the clearly superior version was "mistakenly" released in the USA and was the one to which Americans were exposed. When Allen B. Klein acquired rights to the Animals catalog he directed that the kinder, gentler "correct" UK version be used in all future American reissues and compilations. (Nooooo!!!) Fans of the bold U.S. original were outraged. They spent decades listening to the anemic, eviscerated UK rendition and waited impatiently for the familiar American version to be released on CD. In 2004 it finally was.
Eric Burdon and the Animals performed their Americanized version of "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" in the 1967 movie It's a Bikini World.
"We Gotta Get Out of This Place" (October 1965,
highest chart position #13, scene from 1967 movie
It's a Bikini World)
One of the Animals most exciting recordings was "Inside-Looking Out," in which a prison inmate describes the torture and torment of confinement, the yearning for freedom and the need to be reunited with his woman. "Inside-Looking Out" brushed the top 10 back home in the UK but struggled to reach the top 40 stateside. Eric Burdon and his band turned in a great performance of "Inside-Looking Out" in this 1966 television appearance.
"Inside-Looking Out" - Animals (April 1966, highest
chart position #34)
"See See Rider," a shouting version of a traditional blues dating back to the mid 1920s, was the last Animals single released before the band broke up, reformed with new members, and officially became Eric Burdon and the Animals. Although they had not yet disbanded at the time "See See Rider" was released, the name was already changed to give Eric Burdon top billing.
"See See Rider" - Eric Burdon & the Animals
(November 1966, highest chart position #10)
"Help Me Girl," the next American single credited to Eric Burdon & the Animals, was actually an Eric Burdon solo backed by the Horace Ott Orchestra that appeared on his 1967 solo album Eric is Here. It didn't matter to me which personnel produced the sound. All I knew is that I loved it. "Help Me Girl" became my favorite Eric Burdon performance with about a dozen of his other recordings tied for second place.
"Help Me Girl" - Eric Burdon & the Animals
(January 1967, highest chart position #29)
Memphis born soul man Homer Banks spent three years working in the record shop attached to Satellite Studios,
the hit factory belonging to Stax Records. He was denied the opportunity to record for Stax but was hired as a songwriter. In 1968, as part of a three member writing team, Banks penned "Who's Making Love" which became a smash for Johnnie Taylor and the biggest hit ever for the Stax label. Banks also had a hand in writing Luther Ingram's 1972 R&B chart topper "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right."
While writing for Stax, Homer Banks made one of the most exciting R&B stompers you'll ever hear. (Ain't That) "A Lot of Love" was released in 1966 on Minit Records, went uncharted stateside, but became a favorite in England's Northern Soul clubs as well as on my own turntable. Listen and you will recognize the riff that was later used by the Spencer Davis Group (and Jordan Brothers) on the hit "Gimme Some Lovin'."
"(Ain't That) A Lot of Love" Homer Banks (1966, uncharted)
THE AMBOY DUKES
Motor City Madman Ted Nugent logged the first hit of his career with his Detroit band the Amboy Dukes. Nugent, one of the rare rockers who openly stated that he didn't drink alcohol or smoke tobacco or marijuana, claims he never knew that the song "Journey to the Center of the Mind" was about drug use. Really Ted? Deny...deny...deny... all the way to the bank.
"Journey to the Center of the Mind" - Amboy Dukes
(August 1968, highest chart position #16)
Sultry, seductive soul sister LaVern Baker is best known for her string of fine R&B recordings on Atlantic.
In recent years, I discovered a lost treasure that LaVern recorded later in her career
on Brunswick, Chicago's legendary
Feast your ears on a genuine gem of northern soul. It's a power packed track recorded in the late 60s and locked in the vault for decades until recently released for the first time on CD.
Listen now to LaVern Baker's "Wrapped, Tied, and Tangled."
"Wrapped, Tied and Tangled" LaVern Baker (late 60s, unreleased)
"Watch Out" is an atypical Abba recording. It's one of the tracks on the Swedish pop super group's second studio album and the rockin' B side of their top 10 hit single "Waterloo." I owned this Atlantic 45 and found myself playing "Watch Out" more often than the hit A side! Watch out... here comes Abba with a refreshingly different sound!
"Watch Out" - Abba (July 1974, uncharted B side
Finally, in honor of a very special lady and a very special friend on her special day, I present this popular recording by the Bachelors. Founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1957, the group originally played harmonica instrumentals and were known as the Harmonichords. In 1962 they change their name to the Bachelors just in time to join the British Invasion, appearing on Hullabaloo London and other teen music programs of the period. In the USA, the Bachelors had hits with "I Believe," "No Arms Can Ever Hold You," "Chapel in the Moonlight" and "Marie" but my favorite remains their first hit, the top 10 charting "Diane."
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR THISISME!
"Diane" - Bachelors (May 1964,
highest chart position #10)
Have a Shady day!