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Concert Review by Nick Morgan
 
ALAN GLEN AND SONNY BLACK, THE ANIMALS
Ealing Blues Festival, July 23, 2005 by Kate Kavanagh
 
Editor's note: Nick Morgan, our regular reviewer is currently "sailing up shit creek" in the Hebrides without a diesel engine and praying that two big mermaids will turn up shortly to tow them to the nearest dry land, failing that... sing "We've gotta get out of this place" and wait for the Oban lifeboat. Thank God, Kate, our official concert photographer, agreed to write a few lines about these various Animals (not the mermaids) for us.
Runnin’ down the avenue (Gunnersbury Ave., that is), I observed with relief for Alan Glen’s sake that Mister Blue Sky was living here today for another great celebration of British blues. Ace ex-Yardbirds harmonica player and his tremendous guitarist pal, Sonny Black, need not have worried earlier about weather and consequent turnout for their fine acoustic set in the beautiful park surroundings. I did note that Alan had roped in the whole of his lovely enthusiastic family, Jackie and the boys, to boost audience numbers and/or as “roadies” – bless them all!
Alan GlenAlan Glen
A splendid “tour de force” of blues harp, slide and picking and just generally great guitars from the guys took us through Slim Harpo’s (via Rolling Stones) “I’m A King Bee”, G. L. Crockett’s (via Duster Bennett) “Man Down There”, Jimmy Rogers’ (via The Barcodes) “That’s Alright”, Sonny and Brownie’s “Hoedown”, Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Byebye Bird” (check out SBW with the Yardbirds, live at the Crawdaddy some decades back, on CD). Indeed, there were plenty of Crawdaddies and Mummies around at today’s gig!
Alan Glen    

So it was good. To the extent that it deserved a commemoration (see pic). Great T-shirt, merci Serge, and not bad whisky, either! So busy dramming were they that they almost missed the next bit…

Having spent a day at London Zoo earlier this week, I thought I would be able to understand something of evolution. But not in the case of these Animals! The number of name and lineup changes over the years would require a Darwinian understanding of the British R and B species.

Put simply, today’s gang of four were formed by original “Animals” drummer John Steel. Around him were grouped Pete Barton on bass and vocals, Johnny “Guitar” Williamson on lead guitar and Micky Gallagher on keyboards. Honestly, I didn’t jump up, windmill-arm, do the splits and chorus “WHO are you?”!!
The rest of the crowd (several hundred crammed into a splendid tent and more standing five deep outside) roared their appreciation for the opening number, 1964’s “Baby Let Me Take You Home”, dedicated to “Chas” Chandler and Dave Rowberry. Nice. Then, 1965’s “It’s My Life” and the rest…a mix of new and, mostly, old. “Don’t Let Me Be…”, “I Believe”, “Bring It On Home…”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, etc.

 

 

The Animals

 

The Animals

But was it her age, the absence of THE great voice, or just her unrequited junior crush on Alan Price (please do not mention the daft “Dancing Bear” song) which made Nick’s recently “idle photographer” (now known as “Doolittle” – geddit?!) walk away from the Animals, not talk, or grunt or squeak or squawk with the Animals?
But back home, you can dram with the Animals, as you loved them! So Serge, for my big men, their fave: “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” on mp3, original version, please. Merci!! - Kate Kavanagh (text and pictures)




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