Nick Morgan and crew
Review by Nick Morgan
ERIC BURDON AND THE ANIMALS
Jazz Café, London 4th August 2005
by Nick Morgan
say that you can never escape your past, so it’s
probably not surprising that Eric
Burdon drew the evening to a close
(much to the relief of the adoring fans in the
audience) with That Song. Verging uncomfortably
on self-parody – as he had done a number
of times during the set - Burdon was constrained
by a voice that only occasionally reached the
nerve jarring pitch of his early recordings.
In fact I have to say that I spent much of the night
thinking, as I do whenever the photographer plays
her Animals albums, less of the great songs he’s
rightly famous for, and more of all the great songs
he never recorded in a career hamstrung by an almost
overwhelming self destructiveness.Whilst his reputation
as one of rock and roll’s greats is undisputable,
he must also rank very high on the “might
have been even greater” list too.
From chart-topping Animals to a solo Eric Burdon,
through WAR, collaborations with Jimmy Witherspoon,
Animals reunions, Brian Auger and Eric Burdon, the
New Animals, and now Eric Burdon and the Animals
his career has never captured the greatness deserved
by one of popular music’s truly unique voices.
An intimate of Jimi Hendrix, one-time drug user
extraordinaire, allegedly John Lennon’s ‘the
Eggman’, the invader who took Brit rock to
the heart of California, drinker, singer of Radio
Hanoi’s favourite track (‘We gotta get
out of this place’) – Burdon has enough
in his CV to satisfy most rockers several times
over, and yet regretful under-achievement, ironically
the theme of That Song, is the thought to which
one constantly returns.
who are these Animals? On guitar Dave Restrum, School
of Rock guitarist with an Alvin Lee chin. On bass
leather trousered Dean Restrum (hey Dean, it must
have been sweaty in there), who I understand is
fond of cats. On keyboards Martin Gerschwitz, a
dead ringer for Lennie the Lion, and on drums the
beanie wearing Bernie Pershey, doing, errr….
Animal. A competent enough outfit, clearly having
fun behind a still menacingly aggressive yet now
heavy and grey Burdon (so if you look at the publicity
shots you can only conclude that he must be a shareholder
in Grecian 2000).
be fair a well put together set, mixing the old
– ‘Boom boom’, ‘Don’t
let me be misunderstood’, 'Gotta get out of
this place’, ‘It’s my Life’,
‘Tobacco Road’, with the new –
‘Once upon a time’, ‘Factory Girl’,
‘Over the border’. And Burdon certainly
gave the new songs all he could, aided by frequent
resorts to some sort of inhaler, and a very clever
use of echo on the sound system to contrive a voice
of greater range and depth than was really there.
But many of the new songs (from the new album My
Secret Life, featuring the Leonard Cohen song of
the same name) were fairly maudlin rock and roll
retrospectives – ‘Factory Girl’
being the only one that really stood out.
may be another night out for you, but it’s
a special one for me, I’ve just had a drink’
said Burdon returning for the encore, vodka firmly
on amp (next to the inhaler). So we got a thankfully
brief drunk routine before Chuck Berry’s ‘Little
Queenie’ and, of course, That Song.
audience were in raptures, none more so than the
photographer, who with her second dose of Animals
in a fortnight was so excited that she jammed the
mechanism on the Whiskyfun gig-camera. Sorry folks
– no pics! Me – well like Eric I’d
done another night on duty, but I left Camden Town
(this dirty old part of the city, where the sun
refused to shine) with more regret than relief.
But Eric, if you read the note that the photographer
left backstage for you, and happen to read this
review, then please don’t let me be misunderstood.
You were a contender; you could have been the best.
- Nick Morgan (photos by Rudolf Uhrig, Follets)
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