Eric Burdon & the Animals
When you read the self-penned liner notes of early albums by Eric Burdon & the Animals, their gravelly voiced lead singer makes no secret of his admiration for Mick Jagger, and it’s true that those early records bear more than a slight resemblance to what the Stones were doing at the same time. However, while Mick and the boys chose to never stray far from the sonic template that first got them Rolling, Burdon has tried on - and discarded, and then tested again - more sounds and genres than a SiriusXM programmer. The last full-length to include Burdon backed by a lineup of original Animals was 1983’s Ark, one of the best “comeback” albums ever recorded and considered by some (including this writer) to be the band’s most inspired work.
Burdon has since used the Animals banner for pretty much anyone he hires for touring (other than in England, where a former band member won legal rights to the Animals name). The Animals setlists seem indistinguishable from solo tours that likewise have included music from Burdon’s stint fronting funk band War, which resulted in some of his most heard singles such as “Spill the Wine,” “Tobacco Road,” and a cover of the Stones’ “Paint it Black.” When Eric Burdon & the Animals play the Belly Up on January 9 and 10, you’re also likely to hear selections from his most recent solo album, Til Your River Runs Dry, including its lead single “Water,” said to be inspired by a geopolitical conversation he once had during a lunch with Russian premier Mikhail Gorbachev.