From the Vault...


The Animals
"In The Beginning"

© Sundazed Records

Year of Release: 1993

track listing
  • Let It Rock
  • Gotta Find My Baby
  • Bo Diddley
  • I'm Almost Grown
  • Dimples
  • Boom Boom
  • C Jam Blues
    (Sonny Boy Drums)

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    The Animals
    "In The Beginning"

    Released on CD in 1993, The Animals' In The Beginning is an album that was originally released on vinyl in the late 60s/early 70s. This album features what is considered the first concert recorded by the group, headed by lead singer Eric Burdon.

    The concert is just over a half hour, as it was recorded on December 30, 1963. The Animals were headlining with legendary blues artist Sonny Boy Williamson, as The Animals were trying to get their big break. (It would be a year later when they hit it big with their most remembered hit, "House Of The Rising Sun".)

    This concert is rough and raw rock and blues. The first two songs were originally written by 1950s favorite, Chuck Berry. The Animals versions of "Let It Rock" and "I Got To Find My Baby" is much different than Berry's versions, as the key instrument providing the rock and blues was performed by keyboardist Alan Price. The organ supplies the most heard sounds from each song on this album, just as Ray Manzarek had demonstrated his use of the same organ instrument in the group The Doors.

    "Bo Diddley", the song written by Bo Diddley, also is much different than the original. It is much slower than Bo Diddley's version, and it has Eric Burdon's vocals as rough, which is what he always did best. With his vocal chants, he gets the audience, as well as the rest of the band in audience participation.

    Another Chuck Berry number, "Almost Grown" is an excellent cover, as Eric Burdon sings the rough vocals with the rest of the band providing backing vocals. The guitar solos stand out on this one, as guitarist Hilton Valentine provides the strings. And of course, Alan Price returns with some noticable organ solos.

    The Animals have always dedicated their love for the blues, as the next two songs were originally written by another blues legend, John Lee Hooker: "Dimples" and "Boom Boom". Both songs captures Hooker's original versions, both vocals and instrumentation.

    An Animals original ends the album, "C Jam Blues," which features Sonny Boy Williamson on drums. Sonny's name was mentioned during the singing of "Boom Boom". And as The Animals were headlining along with Williamson, it's an absolute treat to view in concert two distinguished acts sharing the same stage together. "C Jam Blues" is a 3-chord jam in the key of C. And again, Eric Burdon sings about Sonny Boy during this 4-minute-plus tune.

    In The Beginning is the beginning stages of what would later be one of many bands to become popular from the British Invasion of the 1960s. You could say this was the equivalent concert to The Beatles' Star Club performances, as The Animals were just getting started as a band, looking for the big break to become popular, just like The Beatles did. Both The Beatles and The Animals started out in 1963, as this is another coincidental comparison. The Animals concert is very good, and just being shy over a half hour, you wish that there was more, as you discover the band's early beginnings.

    Every band has a beginning, and this is The Animals beginnings in what would become later a successful career for Eric Burdon, likewise his fellow bandmates Chas Chandler (bass), Alan Price (organ), Hilton Valentine (guitar), and John Steel (drums). The band's personnel lineup changed in 1968, but later the original members would reform in 1977, and record again. Even though Eric Burdon is what made the Animals, it would be the original lineup personnel that surely defined their best years in achieving their most remembered songs and albums.

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