Winds Of Change
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1967 ('Winds Of Change') and 1968 ('The Twain Shall Meet') LPs, originally released on the MGM record label. Band includes Danny McCulloch (bass), Barry Jenkins (drums), Vic Briggs (guitar/piano) and John Weider (guitar/mandolin). Produced by Tom Wilson, and engineered by Ami Hadani and Ed Kraimer Eric Burdon's life has been a musical journey matched by few others in rock music history. He has gone from the driving force of the grittiest British Invasion band to pioneering the San Francisco psychedelic rock scene, to fronting the funk band WAR, to coming full circle and reuniting his original band, The Animals, for a series of projects and a world-wide tour, to forming a new group of "Animals" and releasing a series of live CDs and a recent DVD concert Burdon's lengthy recording career began in Newcastle, where he first covered songs by his idols, who were greats such as John Lee Hooker and Ray Charles. He and The Animals quickly gained notoriety as England's best R&B band, and were the feature of Radio Caroline's first broadcast to the US. They went on to appear with such luminaries as Sonny Boy Williamson, Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent, and took the music world by storm with their electrified version of the folk number 'House Of the Rising Sun'. They followed this up with other classics such as 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood' and 'We Gotta Get Out Of This Place'.
Top customer reviews
Monterey, included here, was a stand out single. Shame we couldn't have had a couple bonus tracks on these two albums - 'Girl named Sandoz', 'Gratefully Dead' & 'When I was Young' would have made this a wholly commercial prospect.
On "Winds of Change", in addition to the two better known GB singles, "Good Times" and "San Franciscan Nights", there's also the beautifully acoustic and melodic "Anything", a US single issued later here in GB as the follow up to "Sky Pilot", coupled with the more psych-influenced US single "Monterey" as its B-side.
The songs aren't all good, however. They're of mixed quality, with some really bad ones. The opening title track is a poor psych bandwagon-jumping tune, very much of its time, slow with sitar, howling wind effects and a spoken vocal (something of an obsession with Burdon around this time, spoiling many of the band's songs) checking out names like BB King, Charlie Parker, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Elvis, The Stones, Ravi Shankar ...zzzzzz .. the list goes on.
Another psych-style tune, "Poem by the Sea", follows, laden with echo and phasing plus nice violin, which segues into the only cover version on the album, a storming, rocking 6 minute version of "Paint it Black which is easily as good as the original Stones version. "The Black Plague" is another spoken song - 6 minutes of boredom about the plague, over one guitar and weedy bell-tolling effects. Burdon's irritating Geordie accent does not lend itself well to storytelling and as a fellow Geordie I feel fully qualified to criticise this aspect severely. Things get even worse with "Yes I am Experienced". Is it an answer to Jimi Hendrix "Are You Experienced"? Not really, it's just a piece of rubbish filler.
If you thought things could only get better then you'd be wrong. "Man-Woman" is yet another spoken tune, though I use the term very loosely. Burdon simply shouts or says stuff like "man, woman, desire, love, be my woman, I'll be your man, this is the beginning of the end, I got a little stoned" etc for over 5 minutes over a background of percussion. It's a piece of absolute dross.
"Hotel Hell" is another good tune at last, being soft, slow and acoustic, in the same vein as "Anything" with the same echo-drenched percussion but this time with a Spanish flavour to the song.
The original album tracks strangely close with "It's All Meat", a piece of standard R'n'B fodder, dressed up with a bit of echo, yet again checking out names like Ravi Shankar, Ali (the boxer) and Clapton. It sounds oddly out of place on what, even with the dross, is otherwise trying to be a very much of-its-time psych-influenced album.
Moving to "Never the Twain", the tracks are all segued together beginning with that classic US single "Monterey", about that Festival (where the band appeared) laden with sitar and just oozing that summer-of-love feeling and checking out names like Ravi Shankar, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Hugh Masekela. There are even some canny pseudo-profound lyrics in there such as "If you want to find the truth in life, then don't pass music by and you know I would not lie".
The slow, meandering "No Self Pity" is bolstered by some sitar work but that can't hide the fact that it is basically B-side quality, light-weight, filler. "Orange and Red Beams" is even poorer filler, this time with strings and brass and an irritating repetitive vocal.
Next up is the 7.5 minute psych gem of "Sky Pilot", one of my top 10 all time favourite singles. It's a song about, and the name given to, a military chaplain, with a spoken intro (surprise, surprise) superb fuzz guitar and war sounds stereo effects in the middle section. These include marching soldiers with associated bagpipes and drumming, guns firing and a plane diving and crashing. Add strings, piccolos and horns for good measure. The lyrics (which must be the best ever written by the band) reveal it to be an anti-war song, though contrary to the common belief that it was about Vietnam, it's actually about World War 2 (there weren't many soldiers marching to bagpipes and drums or prop planes crashing in Vietnam). Strangely I was unable to get this single in Newcastle at the time (something that wouldn't happen again until Queen's "Keep Yourself Alive" in 1973). As the mono and stereo mixes are considerably different, I am really pleased that both feature on this reissue.
"Sky Pilot" segues into a psych instrumental, the meandering and trippy 7 minute "We Love You Lil", with some beautiful bendy guitar, ghostly female backing and echo-laden percussion again. It's almost like being on a trip without taking anything. One of the few instrumentals I can seriously give 5/5* to. A lengthy bagpipe passage leads into the final track "All is One" which features sitar and strings plus more repetitive, spoken vocals which once again are both intrusive and irritating, spoiling the song somewhat.
i was thinking house of the rising sun, type music, but was well surprised at the content!
its a kind of mad dying 60s type of music/lyrics.
paint it black, is mad.
the whole things wierd, well interesting!
i would say buy it
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