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on 16 February 2004
This collection pulls together all the Animals recordings made with producer Mickie Most, and with keyboardist Alan Price on-board. It shows the breadth of the Animals repetoire and, because it includes just about everything they recorded, it's limits too. Highlights are the ever-wonderful songs like House of the Rising Son, Bring it on Home to Me, Worried Life Blues et al. This collection also includes some fine rarities like the extended version of Talking About You, where Price really wigs out in his long organ solo. The poorer tracks like F.E.E.L. and I'm in Love Again are only poor because they sound so much like other songs on the collection (Talking About You and Take it Easy, respectively). But how far can you take a basic 12 bar blues or r'n'b song? In this *classic* 41 track collection, the Animals certainly show us!
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on 4 July 2003
Although now eclipsed by the likes of The Rolling Stones, Cream and The Yardbirds, there is a case to be made for the Animals as the best of the Sixties British Power Blues bands. Like those other groups, the Animals took originals by the likes of John Lee Hooker and Chuck Berry and amped them up to deliver songs of a strong, raw emotional content backed by deep bass chords and a fervent lead guitar/vocal combination.
Where The Animals score over many British groups of the Sixties, however, is in the dual strength of Eric Burden’s powerful yet soulful voice and Alan Price’s flourishing keyboard playing. The former is heard to great effect on songs like Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, in which Burden expounds an anguish that hits you at gut level, and the truly magnificent I Believe To My Soul which shows that he was really one of our greatest Blues voices; he screams and pleads as if, as the title suggests, it’s from his very soul. Price’s contribution, especially on the organ, makes songs like House of the Rising Sun and Worried Life Blues near masterpieces of British sixties soul/blues.
Where The Animals failed was in their inability to go the next step from a group referencing Blues classics to one able to put their own spin on the genre and create original work. The Rolling Stones did it, Cream did it and The Yardbirds did it in the form of Led Zeppelin. It’s a pity that The Animals couldn’t produce many self-penned songs because they had the credentials to be as good as anything else out there.
If you want an introduction to The Animals, this is probably the best you can get. It contains all their best tracks as well as some previously unreleased ones. The fact that they were a group who never quite managed to head in their own direction is evident in the sameness of much of the two CDs, but it’s still excellent value for money. If you love Blues, try this; it’s a part of blues history.
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The Animals, a group that included Eric Burdon and Alan Price, were the first major pop stars to emerge from Newcastle, a city located about 300 miles north of London, therefore far removed from where most talent scouts were searching. It is fortunate for us all that the Animals were discovered because they recorded some of the best R+B music to come of the UK in the sixties.
Their biggest hit was House of the rising sun, a re-working of a folk song (apparently inspired by Josh White's version of the song) that gave them a transatlantic number one hit. They had five other top ten UK hits with Mickie Most, these being I'm crying, Don't let me be misunderstood (a cover of a Nina Simone song), Bring it on home to me (a Sam Cooke cover), We gotta get out of this place (the version included here is the UK version – a markedly different recording was released in America but was unavailable for inclusion in this set) and It's my life.
Apart from their singles, the Animals recorded many other covers including Boom boom, Dimples, I'm mad again (all John Lee Hooker), Around and around, Memphis Tennessee, How you've changed (all Chuck Berry), I'm in love again, I've been around (both Fats Domino), Talking about you, Hallelujah I love her so and I believe to my soul (all Ray Charles), These covers clearly demonstrate what their main influences were, but they also wrote some of their own songs.
All the music I've mentioned so far and much more can be found on this excellent compilation. Nevertheless, despite the title of the compilation, it isn't actually their complete recordings – there is a sub-text explaining that these are the complete recordings that they made with Mickie Most as producer, although the liner notes describe their whole career. After the split, they switched to another record label, where they had some success using the name Eric Burdon and the Animals, including two more UK top ten hits (Don't bring me down, San Franciscan nights) and several lesser hits, all of which can be found elsewhere (search for Eric Burdon. Alan Price left the group before the split with Mickie Most and had several hits as a solo singer. These are also outside the scope of this collection but are easy to find.
This complete collection (apart from the American version of We've got to get out of this place) of the first and most important part of the Animals' career may be more than some people want – there are single CD collections available if you just want the hits – but if, like me, you like to explore beyond the hits, this is for you.
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After nearly 25 years of CD reissues The Animals back catalogue still frustrates - especially when it comes to price and sound. There are other reissues that offer more for sure (and man do some of them cost), but none that do the job so thoroughly as this early 2CD retrospective from EMI. It covers the Newcastle R'n'B band's rocking beginnings with EMI's Columbia Records (MGM in the USA) between 1964 and 1965 - Production by Mickie Most. It used the NoNoise Sonic Solutions process for remasters and achieved great results too. Here is a detailed show of what's on offer (with a Discography)...

UK released July 1990 - "The Complete Animals" is a 2CD set on EMI Records CD EM 1367 (Barcode 0077779461325) breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (65:36 minutes):
1. Boom Boom
2. Talkin' 'Bout You (Full Version - see Singles No.2 below)
3. Blue Feeling (Previously Unreleased In The UK)
4. Dimples
5. Baby Let Me Take You Home
6. Gonna Send You Back To Walker
7. Baby What's Wrong (Previously Unreleased)
8. The House Of The Rising Sun
9. F-E-E-L (Previously Unreleased)
10. I'm Mad Again
11. The Right Time
12. Around And Around
13. I'm In Love Again
14. Bury My Body
15. She Said Yeah
16. I'm Crying
17. Take It Easy
18. The Story Of Bo Diddley
19. The Girl Can't Help It
20. I've Been Around

Disc 2 (60:14 minutes):
1. Memphis Tennessee
2. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
3. Club-A-Gogo
4. Roadrunner
5. Hallelujah I Love Her So
6. Don't Want Much (Previously Unreleased)
7. I Believe To My Soul
8. Let The Good Times Roll
9. Mess Around
10. How You've Changed
11. I Ain't Got You
12. Roberta
13. Bright Lights Big City
14. Worried Life Blues
15. Bring It On Home To Me
16. For Miss Caulker
17. I Can't Believe It
18. We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place
19. It's My Life
20. I'm Going To Change The World

Outside of the FOUR tracks noted in the lists above as being 'Previously Unreleased' - the remainder of the 36 songs on this 2CD set will allow fans to digitally line up THE ANIMALS years with Columbia Records in the UK and MGM Records in the USA between 1964 and 1965 - non-album singles and both of their UK albums complete. You can sequence them as follows [17/1 = Track 17 on Disc 1, 2/2 = Track 2 on Disc 2 etc]:

1. Baby Let Me Take You Home [4/1] b/w Gonna Send You Back To Walker [6/1] - April 1964 UK 7" on Columbia DB 7247 and September 1964 USA 7" on MGM K 13242.
Note: USA had "Gonna Send You Back To Walker" as the A with "Baby..." on the B.

2. The House Of The Rising Sun [8/1] b/w Talkin' 'Bout You [2/1] - June 1964 UK 7" on Columbia DB 7301 and July 1964 USA 7" on MGM K 13264.
Note: the single mix of "Talkin' 'Bout You" runs to less than 2 minutes; this CD provides the 'Full Version' at over seven minutes.

3. I'm Crying [16/1] b/w Take It Easy [17/1] - September 1964 UK 7" on Columbia DB 7354 and October 1964 USA 7" on MGM K 13274.

4. Boom Boom [1/1] b/w Blue Feeling [3/1] - November 1964 USA 7" MGM Records K 13298 [No UK release]

5. Don't Let Me Misunderstood [2/2] b/w Club A-Gogo [3/2] - January 1965 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7445 and February 1965 USA 7" on MGM K 13311

6. Bring It On Home To Me [15/2] b/w For Miss Caulker [16/2] - April 1965 UK 7" on Columbia DB 7539 and May 1965 USA 7" on MGM K 13339

7. We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place [18/2] b/w I Can't Believe It [17/2] - July 1965 UK 7" on Columbia DB 7741 and August 1965 USA 7" on MGM K 13382

8. It's My Life [19/2] b/w I'm Gonna Change The World [20/2] - October 1965 UK 7" on Columbia DB 7741 and November 1965 USA 7" on MGM K 13414

"The Animals", October 1964 UK LP on Columbia 33SX 1669
Side 1.
1. Story Of Bo Diddley [18/1]
2. Bury My Body [14/1]
3. Dimples [4/1]
4. I've Been Around [20/1]
5. I'm In Love Again [13/1]
6. The Girl Can't Help It [19/1]
Side 2:
1. I'm Mad Again [10/1]
2. She Said Yeah [15/1]
3. The Right Time [11/1]
4. Memphis [1/2]
5. Boom Boom [1/1]
6. Around And Around [12/1]

"Animal Tracks", May 1965 UK LP on Columbia 33SX 1708
Side 1:
1. Mess Around [9/2]
2. How You've Changed [10/2]
3. Hallelujah I Love Her So [5/2]
4. I Believe To My Soul [7/2]
5. Worried Life Blues [14/2]
6. Roberta [12/2]
Side 2:
1. I Ain't Got You [11/2]
2. Bright Lights Big City [13/2]
3. Let The Good Times Roll [8/2]
4. For Miss Caulker [16/2]
5. Roadrunner [4/2]

The piddly 8-page inlay is a strangely disorganised affair even by today's standards. The tracks are listed across two pages with no discography info (you can't work out what track is on what) - Disc 2 is typed over Disc 1 in error and worse there's a Track 21 listed on the rear sleeve for Disc 2 (not in the booklet) called "New Year Radio Spot" but it never turns up! But it has to be said that Brian Hogg's densely packed essay (a deep appraisal of the band) is great - as are the three colour photos depicting sheet music and magazine covers with a broody Eric Burdon giving his best cowboy stare. Outside of the NoNoise Logo and explanation on the rear of the double jewel case as to the process (removing hiss from tapes) - it doesn't say who did what or where -but the sonic results are great - packing real punch and clarity. What's missing of course is the natural air surrounding the recordings - breathing like they did on those original vinyl records - so some might find the cleanliness a little 'too' sterile in places.

Musically the Blues, R'n'B and Rock 'n' Roll Heroes of John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles and Chuck Berry loom large over every tune with a smattering of Jimmy Reed and even Louis Jordan. The American only B-side of "Blue Feeling" is a welcome inclusion as is the hopping R'n'B of the shockingly good Previously Unreleased "F-E-E-L" and "Don't Want Much". Great album tracks include "Bury My Body" and the very Stones Blues of "I'm Mad Again" where Alan Price's wicked organ runs sound like the Doors a year before they happened. "Roberta" is great Sixties Rock 'n' Roll and I still get a kick out of that bass intro to "We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place". Another nugget is their take on Chet Attkins "It's My Life" which they instill with a kicking Kinks guitar-vibe (lyrics above).

Their stay at Decca for "Animalisms" and "Animalization" in 1966 is the subject of other CD reissues. But if you want to know why Them and The Animals elicited such homegrown excitement in the UK - then this is a sonically cool/slightly flawed place to start...
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on 30 June 2013
The Complete Animals could easily be interpreted as a misleading title. Yes, as far as the recorded output of the group for EMI is concerned, it's complete. EMI even managed to come up with a handful of outtakes. Very nice. But as far as their total recorded output of 1964-1966 is regarded, we are missing everything The Animals recorded for Decca in 1965 and 1966. This includes three singles, Inside Looking Out, Don't Bring Me Down and See See Rider, the latter being recorded with the classic line up minus Alan Price, but promoted under the name of Eric Burdon & The Animals.
There are also a few flaws in the set as far as presentation is regarded. The back cover of the CD suggests that there is a track 21 on CD 2 called 'New Year Radio Spot'. Well, the track is certainly not on my CD.
Also, part of Brian Hogg's liner notes have been printed in the wrong order. On the third page of the liner notes Alan Price leaves The Animals and Dave Rowberry replaces him. It then continues with Eric Burdon retaing the group's name and hiring musicians for his New Animals in 1966 and after that it's back to 1965 where the group manages to take 'It's My Life' to #7 in The UK. A shame no one took the trouble of checking the booklet properly.
Besides that, you just can't go wrong with The Animals. And that is what matters the most. As far as their recorded output for EMI is concerned, I could not imagne a more complete set.
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on 22 May 2016
Special Band. Special Song: 'House of the Rising Sun' played on my (slightly beaten-up-but-elegant 1957 Humber Hawk) car radio, driving in the sun in Wokingham in 1964 when it first came out, whilst apprenticed in the Army, and it set me to put my pedal-to-the-metal and nearly crash as a result. It was an astonishingly good record and had such an impact that few other records have ever achieved. (I could cite here Bobby Darin's 'Dream Lover', 21 Pilots' 'Stressed Out', and the whole of Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde', etc). 'The Complete' just fills in all the cracks, as 'twere, and gives a real sense of how things were for this band during its struggling as well as its great years. Great compilation.
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on 15 February 2010
As a fifty something listener it was time to return to the music of my youth. This was the start. An excellent compilation of early Animals music, it will serve as a good introduction to the R+B scene of the Sixties.
Sound quality is good, I think that some tracks have been remixed but couldn't really confirm that. This really invokes the 60s Newcastle music scene, Club-a-Gogo, shame that that has gone the way of all things. Highly recommended.
Dave Green
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on 10 December 2012
Very early animals compilation of singles and EP material plus the band's first 2 albums.

For me they were never as good as the Rolling Stones, The Them or The Pretty Things, but Eric Burdon had a good voice and the keyboard player was pretty amazing . I can hear their influence on american bands more to be honest particularly Jim Morrison & The Doors.

Clearly huge fans of Ray Charles, Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker, they go at the material with a fair bit of spirit but they seemed a bit shackled in the studio at this stage to be honest .

It contains a lot of filler but it does have the likes of "House of the Rising Sun", "We Gotta Get Out of this Place" and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" but there has to be a better, more concise and comprehensive compilation than this one
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on 17 October 2011
This is not a deluxe edition by any means. However it contains all the hits and comes at a reasonable price. For the casual fan, such as myself, this is ideal. By the way, did you know that when Alan Price left the band he was briefly replaced by Micky Gallagher who was later the keyboard player in Ian Dury's Blockheads?
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on 20 October 2014
Classic British Rock album, Every track from The Animals that you could ever want. Love the iconic photo on the "sleeve" - I had the vinyl LP with the same photo, it was called "Animal Tracks" - this one has more tracks than the original vinyl - This is a really good album well worth a listen
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