By current standards, this reissue of The Animals' first two albums is basic. There are no bonus tracks and the insert consists of no more than the original artwork for both albums. At 70 minutes of music by one of the best British r&b bands, however, it would be churlish to complain.
A look at the tracklist reveals a repertoire common to most bands of the genre in that era. Only two of the songs are original and one of those, the opener, is a Bo Diddley shuffle which contains snippets of songs by other artists. Elsewhere, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles and Fats Domino are all well-represented. However familiar the material might be, however, The Animals excel in their performance of it. They tackle slow blues, fast rhythm numbers, boogie and rock and roll with equal aplomb. The 'Animal Tracks' album shows maturity, notably on slower songs such as 'How You've Changed' and 'I Believe To My Soul', but their first album has a rugged charm, not least for a rhythm section that rumbles like thunder. There are some comprehensive compilations out there that feature their very best material, but I prefer this in tandem with The Singles Plus as they concentrate on the more exciting early material.
This would have five stars but for the fact this has The Animals on it. You can take or leave this plain vanilla reworking of soul, but Animal Tracks is a different...animal...altogether. Animal Tracks is a far more mature sound and the blues really is bluesy and was my first real discovery of white boys playing blues and really meaning it.
Two very good Albums on one CD by one of the best groups of all time. Very good covers of blues and soul standards by Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker etc. I think Eric Burdon is one of the best white soul singers. I recommend this album to all lovers of music from the 60's, and especially lovers of soul and blues.