In 1965, there were two types of group in the UK: those influenced strongly by the Beatles, and those whose raison d’être was American blues and R&B. In part this split would have come about because of the pioneering blues work from Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies, who were both London based. Newcastle’s Animals and Belfast’s Them were the two biggest exceptions.
Among the highlights of this album are the Animals’ contributions to a Granada TV show “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”. Check out the clip on the net – the camera sweeps across and Eric kicks into the a cappella intro to “Talkin’ ‘Bout You” supported only by hand clapping; there’s a flourish from Alan Price’s Vox and they’re off.
Elsewhere the boys conjure up images of people like Pinetop Perkins via Ray Charles’ early classic “Mess Around”; they give us their take on the much recorded “See See Rider” which doesn’t owe a debt to anyone; and they deliver a swinging ”I Got To Find My Baby” with plenty of ad hoc extras from Eric. Several of those great hit singles (plus a flip plus some LP tracks) are here too, all benefiting from full “road testing”; Hooker’s “Boom Boom” is a stand -out with mood switching between intimacy and all out rocking.
Round about the time the Animals‘ first single was released, I saw the band perform in one of those Central London clubs you have to go downstairs to reach. They were the toughest of the British R&B Groups. They were the real thing.