2 LPs on 1 CD: WINDS OF CHANGE (1967)/THE TWAIN SHALL MEET (1968).
Eric Burdon & the Animals: Eric Burdon (vocals); Victor Briggs (guitar, piano, vibraphone); Danny McCulloch, John Weider, Barry Jenkins.
Personnel: John Weider (guitar, violin); Vic Briggs (guitar, piano, vibraphone); Danny McCulloch (bass guitar); Barry Jenkins (drums).
Audio Remixers: Eddie Kramer; Gary Kellgren.
Liner Note Authors: Eric Burdon; Alan Clayson.
BGO Records has done all listeners a favor with this double-CD release -- Winds of Change and The Twain Shall Meet were the two most accessible albums in the output of Eric Burdon & the Animals, both aglow in the spirit of the Summer of Love and its long aftermath in San Francisco, and if they had flaws (mostly an over-reliance on Burdon as a profound talker on Winds of Change and too little time to do the extended songs full justice on The Twain Shall Meet), they were still solid pieces of psychedelia. Indeed, although they're often maligned by the critics and scholars, this version of the Animals produced some of the ballsiest, most intense and involving psychedelic music of the late '60s in the form of these two albums -- in truth, once you got past the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, and the Yardbirds, most British psychedelia was winky, lightweight stuff, all tinkling harpsichords and pop melodies that were too pretty, without a lot of power or much that was memorable. These two Animals albums, by contrast, both lingered, mostly by virtue of their singles (which, to be fair, have been excerpted onto a best-of compilation CD); heard in context here, those singles deeply evoke the passions of the period, from the consciousness expansion embodied by tracks such as "We Love You Lil" to the powerful and (sadly, in 2004) still-relevant "Sky Pilot," one of the most bitterly powerful of all antiwar songs ever to aspire to popularity during the Vietnam era. The mastering of both albums is very clean, and the annotation is surprisingly thorough. ~ Bruce Eder