The old Growler is back on form
Eric Burdon has been a part of my life for as long as I remember as there were three Animal’s EP’s in a box of records that I was given when I was about 9 yrs old; coupled with the fact he comes from about 10 miles North of my home we were practically related.
It’s fair to say that he will always be judged by a handful of songs he recorded in the early 1960’s but he’s never stopped recording or touring in the intervening 50 years; although many of those recording were clunkers; there was always something hidden in the corners to make you believe that his time just might come again.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed, because ‘Til Your River Runs Dryjust might be the album to get him the attention from his peers that he so obviously craves; and hopefully; some hard earned cash too.
The album opens with a song called Water and it would be fair to say it’s something of a protest song; as it is about one of the planet’s ever dwindling commodities and Eric isn’t happy, “Water, water, water / To drink, to put down the fire / Water, water, water / The truth the shame the liar,” he cries and so obviously means it.
Burdon’s recent work has usually included a song about the Devil and this time The Devil and Jesus is one of his finest; with his voice never sounding better on a battle between the two over his Soul and we never find out which he thinks will be the ultimate winner.
Old Habits Die Hard opens with some crackling guitars and piano before Eric grabs the mic and belts out a Rock song that many famous singers half his age would be proud to call their own.
My favourite song on the album is his peen to his musical mentor – Bo Diddley Special; which features Jon Cleary playing the organ in a New Orleans whorehouse style and the chunka-chunka beat that Bo was famous for threads throughout the Geordie singers love song to a man he never met.
The album actually ends with Diddley’s Before You Accuse me; but that’s just a singer going through the motions on a Rock standard.
27 Forever is a good song; but the story becoming a bit of a Rock cliché as Burdon sings about all of the famous stars that died aged 27. It’s far from being a bad song; just a dull subject.
Mercifully it is followed by Eric performing an atmospheric Voodoo talking Blues that continues the ‘water’ them – The River is Rising and it is possibly the best song he’s performed in nearly 40 years.
For all his trials and tribulations, Eric Burdon has always been one of my musical heroes; I just love the guys voice and ‘Til The River Runs Dry is an extremely well produced album that plays to his strengths and is well worth a sneaky listen.