Guide to British Music of the 1960s

September 2020

CD Review: Eric Burdon & the Animals - Love Is

After Eric Burdon left the Animals he moved to California and immersed himself in the hippie scene. A new line-up of the "Animals" recorded two LPs and played the Monterey Festival in 1967. Further personnel changes resulted in Zoot Money and Andy Summers joining from the Big Roll Band and they played on Love Is, the only studio recording of future Police member Summers with the Animals.

Love Is was originally released as a double LP. There is only one band-written track which is Eric Burdon's I'm Dying. Madman Running Through the Fields was written by Zoot Money and Andy Summers. The Animals were playing Dantalion's Chariot songs in the live set so this was effectively a cover version of a psychedelic classic.

The album is really a mix of styles from the purer blues of As the Years Go Passing By to the soul sound of River Deep, country of Ring of Fire and psychedelia of Madman Running Through the Fields. Traffic's Coloured Rain is far longer than the original and is a great showcase for Eric Burdon's voice.

The opening track River Deep, Mountain High is a cover of the Ike & Tina Turner classic and a bold choice. However, Burdon has a superb voice and he carries the song well. Indeed Burdon's voice is powerful across the album with the exception of the final track where the lead vocal is taken, not surprisingly, by Zoot Money.

Barry and Robin Gibb's To Love Somebody is a wonderful song. Barry Gibb recently noted it was the song he was most proud of. There have been many cover versions and The Animals' version is amongst the best.

This album is a great listen. Eric Burdon's amazing voice is well-suited to these songs and the band are able to stretch out on extended versions of classic tracks. It is unfortunate that the band disbanded after just one album as there is so much promise from this line-up.

MGM SE 4591-2

Original release: December 1968

CD Release: 20 June 2011

Essential Tracks

  • I'm An Animal
  • To Love Somebody
  • Coloured Rain

Track Listing:

  1. River Deep, Mountain High
  2. I'm an Animal
  3. I'm Dying (Or Am I)
  4. Ring of Fire
  5. Coloured Rain
  6. To Love Somebody
  7. As the Years Go Passing By
  8. Gemini / Madman Running Through the Fields

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