The Monterey Pop Festival went down back in ’67, and ace reporter Eric Burdon was ON THE SCENE, digging it all left and right, to give the record-buying public the scoop.
NEWSFLASH! “Even the cops grooved with us!”
This is just one of many Animals songs built around Burdon’s name-checking and wide-eyed LUV of the music world’s peacetastic brother-/sisterhood. I had always assumed that this rather annoying style was a later development, something he started doing after he had his mind blown by the SF hippies and formed the turned-on “new” Animals in early 1967, but in fact the first song on the first UK album features a discourse on the history of r’n’r, right up through the Beatles and the Stones. Huh; guess that was just Burdon’s thing. So anyway, yeah, the ultra-earnest lyrics are an embarrassing drag, but the music’s a decent – if sleek – mix of sitar, horns, and prominent bass, far different from the organ-centric stuff for which the Animals are better known. However: Every time Burdon gushes over someone – The Who! Jimi Hendrix! The Grateful Dead! Ravi Shankar! – the band plays a few notes meant to give us an idea of what that particular dude sounded like. Needless to say, the whole operation reeks of cheese.
Things improve on the non-LP “Ain’t That So,” a fun freak-empowerment tune (“Freak on! Freak on!”) with some fine shouting from ol’ Eric, and an overall beat-group style that sounds straight outta ’65. Recommended!