‘Til Your River Runs Dry

Eric Burdon

Abkco, 2013


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


A performance by the original Animals was one of the first concerts I ever attended. During 1966, they were touring the United States with Herman’s Hermits, but their performance at the Cape Cod A-Go-Go Club was just them and a local band, whose name has completely disappeared from my mind during the intervening 47 years. In fact, I had to Google The Animals’ 1966 tour to pinpoint the date, which was August 2, 1966.

Nearly a half century later, I still have a loyalty and affection for the bands of my youth. As with many music lovers, they give me a connection to a time long past, the memories of which age well, if inaccurately at times. I have lost track of Eric Burdon for periods of time, but he always seems to resurface.

Time has passed for both me and Eric Burdon.  Now in his early seventies, he is one of the grand old men of the original British music invasion and of rock ‘n’ roll itself. His journey toward The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame began with The Animals, who occupied the middle ground between rock and blues. They managed to strike a chord with the music mainstream with such hits as “House Of The Rising Sun,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” and “It’s My Life,” among others.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The second half of the 1960s found him embracing the California lifestyle and culture with such hits as “San Franciscan Nights” “Monterey,” and “Sky Pilot.” They may have been a little self-indulgent, but they were good vehicles for his gritty vocals.

During the early 1970s, he went in a funky direction with the band War and a blues direction on two albums with Jimmy Witherspoon. He has consistently released solo albums for the last thirty plus years. He has now returned with his latest solo effort, ‘Til Your River Runs Dry.

The old dog may not have learned any new tricks, but the old ones will do just fine. Many of the tracks run the gamut from rock to blues and everything in between. “Devil And Jesus” and “Water” look back to his blues/fusion work with The Animals. “Memorial Day” would have fit in well with his late 1960s material as he philosophizes about hating wars but loving the soldiers who fight them. Traveling in a different direction, “Wait” is a poignant love song. The Bo Diddley/Muddy Waters “Before You Accuse Me” finds him exploring his blues roots. No Eric Burdon album would be complete with some pontificating, and here it is his “Invitation To The White House,” in which he preaches to the President about how to improve the country.

The face staring out from the album cover shows the wear of the years. “Old Habits Die Hard” and “In The Ground” find Burdon reflecting on his journey through life. In many ways, these two songs form the heart and soul of the album.

Burdon’s voice may have aged a bit, but it is still one of the more distinctive in rock music and the material fits it well.

I am betting that he does not remember very much, if anything, about his performance on Cape Cod almost 47 years ago. Still, though the years have passed, I find myself reconnecting with his music again. It is an album that should resonate with any fan of Burdon’s or anyone who just likes good music.

Rating: A-

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