The Animals

The Animals on Tour

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Despite a title that promises, but does not deliver, a taste of the Animals live and sweaty in concert, Animals on Tour was, in fact, the U.S. equivalent to the Animals' second British album, Animal Tracks (whose title then became their third American set). Eight of the British album's cuts made it onto the U.S. version, together with two songs left over from the similarly rearranged first album as well as two more culled from singles: the Top 20 hit "I'm Crying" and the less successful "Boom Boom," re-recorded from the group's first-ever independent release. In either incarnation, it is a less arresting release than its predecessor, all the more so since the group had undergone a seismic change in both style and direction since it was recorded. Keyboard player Alan Price had quit, while the band's latest single, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" evoked a modern mod-blues style that only the Rolling Stones were close to competing for. Animals on Tour, however, maintained the bluesier side of the group, with the American album's embrace of even older material rendering it a virtual time capsule. There are, nevertheless, a string of highlights, most notably Ray Charles' brooding epic of marital infidelity, "I Believe to My Soul," and the drunken "Worried Life Blues" -- at last, a second cousin for "House of the Rising Sun" to hang out with! "How You've Changed" completes the album's trilogy of downbeat desolation, establishing a mood across side one that cannot wholly be dispelled even by the piecemeal nature of side two, wherein three of the transplanted numbers lie. Nevertheless, that is where Animals on Tour falls down, as listeners hurtle from the buoyancy of another Ray Charles number, "Hallelujah, I Love Her So," forward to the electrifying "I'm Crying," and then back to versions of "Dimples" and "She Said Yeah" that weren't exactly missed from American pressings of the last LP. Still, if you think this album takes liberties with the band's development, wait till you get around to the American Animal Tracks!

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