The Animals: The Mickie Most Years and More
As was the case with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, the early albums by The Animals were often significantly different in the U.K. and the U.S. In the States, the bandâarguably the rawest among the first wave of seminal British R&B combosâwas signed to MGM Records, which they released five albums for between their emergence in the fall of 1964 and the end of â66. The first four of thoseâcollected in this boxed set by ABKCO, for many years the rights holder to the recordingsâwere produced by Mickie Most, a visionary whose other clients included Donovan, Hermanâs Hermits and Jeff Beck and who understood innately what the Eric Burdon-fronted group was going for. Each of the albumsâThe Animals, The Animals on Tour (not a live album), Animal Tracks and Animalizationâincludes major AM radio hits but some of the highlights are the deep album tracks that never made the radio, including Little Richardâs âThe Girl Canât Help Itâ on the debut and Jimmy Reedâs âBright Lights, Big Cityâ on the sophomore release. Here a passel of bonus tracks (stereo and single versions, radio spots) bulk up the original albums but donât redefine them. The flimsy package is no-frillsâthe five CDs (the fifth is a four-track EP), liner notes by David Fricke, a T-shirtâbut the music remains startlingly vibrant all these decades later.