Eric Burdon and the Animals
When I Was Young/A Girl Named Sandoz

Released 1966 on MGM
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 03/04/2001ce

I love the original Animals as much as the next guy, they were an exceptionally tough and gritty R&B group who made many brilliant 45's but their albums tended to rely too much on covers of R&B and Blues artists, nothing wrong with that really but how many Ray Charles songs can you possibly cover without getting stale?

Burdon parted ways with the original Animals after a 1966 tour and signed to Decca as solo artist where he released a stop-gap 45 called "Help Me Girl" and went about conducting auditions for a New Animals which would concentrate on original and for lack of a better term psychedelic styled material. Some of the folks who turned up for the auditions included Noel Redding and John Lodge and Justin Hayward ( the last 2 would connect with the Denny Laine-less Moody Blues after failing their Animals audition. Burdon finally settled on Vic Briggs-gtr, John Weider-gtr/violin, Danny McCullouch on bass and holdover Animals drummer Barry Jenkins. Eric took the group out on the road playing mainly R&B covers while whipping them into shape to record his new material.

The first fruits of the "New" Animals proved to be one of the most important 45's of the coming psychedelic age in "When I Was Young", this is an inspired piece of music that rivals other visionary records of 1966 like "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones, "7 and 7 is" by Love, "8 Miles High" by The Byrds and "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" by The Yardbirds.

"When I Was Young" begins with guitar feedback that openly growls at you like a savage beast in search of prey, this is a highly Eastern styled song that has guts of glory, it carries an entire album's worth of ideas in 3 plus minutes, guitarists Weider and Briggs are menacing while Burdon is stone out of his mind on vocals, the only group I can think of to compare this to is obscure UK act Wimple Winch and maybe The Misunderstood, this is a brilliant record that should be in every thinking person's collection.

"A Girl Named Sandoz" on the flip is damn good too in a pulsating almost Doorsy style, the subject matter is obvious in fact I had an Acid head friend in high school who when he was feeling somewhat brave would take what he called "an Eric Burdon dose of LSD" and really leave the planet, me I stuck with Schlitz Malt Liquor but that's another story.

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