Thursday, October 15, 2015

Rolling Clones: Paint It Black

Back in 1972, my brother tripled my record collection by giving me a box of LPs that he had expunged from his very large inventory. One of the albums was the 1967 release of “Winds of Change” by the reformed Animals. Since Eric Burdon and drummer Barry Jenkins were the only remaining members of the Animals who disbanded in 1966, the group was officially christened as “Eric Burdon & the Animals”; however, the album references the band as the “New Animals.”

“Winds of Change” was a new musical direction for Burdon who had moved from blues-based music to psychedelia with a heavy bent. The hit from the LP was “San Franciscan Nights,” which charted at #9. One of the other cuts on the album that caught my ear was Burdon’s rendition of The Rolling Stones’ classic “Paint it Black.” While the Stones hit the #1 position with “Paint it Black,” it was never released as a single by Burdon & the Animals.

In addition to Burdon and Jenkins, the lineup contained the following new members: Vic Briggs on guitar and piano, John Weider with guitar and violin, and Danny McCulloch on bass. During the time of the album’s sessions, Weider broke his wrist and Keith Olsen substituted on some of the album’s cuts.

This nearly six minute (the album has the time wrong at 6:20) rendition of the Stones’ original is not musically perfect. There are some glitches in this version. One, Eric Burdon is no Mick Jagger – his voice is powerful, but his pitch is often erratic. The instrumentation isn’t always together – I guess I am so used to the quantizing that occurs with electronic music, that I expect it with real musicians.

In addition, there is a guitar note at 3:39 that has always bothered me – it was probably intended, but to me, it sounds out of place. Listen closely in the recitation part and you can also hear a 60 cycle hum which was no doubt amp noise – something that was probably not noticeable on vinyl release.

While there are some technical issues and it really is on par with how the band sounded live, I still like this version. The addition of the Weider’s violin and the recitation sets Eric Burdon & the Animals apart from other covers of this tune.

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