Hilton Valentine, Founding Member Of The Animals, Dies At 77

Photo Credit: Germaine Valentine

January is not yet over, but the entertainment world is mourning the loss of yet another of its own today.

Hilton Valentine, a founding member of the famed rock band The Animals, has died. According to a press release distributed Friday night, Valentine died Friday. His death was revealed by his wife, Germaine Valentine, according to the document.

Valentine was part of the original lineup of The Animals, which also featured among its members, Chas Chandler, Alan Price, Eric Burdon, and John Steel. He was a member of the band when it released hits, such as ‘House of the Rising Sun,’ ‘Baby Let Me Take You Home,’ ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,’ ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place,’ ‘It’s My Life,’ and ‘Don’t Bring Me Down.’

As a member of The Animals, Valentine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. The band was honored with a spot on Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame in May 2001.

Burdon spoke warmly of Valentine during a recent interview with Guitar International.

“It really was Hilton who made the early Animals a rock band because I don’t think the element of rock was in the band until we found him,” he said. “In those days, Hilton wasn’t just playing rock ‘n’ roll, he looked rock ‘n’ roll. Here was a guy with the greased mop of hair combed back, cheap leather jacket, winkle picker shoes, black jeans and a smile on his face playing through an echoplex, which was a secret weapon back then.”

Valentine would reunite with his band mates in The Animals over the years. He also released a solo album, All in Your Head, in 1969 for Capitol Records. The reunions with his band mates resulted in the release of at least one album, Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted, in 1977.

The news release distributed adds that in recent years, Valentine had formed his own band, Skiffledog, and toured with the band in the U.S. and U.K. The band released two albums, It’s Folk ‘n’ Skiffle, Mate! and Skiffledog on Coburg ST. Additionally lent a helping hand to other bands, such as The Woggles, and The Headless Horsemen.

Valentine released a holiday album titled Merry Skifflemas! in 2011. Big Boy Pete assisted with that recording.

The noted press release quotes ABKCO, which had its own role in Valentine’s life and career, as mourning his passing in a prepared statement.

“We at Abkco have been privileged to serve as stewards of The Animals catalog and his passing is felt in a truly profound way by the entire Abkco family,” the statement reads.

Hilton Valentine was 77 years old.

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Nehoda’s New LP Gives Promise For The Band’s Future

Courtesy: Dewar PR

Independent rock band Nehoda is scheduled to release its new album But Anyways… Friday.  The nine-song record is an interesting presentation from the band.  That is due to in part to its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The 39-minute album’s lyrical content also plays into its presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that collective content rounds out the album’s most important elements.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make But Anyways… a work that shows promise for Nehoda.

Nehoda’s forthcoming album But Anyways…is a presentation that is worth hearing at least once.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are of interest because while they do an impressive job of exhibiting the band’s wide range of influences and talents.  From the plodding, Animals-eque ‘Lies’ and ‘Devil’s Bitch’ to the more Bruce Springsteen style approach of ‘Please Don’t Go’ to the Pearl Jam-esque ‘Afterglow’ to the more grunge stoner vibe of ‘I Don’t Know,’ the album’s opener to the more alt-rock approach of ‘Shakey Pop,’ this record takes audiences in a variety of directions.  On the surface, this is a good thing.  That is because again, it shows the wide range of the band’s influences and talents.  It shows that the band is not just some one-trick pony so to speak, which will appeal to plenty of listeners.  This is just one aspect of the record that will appeal to listeners.  The arrangements’ companion lyrical content works with that content to make for even more appeal.

The lyrical content that is featured throughout Nehoda’s new album is key to discuss because it is so simple and accessible for listeners.  The album opens with a clear sociopolitical commentary that goes after a variety of institutions.  Band namesake and founder Patrick Nehoda opens the song by addressing those who would attack anyone who might want to speak their minds as he writes, “Try to find your voice/It ain’t f****** correct/Try to make a choice/Cut you off at the neck.”  That second line in the song’s lead verse comes across as a statement of how people are just as apt to attack one another for standing on one side of an issue or another.  The short and simple here is that he is seemingly making a statement about how divided America has become.  In the song’s second verse, Nehoda seems to address the government sending people off to war and the fact that when American forces go overseas, innocent people (including children) are killed.  It is a lot of metaphorical language, but it would seem to make sense at least in this critic’s mind.  This is inferred as Nehoda sings, “Governments killing babies/Children for hire/It’s no wonder the youth of the world/Want to set this place on fire.”  That line about “children for hire” maybe hints at people as young as 18 (basically children) are hired by the military to go to war and “kill babies.”  Again, this is all just this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as gospel.  That aside, it certainly seems to be somewhere in that proverbial ballpark.  Sociopolitical commentary is anything but new to the rock realm, but is no less impacting here as it is in those other instances.  From here, things take a noticeable change, focusing more on the topic of relationships and inner struggles.  Case in point are songs, such as ‘Devil’s Bitch,’ ‘Lies,’ and ‘Just Another Season.’  ‘Afterglow’ meanwhile takes a slightly different, more upbeat tone.  ‘Shakey Pop’ does center on a personal relationship, but comes across more as a song whose story is more of a coming-of-age presentation than the standard work about relationships of any kind.  Simply put, the lyrical themes featured throughout this record will connect with listeners just as much as its wide range of musical arrangements if not more so.  Now keeping that in mind, it is still just one more of the elements that warrants examination.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

The sequencing of Nehoda’s new album is important to examine not so much just because of the songs’ energies, but rather the ability of this element to connect the album’s distinct musical styles.  Case in point are the transitions between the record’s first three songs.  The stoner rock opener that is ‘I Don’t Know’ dies off and fades out slow enough that when the equally slow, introspective ‘Lies’ opens up, the transition is fluid.  The same can be said of the transition between that song and its follow-up, ‘Devil’s Bitch.’  Now while the transitions between the album’s first three songs are solid, that is also because the songs’ arrangements are so similar.  From there, things change notably.  ‘Shakey Pop,’ which immediately follows ‘Devil’s Bitch’ is more of a Foo Fighters type work in comparison to the gritty blues rock sound and approach of ‘Devil’s Bitch.’  Yet somehow the transition works even in this case.  Maybe it is again the amount of time given between songs and the fashion in which the prior ends and the latter begins.  The two are clearly different, but each has a certain heavy fuzz about them, giving at least some connection.  The relaxed finale of ‘Shakey Pop’ is what makes its transition into the even more reserved ‘Walk Away’ work as well as it does.  Much the same can be said of the transition between ‘Walk Away’ and the album’s title track.  Interestingly enough, that song gradually builds to a very heavy arrangement.  The heavy opening bar of the otherwise contemplative ‘Just Another Season’ is what makes the transition there work as well as it does.  The record’s final two songs move just as fluidly as the rest of the album’s entries.  The end result is a presentation that shows despite having so many distinct musical influences and styles throughout, those behind the glass put in a lot of time and thought to ensure this aesthetic aspect strengthened the album’s presentation just as much as its content.  When it is considered along with the collective content, the whole of the album becomes even more worth hearing.  As a matter of fact, they combine to make the album a presentation that in hearing, listeners will agree shows some promise for Nehoda.

Nehoda’s new album But Anyways… is a work that will leave audiences saying anything but But Anyways…  Rather, it will keep them engaged and focused on its presentation throughout.  That is proven through its diverse musical arrangements and its accessible lyrical content.  When that content is joined with the album’s sequencing, the whole of the album proves itself a presentation that shows some promise for Nehoda’s future.  But Anyways… is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:



Website: http://www.nehodamusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ThebandNehoda




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Ace Frehley’s New Record Is The Exception To The Rule About Covers Compilations

Courtesy: eOne

Covers collections are a dime a dozen.  From one genre within the bigger musical universe to the next, they are overly abundant offerings.  There is no denying that in the bigger picture of things, covers collections are little more than space fillers used by acts for the purpose of fulfilling contractual obligations between new albums.  Many of those albums are that and little more.  However, every now and then at least one rarity rises above the rest to do at least a little more, and actually show some value.  Ace Frehley’s latest covers compilation is one of those rarities.  Released Friday through eOne, the 12-song record stands out in part because of its featured covers.  This will be discussed shortly.  The performances of the songs play their own part in the album’s presentation and will be discussed a little later.  The production that went into the record rounds out its most important elements and will be addressed later, too.  Each noted item is important in its own right to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make Frehley’s latest space filler a work that will appeal to plenty of classic rock fans.

Ace Frehley’s latest covers compilation, released Friday through eOne, is an interesting addition to this year’s field of new space fillers.  That is because unlike its counterparts, it actually proves itself to actually be worth at least some value.  That is due in part to the record’s featured songs.  While there are some notable works featured in the record from some very well-known bands, there are also some lesser-known deep cuts from those bands, too.  Mountain’s ‘Never in my Life’ is an example of one of those deep cuts.  The band is well-known, and while Climbing!, the album in which the song is featured, is considered a hit for Mountain, the song itself was never considered to be one of the album’s biggest hits.  ‘I’m Down,’ which was a b-side to The Beatles’ hit song ‘Help!,’ is another example of Frehley including a lesser-known work from a big name band in this record.  Cream’s ‘Politician’ is yet another example of the noted lesser-known songs featuring in this record.  While the album in which the song is featured – Wheels of Fire – is the world’s first platinum-selling double album, the song was never used as a single.  To that end, it is more of a deep cut.

On the other end of the spectrum, works, such as The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s ‘Manic Depression’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Space Truckin’’ (whose lyrics Frehley changes slightly here when he sings, “we’re space ace truckin’) are examples of the more well-known works featured in the album.  Between these songs and the lesser-known pieces is in reality a little bit of a rock music history lesson.  Audiences get to learn about some big name bands (I.E. The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin) and those who were more mid-level (Mountain, Paul Revere & The Raiders) while also getting a starting point on discussions on the acts and their catalogs.  What’s more, being that those lesser-known works are rarely if ever played on corporate terrestrial radio and are just as rarely presented in other acts’ covers compilations, their inclusion adds to their importance.  Keeping all of this in mind, the compilation’s featured songs actually prove at least some value to its presentation.

While the songs featured in Frehley’s new covers set present at least some value, the performances of said songs plays just as much importance if not more.  That is because while Frehley and his fellow musicians do stay at least somewhat true to their source material throughout the record, they  also give the songs a new updated sound.  Case in point is the group’s performance of The Rolling Stones’ hit song ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’  The Rolling Stones’ original composition is energetic in its own right, and the band’s live performances of the song step things up in the song even more.  Frehley and company’s version here however really amps things up.  Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards’ guitars are replaced in this case by that of Frehley and guitar goddess Lita Ford.  The duo also takes on Mick Jagger’s vocals jointly and definitely take things collectively in a whole new direction.  It should be noted that Ford does drop some f-bombs here, so some listener discretion is advised.  Honestly, its disappointing that Ford would work blue here since the original song did not need any foul language in order to be enjoyable.  Charlie Watts’ steady, subtle time keeping has even been replaced by an equally heavy drum line here.  Simply put, the performance in whole does stay true to the source material in terms of sound, but in terms of style it is a completely different song.  So that is certain to generate its own share of interest and discussion among listeners.

The group’s take on The Animals’ ‘We Gotta Get Outta Here’ is another example of the importance of the performances of the featured songs here.  The Animals’ original rendition of the song was grounded in its bass line and vocals.  In the case of Frehley and company’s take on the song, Frehley takes on the bass line, using the guitar instead for that famous line.  Between that, the semi-operatic vocal delivery and the bombastic drumming, the whole of the song takes on a distinctly 80s hair metal vibe that echoe the sounds of KISS (no surprise there) instead of presenting the song in its more subdued original presentation.  At the same time, considering that the song’s lyrical content focuses on a relationship matter and “needing to get out of this place,” the song’s energy in this presentation does seem to work in its own right.  To that end, it is sure to generate its own share of interest and engagement.

On another hand, the performance of The Beatles’ I’m Down’ stays almost true stylistically to its source material.  Yes, it’s amped up compared to the original, but compared to let’s say The Beatles’ performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, this performance actually echoes that performance relatively well, even despite being so amped up.  As a matter of fact, this performance is actually a step up from the Beatles’ original song.  That is not to say that The Beatles’ original is bad by any means.  That should not be misconstrued.  Rather, Frehley and company took a song that was great to begin with and stepped it up, improving upon it even more.  Between this performance, the others noted here and the rest of the collection’s performances, it can be said that the performances pose their own importance to the record’s presentation just as much as the songs themselves.  The performances are just one more part of what makes the collection worth hearing, too.  Its production rounds out its most important elements.

The production of Origins Volume 2 is important to note for the very reason that has already been raised in examining the performance of the record’s featured songs:  the performances take the original songs from decades ago and really amp them up.  This is important because in so many of the songs, there is a lot more going on than in these works than the originals.  In other words, there is more need to balance all of the elements to ensure each song presents the fullest performance.  Those behind the record’s production are to be applauded for their efforts, too.  For all that is going on in each song, the guitars, bass, vocals, and drums are quite well balanced.  The energy is transmitted just as well because of that expert work that went into balancing each element within each song.  The end result is an album that works just as well for its aesthetics as for its content.  When this is considered along with the record’s content and the performances therein, the result is a covers collection that while it is a covers set, actually proves itself worth hearing at least once if not more.

Ace Frehley’s new covers compilation Origins Volume 2 is an interesting follow-up to his 2016 set Origins Volume 1.  That is due in part to its featured songs.  The songs are a balance of well-known works and deep cuts.  They and the bands that performed them can actually serve as a starting point on discussions about rock’s modern history.  That is actually a positive in its own right.  The performances of the featured songs is important to this record because they stay true to their source material in terms of sound, but stylistically, they clearly show Frehley’s own influence, what with the overly bombastic nature of each performance.  That is certain to generate its own share of discussion among audiences.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  That is because it ensures for all of the elements going on in each song, those elements are well-balanced, making the record just as worth hearing for this aesthetic element as for its content.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the compilation a presentation that is the exception to the rule for covers compilations.  It is available now.  More information on the set is available along with all of Ace Frehley’s latest news at:





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Eric Burdon’s New LP A Solid Blues Record

Courtesy:  ABKCO Records

Courtesy: ABKCO Records

Eric Burdon’s latest release, ‘Til Your River Runs Dry, is a solid outing from the Animals front man from start to finish.  This latest record boasts twelve tracks of pure blues.  It offers listeners pure substance both through its music and its lyrics.  The album as a whole is a no nonsense record that covers topics from politics to religion and areas in between as noted in the songs, ‘Memorial Day’ and ‘Old Habits Die Hard.’  It all comes together to make a whole that any blues and rock aficionado will appreciate and enjoy more with each listen.

The album’s opener, ‘Water’ is quite the opener.  It instantly grabs listeners’ attention with its blues/rock hybrid and straight forward social commentary.  Burdon sings, “This world is not for me/I’ll make a new one/Wait and see/Hopelessness has seized the land/I will not beg/I will demand/Water, water, water/To drink/To put down the fire/Water, water, water/The truth/To shame the liar.”  That in itself is blatantly scathing commentary.  It comes across as someone who sees what the world has come to but he’s not going to go down without a fight so to speak.  That’s especially clear when he reaches the song’s chorus.  His forceful, gritty tone exhibits his attitudes about the point to which things have reached.  Most interesting about not just this portion of the song, but the song itself is that Burdon sounds like a peculiar hybrid of Jim Morrison and Joe Cocker here.  That’s especially the case in the song’s chorus.  It also comes across in the follow-up song, ‘Memorial Day.’

‘Memorial Day’ is just as scathing both musically and lyrically as ‘Water.’  This song features Burdon voicing his opinion about war.  He writes in this song, “It’s a rich man’s war/But the poor will pay/Since the logic never comes to mind/Innocence is lost and guilt will fade in time/You turn around to face your death/You wish your mother could be there/To share your last breath/Another good one has gone down/And we mourn the lost.”  Burdon obviously makes no bones about his thoughts here.  The song’s musical side adds to the less than happy feeling that Burdon must have felt (as do likely so many Americans) at the thought of war and what it does.  Perhaps as interesting as his commentary on war itself is what comes across as commentary on how people in general want to avoid the topic as a whole.  He writes later in the song, “Turn on your TV/Watch a movie/And lay back/Pollute your mind/You’re next in line/Insanity is just a matter of time.”  Considering the possibility that Burdon is going after not just one group but the public in general, ‘Memorial Day’ turns out to be one of the best songs on this new album.

For all the scathing commentary that opens the album in its first two songs, Eric Burdon offers more light hearted fare on this album, too.  For starters, there is the gospel styled song, ‘The Devil and Jesus’ in which Burdon writes about the inner struggle between good and bad.  He writes, “The devil and Jesus/I have to agree/Each one/In my heart/Has planted its seed/But I’m no different from any of you/I look at myself/I see them there, too.”  While it might not have been entirely intentional, the vocal contrast of how he sings “the Devil” and “Jesus” makes for its own statement.  As he sings the words, “The devil”, Burdon’s voice is bass heavy and has something of an ominous sound about it.  On the other hand, he hits a rather high note when he makes mention of Jesus.  The vocal contrast of the two figures adds to the song’s interest in that it almost seems to serve as a musical representation of how people view each figure.  It’s such a subtle factor.  But there’s no denying that it’s there, regardless of whether or not it was intentional. 

As can already be seen, Eric Burdon offers something for everybody in just the first three songs of his new release.  For fans of simple pure blues, Burdon offers that too, in the form of ‘Old Habits Die Hard.’  Both in its musical and lyrical side, this song is pure blues at its best.  Burdon offers fans what can best be described as a modern blues line as he sings, “When it comes to trouble/I got me a good head start/Nothing’s changed/I’m still the same/Old habits die hard…They got a file on me over at Scotland Yard/Nothing’s changed/I’m still the same/Old habits die hard.”  This is a song that any blues purist will enjoy with every listen.  And it’s only the beginning of the album’s enjoyment.  The album boasts eight more tracks from which listeners will be able to find their very own favorite songs when it hits store shelves and online outlets next Tuesday, January 29th

After picking up Burdon’s new album, fans will get their chance to hear his new material live as he’ll be performing a number of dates beginning March 1st in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Even more dates are already scheduled after that performance.  Fans can get a full listing of tour dates and all the latest news from Eric Burdon online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialEricBurdon and http://www.ericburdon.com.

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Eric Burdon Announces Album Release, Tour Dates

Courtesy:  ABKCO Records

Courtesy: ABKCO Records

Iconic front man Eric Burdon will release his latest solo record later this month.  The singer, who rose to fame with WAR and The Animals, will release his new album, Til Your River Runs Dry on Tuesday, January 29th.  The album is considered to be Burdon’s most personal record yet.  Burdon tackles topics such as religion, politics, and the environment on this record, just to name a few song topics.  The first single off of the new album, ‘Water’ is also the album’s lead track.  It starts running at radio stations across the country next Tuesday, January 15th.  He even includes a cover of the blues classic, ‘Before You Accuse Me’ to close out the album.

In anticipation of the album’s upcoming release, Burdon is hitting the road to show off some of his new songs.  His tour kicks off with a very special performance the night before the album’s release on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  Burdon will also be performing at this year’s annual SXSW Festival in support of his album, too.  To get Burdon’s full tour lineup and all the latest news from Eric, fans can go online to http://www.EricBurdon.com, http://www.facebook.com/OfficialEricBurdon, http://twitter.com/EricBurdon, and http://www.YouTube.com/EricBurdonInc.  Fans can pre-order ‘Til Your River Runs Dry online both on CD and vinyl at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AGKH7K0/?tag=httpwwwabkcoc-20 and http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AO7HNFY/?tag=httpwwwabkcoc-20 respectively.

The complete track listing for the upcoming album is as follows:

‘Til Your River Runs Dry

1.  Water

2.  Memorial Day

3.  Devil and Jesus

4.  Wait

5.  Old Habits Die Hard

6.  Bo Diddley Special

7.  In The Ground

8.  27 Forever

9.  River is Rising

10. Medicine Man

11. Invitation to the White House

12. Before You Accuse Me

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