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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