Back in 2013, the ABKCO label issued a 5-CD box set from The Animals. Released via Real Gone Music, The Mickie Most Years and More brought together remastered versions of the British band's first four U.S. albums plus a rare private-press EP recorded in 1963. Nearly a decade later, ABKCO is bringing The Mickie Most Years and More back into print as a vinyl set, while the four original mono albums will also be reissued as standalone CDs (with bonus tracks) and vinyl (original albums only) on June 3.
Producer-impresario Most (Herman's Hermits, Lulu) spearheaded the quartet of American LPs, originally issued on the MGM label, included here:
- The Animals (1964);
- The Animals on Tour (1965);
- Animal Tracks (1965); and
- Animalization (1966).
The Animals introduced the line-up of lead vocalist Eric Burdon, keyboardist Alan Price, guitarist Hilton Valentine, bassist Chas Chandler, and drummer John Steel. The bandmates brought their hard-hitting style to rock-and-roll and R&B staples by the likes of John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and Ray Charles, but it was Price's arrangement of the traditional "House of the Rising Sun" that took The Animals to No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. The Animals on Tour followed in early 1965, but despite its title, it wasn't a live album. Instead, it was composed mostly of previously released singles (including Hooker's "Boom Boom" and the Burdon/Price original "I'm Crying," leftover tracks from the British version of The Animals, and unused material from the band's sophomore U.K. album, Animal Tracks. On Tour followed the template of the band's debut, with more from Hooker, Berry, and Charles plus high-energy renditions of such favorites as Shirley and Lee's "Let the Good Times Roll" and Jimmy Reed's "Bright Lights, Big City."
The confusion continued when The Animals' third U.S. album was also titled Animal Tracks despite bearing little resemblance to its U.K. counterpart. Once again, it was composed of odds and ends from singles and U.K. albums. It still proved a rip-roaring listen, though, anchored by the smash covers of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (No. 3 U.K./No. 15 U.S.) and "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" (No. 2 U.K./No. 13 U.S.). The latter, penned by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, would become a Vietnam-era anthem. By the time of the release of the U.S. Animal Tracks, however, Alan Price had departed the group to form his own band, and Dave Rowberry was heard on "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" and its Burdon-penned B-side, "I Can't Believe It."
The fourth and final album in the new campaign, 1966's Animalization, was produced not by Most but by Tom Wilson (Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel). Roughly equivalent to the U.K. Animalisms, the American album had one classic not on the U.K. set, the hard-hitting interpretation of Carole King and Gerry Goffin's "Don't Bring Me Down" (No. 6 U.K./No. 12 U.S.). Animalization was rounded out by the usual grab-bag of covers from those who had inspired The Animals, including John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Joe Tex, and Ma Rainey, but the album also reflected the band's increased songwriting output with three originals and one adaptation. John Steel left The Animals before recording was completed, and new drummer Barry Jenkins of The Nashville Teens can be heard on three tracks including "Don't Bring Me Down."
The vinyl versions are all pressed on 180-gram vinyl and remastered from the original mono tapes. They're available individually as well as in a complete bundle which adds the EP I Just Wanna Make Love to You, recorded on September 15, 1963 and originally pressed by Graphic Sound, Ltd. to just 500 copies. The pre-fame EP, recorded by engineer Phil Woods at his home, contains earthy versions of the title track, "Big Boss Man," "Pretty Thing," and "Boom Boom."
The CDs - also of the original mono sequences - are available individually but not in a bundle. They append the same bonus tracks as in 2013: The Animals has an unedited "Talkin' 'Bout You," and The Animals on Tour has the band's recordings of Jimmy Reed's "Baby What's Wrong" and Ray Charles' "F-E-E-L" plus a radio spot recorded for New Year's Eve 1964. The CD version of Animal Tracks offers five bonus tracks including the non-LP hit "It's My Life" and the U.K. version of "We Gotta Get Out of This Place." Animalization adds stereo versions of three of the album's songs.
The Animals would record one more LP with Tom Wilson (1966's Animalism, not to be confused with the U.K. Animalisms) before Eric Burdon took the reins for a new psych-rock iteration of the band with Barry Jenkins still on drums and Wilson still in the producer's chair. The Mickie Most Years and More celebrates the original version of the group. The vinyl bundle, along with the standalone CD and LP issues, is due from ABKCO on June 3. You'll find the complete track listings and pre-order links below.
The Mickie Most Years and More vinyl bundle: ABKCO Store
Includes the four albums below as well as a 45 RPM EP containing "Big Boss Man," "Pretty Thing," and "Boom Boom"
The Animals (originally issued as MGM U.S. LP E-4264, 1964 - reissued ABKCO, 2022)
- House of the Rising Sun
- The Girl Can't Help It
- Blue Feeling
- Baby Let Me Take You Home
- The Right Time
- Talkin' 'Bout You
- Around and Around
- I'm in Love Again
- Gonna Send You Back to Walker
- Memphis, Tennessee
- I'm Mad Again
- I've Been Around
- Talkin' 'Bout You (Full Version) (from The Complete Animals - EMI U.K. EM 1367, 1990)
The Animals on Tour (originally issued as MGM U.S. LP E-4281, 1965 - reissued ABKCO, 2022)
- Boom Boom
- How You've Changed
- Mess Around
- Bright Lights, Big City
- I Believe to My Soul
- Worried Life Blues
- Let the Good Times Roll
- Ain't Got You
- Hallelujah, I Love Her So
- I'm Crying
- She Said Yeah
- Baby What's Wrong (from The Complete Animals - EMI U.K. EM 1367, 1990)
- F-E-E-L (from The Complete Animals - EMI U.K. EM 1367, 1990)
- New Year's Radio Spot (from The Complete Animals - EMI U.K. EM 1367, 1990)
Animal Tracks (originally issued as MGM U.S. LP E-4305, 1965 - reissued ABKCO, 2022)
- We Gotta Get Out of This Place
- Take It Easy Baby
- Bring It on Home to Me
- The Story of Bo Diddley
- Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
- I Can't Believe It
- Club a-Go-Go
- Bury My Body
- For Miss Caulker
- Roadrunner (from U.K. version of Animal Tracks - Columbia 33SX 1708, 1965)
- Don't Want Much (from The Complete Animals - EMI U.K. EM 1367, 1990)
- We Gotta Get Out of This Place (U.K. Single Version - A-side of Columbia DB 7639, 1965)
- It's My Life (U.K. single A-side - Columbia DB 7741, 1965)
- I'm Gonna Change the World (U.K. single B-side - Columbia DB 7741, 1965)
Animalization (originally issued as MGM U.S. LP E-4384, 1966 - reissued ABKCO, 2022)
- Don't Bring Me Down
- One Monkey Don't Stop No Show
- You're on My Mind
- She'll Return It
- Inside-Looking Out
- See See Rider
- Gin House Blues
- What Am I Living For
- Sweet Little Sixteen
- I Put a Spell on You
- Don't Bring Me Down (stereo - from MGM U.S. LP SE-4384, 1966)
- Cheating (stereo - from MGM U.S. LP SE-4384, 1966)
- See See Rider (stereo - from MGM U.S. LP SE-4384, 1966)