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Eric Burdon - 'Til Your River Runs Dry LP
Eric Burdon never stopped working but he did effectively disappear, falling away from the spotlight sometime before the Animals were inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. He kept touring, kept recording, but was decidedly underneath the radar until Bruce Springsteen made him a centerpiece of his 2012 South by Southwest keynote address, inviting the veteran rocker to share the stage with him later that night. Suddenly, Burdon was pushed into the spotlight and he capitalized upon his raised profile, cutting a quick and dirty indie EP with Cincinnati rockers the Greenhornes and then re-upping with Abkco (home of the Animals catalog) for 2013's 'Til Your River Runs Dry, his first high-profile record in eons and his first album of largely original material since 2004. At this late stage, Burdon isn't seeking reinvention -- he sticks to his basics, including two salutes to his hero Bo Diddley (one a cover; one a tribute) -- but he doesn't sound stale, either. He's engaging in the present by relying on his tradition, reviving the menacing minor-key rock of the Animals, touching upon a bit of War's multi-cultural funk, indulging his love of the blues, all while reflecting on mortality, waging a bit of social protest, recognizing that "Old Habits Die Hard," resisting the temptation to go gently into that good night. Burdon doesn't sound like a young man but he does sound invigorated, sometimes singing so passionately he teeters on the edge of self-parody, but that's the appeal of 'Til Your River Runs Dry: Burdon pours everything into this album, as if he realizes this is his last best shot to get the credit he's due. And, against all odds, he succeeds with this tough, flinty, proudly old-fashioned rock & roll album.