Review: Eric Burdon – ‘Til Your River Runs Dry

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-Greg’s Take-

Years ago a kid, not yet in his teens, was laying on the floor next to his dad’s stereo listening to the radio; soaking in the legendary guitars, drums and voices that rose out of the audible abyss. Motionless, he dared not divert his attention. Then through the miracle of time and space came a simple strum. The chord echoed with bluesy grandeur, embodying a presence unlike anything else he had heard. And then, there came a voice which would never be forgotten.

The powerful presence and captivating old soul of the voice echoed a tale about a time and place this kid had never experienced, but felt as though it was his.

From that moment on, my life, appreciation and understanding of music would never be the same.

That is until now.

I was incredibly honored, elated, but understandably apprehensive to once again dive into the legendary voice from Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne.

I could not imagine how the, now, 71 year-old Eric Burdon’s legacy would change, if at all, in my mind with the release of ‘Til Your River Runs Dry. To put it simply, again, he changed everything.

The twelve track album, released by ABKCO Records, is Eric Burdon stepping out of the circus light of his Animals and War days and stepping into an intimate night club, stepping to the mic and pouring his heart, with undeniable honesty, into each and every track.

Burdon emanates a presence which cannot be ignored. It is not demanding or glamorous, but one which you cannot resist respecting. And he does it all as if it is the most natural thing in the world. From internal struggles in a yin yang sense (“Devil And Jesus”), to flamenco influenced sensuality giving hope to those who feel as though all love is lost (“Wait”), he is truly a master of his craft.

Never one to hide is passion for American vintage Blues, Burdon places two tracks on ‘Til Your River Runs Dry that reiterate his place in the legendary elite; “River Is Rising,” inspired by Fats Domino during Katrina and “Bo Diddley Special,” no explanation necessary.  I know, and I’m sure he does, that the late great his smiling down upon him.

And as if to prove he is not bluffing, we’re given “27 Forever.” The hauntingly honest four-and-a-half minutes sing “You’d sell your soul to the devil/To stay at this level/and be 27 forever,” then twisting it into “Now I hear a voice from the past/calling out/you should have joined us in/Rock and Roll heaven/Forever 27” and ending on “You what they say/The good they die young/I could have stayed 27 forever.” To which I must first catch my breath and then say Mr. Burdon, I for one am glad you did not.

‘Til Your River Runs Dry is not some attempt at a swan song, nor some faded poet grasping at a last ditch effort to remain relevant, it is a profoundly honest look into the mind of one of music’s greatest treasures. It is beautifully deep and undeniably authentic. There is no glitz and glamour and I would expect nothing less. The kid I was those years ago is thankful for these songs and the man in me takes my hat off to the man who made them possible. May his river never run dry.

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