'TIL YOUR RIVER RUNS DRY
BRADLEY MASON HAMLIN
FEBRUARY 9, 2013
Eric Burdon. I have written about this man many times, interviewed him, and seen him play live with just about every incarnation of his band, and he’s still able to amaze and even surprise me with his ongoing multi-awesome talent.
You’d be hard pressed to place Burdon’s new album, ‘Til Your River Runs Dry in one category. From blues to rock & roll to rhythm & blues and back to blues again – you have an incredibly cohesive collection that all carry one thing in common: Soul. Spirit. Feeling.
These songs are cut from Eric’s gut and poured onto wax grooves. The production here is clean, and graciously not overproduced like so many records you hear these days.
Let’s take it track by track:
“Water” is the official first single from ‘Til Your River Runs Dry, and we’ve been listening to this rockin’ tune ever since it dropped on I-Tunes in advance of the album.
This song is great on a few different levels: One, it’s just really fun to hear and it rocks. Two, it takes something as simple as water and gives it a sense of urgency and intimacy that you might expect from a love song. Three, the lyrics give this song a subtext that this piece about water is also about humanity, how we take things that should be sacred for granted, and how easily we lie to ourselves about our own selfishness. My favorite lines are: “The truth, to shame the liar” and “the enemy does not know who the enemy is.” Good stuff. Give it a listen.
I always say if there is just one great track from an album from someone I really appreciate, I’ll be happy, because I can burn that gem to a disc (alongside my other favorites) and listen to it while I drive so I don’t have to hear the radio die anymore, but Burdon hit it out the park two for two already.
“Memorial Day” is a perfect Eric Burdon song that honors the people that have made the greatest sacrifice for our country. ‘nuff said.
“Devil and Jesus” is a bluesy ballad – so legit – I have no doubt Elmore James or John Lee Hooker would have been proud to have it in their own catalog.
“Wait” is currently my favorite song on ‘Til Your River Runs Dry. When Eric Burdon brings his heart and soul to a sort of mellow, kick back, dreamy song, it almost always trumps the rockers. I’m sure many people might disagree, but this one is right up there with “Anything” or “Heaven” and the theme of “Wait” speaks to me personally, so I like it even more. Took me 31 years to find the perfect blonde devilgirl that could survive my insanity and she’s still sassing me over red wine 18 years later. True love, baby. Sometimes you have to wait.
“Old Habits Die Hard” is a good tune to drink beer to, so that should tell you something.
“Bo Diddley Special” written by Burdon and Terry Wilson brings the Bo Diddley beat to life in a tragic tribute to one of the greatest bluesmen of all time. We sadly lost Bo Diddley of a stroke in the summer of 2008. Bo meant a lot to Eric and it shows, truly. Also, Wilson does Diddley right with that bass beat. Yes, he does.
“In the Ground” is a cool one for old time Burdon listeners. Consider this the bastard son or sequel to “Bury My Body.”
“Forever 27” is an excellent tribute to that morbid angel that has taken so many artists at the unexplainably young age of 27: Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse ...
“River is Rising” puts me in mind of Blind Willie Johnson, so you know it’s good.
“Medicine Man” is a Marc Cohn tune, one of only two songs not written by Eric Burdon on this album. Good lyics, good vocals, no problem here.
“Invitation to the White House” is a song we’ve been listening to on Mystery Island since 2011, and ever since, we’ve been waiting to see it find a home on an album of new Eric Burdon music. Ah … at last. I love this song. I should mention that I’m politically conservative, yet I’ve never found cause to feel disconnected from Eric Burdon’s sense of politics. Who doesn’t love – peace, love, and freedom?
I love the line: “When I woke up this morning, no President could I find.”
“Before You Accuse Me” closes out the album with a kickass Bo Diddley tune. Did I mention Burdon digs Diddley?
This time Reggie McBride kills it on bass. Overall, I gotta say, the musicians that worked on ‘Til Your River Runs Dry are topnotch. Great job, guys.