This double-disc, 41-track collection does what the title promises. It runs through the Animals' -- and the subsequent Eric Burdon & the Animals
' -- singles, A- and B-sides from March 1964's "Baby Let Me Take You Home" till January 1969's cover of "Ring of Fire." By representing both the early- and late-'60s Animals incarnations, it's a relatively comprehensive summation of the band, at least as embodied by their singles. It's not complete since there is nothing from the band's excellent 1977 reunion album Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted
. Also, the dreadful 1983 second reunion track "The Night" is incongruously and non-chronologically tacked on as the last cut of the first disc, making the omission of Rudely
material that much more frustrating. That said, this is nonetheless a solid compilation of the Eric Burdon
-led combo as they progress from the Chicago blues interpreters that exposed many '60s youngsters to the music of John Lee Hooker
and Jimmy Reed
to the rampant, often over-the-top psychedelics of "Sky Pilot" and the good-natured flower-power simplicity of "Monterey." The sound varies, but is generally lackluster with the earlier tracks oddly seeming more vivid and less compressed than the later ones, which appear muddy in comparison. The 12-page booklet is unreasonably skimpy though. Reproductions of some single sleeves make a worthy addition; however, the lack of individual track personnel is a frustrating omission and the short, poorly written essay is embarrassing. The B-sides provide interesting rarities such as "White Houses" ("River Deep, Mountain High"'s flip) and "It's All Meat," a 1968 obscurity that sounds remarkably like early Jefferson Airplane
. While neither is up to the standards of the best tunes, they provide a full warts and all picture of the seminal group in its rootsy honesty, well-intentioned excess, and occasionally misguided glory.