March 30, 2004 by AK
On early Animals recordings, Eric Burdon sings and talks with an accent that is neither British nor generic American but rather a variety of Black American. No wonder, since most of those tracks were covers of blues and rock-n-roll pieces. I don’t have a good ear for dialects, but something tells me Burdon did a good job with both verbal and musical accents. (Note the way he says “argument” and “Maudie” — JL Hooker’s Maudie, that is.)
One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, which has more talking than signing, begins, “You know I got a letter from a friend of mine // In Newcastle-upon-a’Tyne the other day.” The narrator, it turns out, is a resident of England as well, as his friend tells him, “You wanna catch that flyin’ Scotsman back up here to Newcastle.” Yes, the Flying Scotsman, the express railway going though Newcastle, and “Things don’t happen like that here on Tyne” sound obviously British, even English, even Geordie-ish — but these localisms are uttered in a bluesy voice as if transplanted from overseas. Yet it doesn’t sound funny or fishy (imagine a native of Moscow singing about a stroll down Arbat in a Ukrainian accent — that’d be silly or crudely hilarious); it only adds to the drive and turns Newcastle, where people “don’t go away stealin’ each other’s loved ones away from one another”, into a terribly attractive place!
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