ABKCOs New Retrospective SACDs by the Animals and Hermans Hermits

As promised, ABKCO Records has released the newly remastered Retrospective Super Audio CDs by the Animals and Herman’s Hermits. Each of the new Hybrid SACDs features over 20 of each group’s songs in celebration of their chart debuts.

Like earlier ABKCO SACD releases, each disc is a Single Inventory SACD release that is packaged in a paperboard «digipak» case and has a sticker on the outside of the case listing some of the key hits inside. Interestingly, the new SACDs by the Animals and Herman’s Hermits are on the stealthy side with the only mention that they are Super Audio CDs coming on the back of each disc at the bottom — where one can spot the familiar SACD and DSD logos. Also worth noting, even though both discs are marked «Stereo», most of the tracks are in fact presented in original mono sound. Here’s more on each of the discs.

The Animals
SACD Stereo/CD Audio

(ABKCO 93252)

The Animals Retrospective includes 21 of the best known songs by the group as well as Spill The Wine, a hit by lead singer Eric Burdon and War. Inside the album is a 12 page essay on the group by Jim Bessman. The booklet also includes lists the producers of the material: Mickie Most (tracks 1-8), Tom Wilson (tracks 10-20), The Animals (track 21) and Jerry Goldstein (track 22) as well as the engineering credits (recording studio and engineer) on most cuts and the musicians on the tracks.

The new SACD features Analog to Digital transfers by Teri Landi & Peter Mew at Abbey Road Studios, Sound Restoration by Steve Rosenthal at the Magic Shop, DSD Engineering by Gus Skinas from the Sony SACD Project in Boulder, Colorado and Mastering by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering.

The sonics of the Animals Restrospective are similar to some of the Rolling Stones SACDs on ABKCO in that they preserve the «raw» sound of the group’s early material. Yet the quality of the remastering brings out musical details in even some of the earlier hits like House of the Rising Sun, Boom Boom, We Gotta Get Out of This Place and Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood. When the SACD turns to the Stereo tracks, they have the advantage particularly on tracks like San Franciscan Nights (with its fine guitar solo), Monterey (with a host of instruments cleanly delineated in the Left channel) and Sky Pilot (which clocks in at 7:29). While the final track Spill The Wine is not part of the Animals hit collection, the SACD sonics really shine here nicely defining Burdon’s vocals, the bass, flute and balance of the band. It’s a nice bonus to wrap up an enjoyable trip down memory lane.

Album Tracks

  1. 1. House Of The Rising Sun
  2. 2. I’m Crying
  3. 3. Baby Let Me Take You Home
  4. 4. Gonna Send You Back To Walker
  5. 5. Boom Boom
  6. 6. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
  7. 7. Bring It On Home To Me
  8. 8. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (US Version)
  9. 9. It’s My Life
  10. 10. Don’t Bring Me Down
  11. 11. See See Rider (Stereo)
  12. 12. Inside – Looking Out
  13. 13. Hey Gyp (Stereo)
  14. 14. Help Me Girl (Stereo)
  15. 15. When I Was Young
  16. 16. A Girl Named Sandoz
  17. 17. San Franciscan Nights (Stereo)
  18. 18. Monterey (Stereo)
  19. 19. Anything (Stereo)
  20. 20. Sky Pilot (Stereo)
  21. 21. White Houses (Stereo)
  22. 22. Spill The Wine — Eric Burdon & War (Stereo)

Herman’s Hermits
SACD Stereo/CD Audio

(ABKCO 92282)

The Herman’s Hermits Retrospective contains 26 of the groups songs, two of which appear in Stereo. Like the Animals collection, this one also features a 12 page essay by Jim Bessman and information on the original producer (Mickie Most on all tracks), engineer and studio, arranger and song publishers. The SACD remastering team is the same as the one that worked on the Animals Retrospective SACD.

The sonics on the Herman’s Hermits SACD are surprisingly good. While all but two of the tracks are presented in mono, they are very good in offering well placed instruments and vocals. Track 4 (Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter) offers good detail on the banjo opening and the drum sticks in the song while the guitar intro on Track 15 (No Milk Today) is also well done. Fans of ’60s pop and Herman’s Hermits will enjoy this one.

Album Tracks

  1. 1. I’m Into Something Good
  2. 2. Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat
  3. 3. Silhouettes
  4. 4. Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter
  5. 5. Wonderful World
  6. 6. Hold On
  7. 7. Henry The VIII I Am
  8. 8. Just A Little Bit Better
  9. 9. A Must To Avoid
  10. 10. Leaning On The Lamp Post
  11. 11. End Of The World
  12. 12. Listen People
  13. 13. There’s A Kind Of Hush
  14. 14. East West
  15. 15. No Milk Today
  16. 16. It’s Nice To Be Out In The Mornin’ (Stereo)
  17. 17. This Door Swings Both Ways
  18. 18. Dandy
  19. 19. Sleepy Joe
  20. 20. Don’t Go Out Into The Rain, You’re Going To Melt
  21. 21. Sunshine Girl
  22. 22. Museum (Stereo)
  23. 23. I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving
  24. 24. Something’s Happening
  25. 25. My Sentimental Friend
  26. 26. Here Comes The Star

The new Retrospective SACDs by The Animals and Herman’s Hermits from ABKCO Records are now available in music stores including Tower Records and Best Buy as well as the Music Direct, Red Trumpet and Amazon.Com web sites. The discs sell for a list price of $18.98 but are currently selling for $14.99 each at both Best Buy and on sale at Tower Records. They were made by Sony DADC in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The Animals Retrospective (ABKCO 93252) and Herman’s Hermits Retrospective (ABKCO 92282) Super Audio CDs — Now Available