Hilton Valentine


Band members                             Related acts

- Hilton Valentine (RIP 2021) -- vocals, guitar

 

 

The Animals

- Skiffledog

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** stars

Title:  All In Your Head

Company: Capital

Catalog: ST-330

Country/State: Newcastle, England

Year: 1970

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut out hole top right corner; minor cover wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6327

Price: $25.00

 

There's a strong probability you've heard this talented singer/guitarist's work through his association with the original Animals line up.   I'm willing to bet few of you would have heard any of his solo catalog ....

Born in Newcastle, England, by the time he was in his teens Hilton Valentine had formed his own band The Wild Cats. By 1962 he was playing with The Alan Price Combo, who quickly metamorphosed into The Animals. As talented as many of his mid-1960s contemporaries, Valentine differed from them in that he seldom actively sought the spotlight, instead largely content to showcase his good taste (check out his classic solo on 'House of the Rising Sun') and a knack for clever and innovative arrangements.  With the original Animals line up collapsing in 1966, Valentine stepped back into the shadows. He undertook some low-keyed sessions with Paul Samwell-Smith; looked at forming a band with The Mockingbirds (Graham Gouldman's old outfit), and helped former Wild Cats alumnus Keith Shields record a one shot single for Decca.  On the personal front, by 1968 Valentine had relocated to Southern California (was anyone left in England?), where he signed a recording contract with Capitol.

1969's "All In Your Head" teamed Valentine with producer Vic Briggs (who handled many of the Animals LPs), but anyone expecting a set of Animals-styled R&B rockers was in for a major surprise. All but abandoning his R&B roots, original material such as 'Listen', 'Peace' and 'Girl From Allemagne' found Valentine pursuing  acoustic troubadour folk and lite pop moves. Largely acoustic, the eleven original numbers sported pretty melodies; several blanketed in heavy orchestration. The overall effect was similar to something out of the Donovan catalog, though with a bit less mysticism.  By the way, that wasn't meant as a criticism.  While most of the album was folk-oriented, Valentine was at his best on the isolated more conventional rock oriented numbers like 'Is There Anything But Love' and the bouncy 'Run Run Run'.  A seldom heard vocalist under The Animals' regime, Valentine actually had a decent if somewhat limited voice which was well suited to these thoughtful acoustic numbers.  Based on performances like 'Everything Returns To Me' and 'It's All In Your Head', Valentine was much easier to take than former band mate Eric Burden.  Maybe because it was all so low key and easy going, giving you the feeling Valentine really wasn't trying to probe anything.  The results made for a charming and thoroughly overlooked debut.  My two cents, but it beat the crap out of most of Eric Burdon's solo catalog. 

 

As to be expected, the set vanished without a trace; followed in short order by Valentine's solo career. 

Valentine reappeared in the mid-1970s as part of an Animals reunion (check out 1976's "Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted"), as well as an early-1980s reunion ("Ark"). The 1990s found him touring with a couple of former Animals in the cleverly-titled The Animals II.  


"All In Your Head" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Listen   (Hilton Valentine) - 2:35   rating: *** stars

Propelled by strumming acoustic guitar and harpsichord (?), 'Listen' was a pretty and delicate ballad that showcased some nice multi-tracked lead vocals.  Very upbeat and catchy with glistening harmony vocals.   If Donovan could tear up the 1960s airwaves with far weaker material, you had to wonder how this one escaped notice.   rating: *** stars

2.) Everything Returns To Me   (Hilton Valentine) - 2:45   rating: *** stars

Showcasing Valentinie's pasotal voice, 'Everything Returns To Me' sported a brezzy English folk sound; not quite early Fairport Convention, but close.  Once again the song had a nice refrain and producer Briggs arrangement was very nice.   

3.) It's All In Your Head   (Hilton Valentine) - 3:10   rating: ** stars

'It's All In Your Head' came off as Valentine's attempt to blend Dylan with Stax-styled horns.  Kind of a slow bluesy number, this one found Valentine singing with a bit more energy than normal, though the song itself wasn't all that impressive.

4.) Little Children   (Hilton Valentine) - 1:50   rating: * star

Side one's weirdest number, 'Little Children' sounded like a blend between a country number (complete with fiddle and Jews harp) and English music hall ...   the song's charms were totally lost on my ears.  

5.) Eyes of a Child   (Hilton Valentine) - 2:17   rating: ** stars

Another slice of Donovan-styled sensitive singer/songwriter moves, 'Eyes of a Child' had a pretty melody (complete with harpsichord), and a dainty, classical influenced string arrangement.   

6.) Sitting In the Sun   (Hilton Valentine) - 2:38   rating: **** stars

Opening up with some pretty acoustic guitar, sporting an insidiously catchy refrain 'Sitting In the Sun' was one of those near perfect slices of late-1960s pop-cum-psychedelia.  One of the album's best performances.

 

(side 2)
1.) Is There Anything But Love   (Hilton Valentine) - 2:38   rating: **** stars

The album's most blatantly commercial number and my favorite performance, 'Is There Anything But Love' had a top-40 ready melody, some great horns (and I'm not a big horn fan), along with one of Valentine's most engaging vocals.  Great tune that Capitol should have tapped as a single.   

2.) Land of Children   (Hilton Valentine) - 2:21   rating: ** stars

'Land of Children' displayed Valentine's vocal limitations.  The song was also a bit too hippy-dippy for my tastes.  I liked the chorus and the bright horns, but otherwise this one was forgettable to me.   

3.) Run, Run, Run   (Hilton Valentine) - 2:34   rating: *** stars

The chief pleasure derived from 'Run, Run, Run' came from the sparkling 12 string guitars, harpsichord, and the Jew's harp.   

4.) Peace   (Hilton Valentine) - 2:30   rating: *** stars

While you certainly couldn't argue with the sentiments, 'Peace' must have already sounded a bit dated when it was released in 1969.  There wasn't a great deal to the song, but Valentine's acoustic guitar solo made up for any other shortcomings.   

5.) Girl From Allemagne   (Hilton Valentine) - 2:40   rating: *** stars
The lyrics were a but clunky "met a girl from Allemagne, knew she would look good ..." but 'Girl from Allemagne' had kind of a charming innocence.  Whereas many artists would have sounded like they were faking these kind of sentiments, Valentine sounded completely honest.    

 

 

 

Only 77, Valentine passed away in January 2021.  He has a web presence at: Hilton Valentine Official Website

 

 


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