First, I'll introduce myself. My name is Anna and I am a college student in Minnesota. I have been an Eric Burdon fan since I was 15. I am also a huge fan of the Yardbirds and Them, two British blues bands that were also sadly before my time. I'd give anything to live in 1965 London.
Them was an Irish blues band that appeared at almost exactly the same time as Eric and his Animals. They were fronted by the talented Van Morrison. I think he is at his best here. This band is INCREDIBLY underappreciated. It one of those bands that are very highly regarded by critics but just doesn't get listened to enough. The music has aged very well, not sounding too bubbly or cutesy like many bands of that era.
Van Morrison's early singing style was quite a bit like Burdon's. There were in fact a lot of similarities between the two. They even looked alike back then; both being short, a little stocky, with a non-hairdo, and were both from the northern part of the UK. They sounded alike in that they both just screamed, growling out these great blues songs. There was still a different feel though, despite the similarities. The (early) Animals always sounded firey, like some kind of inferno. Them was more gritty, like something you would imagine hearing in some dark, dirty pub in Ireland.
If you haven't been to CDNow in awhile, visit this site. It has great sound clips. Look up Them and find the song "Philiosphy". You will not be dissapointed. You will also be able to hear a little bit of Eric Burdon in Morrison's singing. Other songs I recommend looking for are: Baby Please Don't Go, One More Time, I'm Gonna Dress in Black, I Put a Spell on You, and Stormy Monday. I would love to list every single Them song that I like but I have to restrain myself a little bit! If you like Eric Burdon's impassioned style of singing you will love Morrison's screaming also.
The Yardbirds are another one of those highly regarded but rarely listened to bands these days. They are frequently cited as pre-punk, the band that gave us Clapton, Beck, and Paige, and musical innovators that rivaled the Beatles but they just aren't getting the attention they deserve. Their songs have aged well too. Just think of "I'm a Man" or "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago". They have been able to keep from being musical cliches.
The Yardbirds had a very different sound than the Animals or Them, although they did play blues. They were MUCH more guitar oriented. The singer, Keith Relf, had a much thinner voice that allowed his amazing harmonica playing and the equally amazing musicians behind him to be showcased, whereas, when one listens to the Animals or Them, you listen for the singing more than anything else. The lead guitarists always had the spotlight in this band but Chris Dreja, the accousitc guitar player deserved quite a bit of praise too if only for "Heart Full of Soul". There are of course many other good Dreja parts.
My recommendations when looking for Yardbirds music are: Smokestack Lightning-you can't not have this one. It is a Yardbirds masterpiece that everyone needs. The raveups give you goosebumps. I'm a Man-Becks guitar is amazing, Happenings...-Jimmy Hendrix found this song inspirational, Evil Hearted You, The Train Kept a Rolling, Snake Drive, and many many others. There are some fillers to wade through sometimes, but when you get to the good songs it is absolute bliss.