Remember The Animals? Remember jangly, arpeggiated guitar intro to “House of the Rising Sun,” the bouncy, accented rendition of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom,” the minor-key 12-string lick on “It’s My Life,” or the fuzzed-out riff on “Don’t Bring Me Down?” Those guitar bits were at the heart of the bluesy side of the original British Invasion — and they came courtesy of a fella named Hilton Valentine.
An original member of the Newcastle-based group — alongside singer Eric Burdon, pianist Alan Price, drummer John Steel, and bassist Chas Chandler, Valentine was one of the early cats who deserves acclaim and appreciation. And he’s still rockin’ with his own group, Skiffledog, who reach even farther into the roots of the British Invasion sound, back to the folk-based Lonnie Donegan era of the popular skiffle sounds of the late 1950s.
Valentine and Skiffledog are due in the Lowountry next week to co-headline the fourth annual American Music Celebration. Organized by local musician Gary Erwin (a.k.a. Shrimp City Slim), and sponsored by Kiawah Island Accommodations Tax Committee, the blues-based concert is a free event set for Sun. Oct. 4 between 2-7 p.m. at the Freshfields Village Green at Kiawah.
“I’m personally extremely excited about him coming down here as I grew up on The Animals,” says Erwin. “Even though I grew up in Chicago, it took The Animals to draw attention to the artists in our own backyard. Valentine was unquestionably the most traditional and deepest electric guitarist in the Brit Invasion era blues bands.”
Also on the bill at the American Music Celebration are local blues-rawker Skye Paige and her band The Original Recipe, the Southern Soul Extravaganza (featuring Roy Roberts, Barbara Carr, and the A.J. Diggs Band), and Texas guitarist, songwriter, and singer Andrew “Jr. Boy” Jones. Check out hiltonvalentine.com and bluesbash.com for more.