Review: Eye – Anthology

Review: Eye – Anthology

Pride & Joy Music (January 20th, 2023)

Reviewer: Chris O’Connor

This release is something of a mystery. I don’t normally have to confess to knowing literally nothing about a band I’m reviewing, but on this occasion – I am, like a majority of other people, something of a ‘virgin’ when it comes to this band and their output. This much I DO know, they originated way back in the summer of love, originally hailing from Georgia, and had the unlikely moniker of TIMMY … no really, I kid you not.

Next, the band migrated to San Francisco, and started slowly gelling into something much more progressive than their hippy roots might have suggested. The nucleus of Timmy at this point in time was John ‘Langford’ Harrison (keyboards), and Donny MacLeod (guitars). During the ‘70’s and ‘80’s they were joined by musicians such as Andy West (bass guitarist of Dixie Dregs), Vince Welnick (keyboardist of The Tubes and The Grateful Dead), Mark O’Connor (violinist/fiddler for Dixie Dregs) and numerous others.

By the time they had very wisely given up the sappy name, and had renamed themselves Eye, they were persuaded to record a professional demo with Eddie Offord (Yes, ELP, Baker-Gurvitz Army etc) producing, but still, they couldn’t land a deal. They secured management

With Tony Secunda (Motorhead, Procol Harum, Chrissie Hynde, Moody Blues, Steeleye Span, Denny Laine, Marianne Faithfull, The Move, T-Rex etc). You would have thought that might have guaranteed success, but alas, it was not to be.

Donny MacLeod would die in 2010, and John Harrison followed him in 2012 –theoretically should have been it, but amazingly the band and their back catalogue, had in fact not been forgotten – cue those nice people at Pride & Joy Music sourcing all their recorded output and releasing it in an extremely limited 500 album run. The 3CD set contains 50 songs in total, with a 24-page booklet, compete with liner notes by Mike Varney (erstwhile brother of Shrapnel Records boss Mike), and a host of rare photos.

So, what do they sound like? Think along the lines of Duke Jupiter, Trillion, Breathless, Speedway Boulevard, (early) Cars – and you won’t be far from their sound. Understandably the music is often keyboard led, with the guitars a little muted perhaps. The drums are often very ‘electric’ rather than acoustic sounding, and the vocals are sometimes plaintive rather than powerful, though the band do excel with vocal harmonies.

On the earlier (I presume?) discs, the band keep things very short and sweet, the songs rarely passing the three or even rarer the four-minute mark. As the band progressed and matured, you can hear them starting to ‘stretch their wings’ musically, and as a result, songs became longer and more complex, regularly extending between five and seven minutes in length.

It must be admitted that quite a few of these songs do sound of very ‘demo’ quality – which obviously is totally understandable, but this in no way lessens the enjoyment factor. There are times that the Vince Welnick impact is more noticeable, and the songs do sound not unlike The Tubes at their most pop-rock and melodic, the lyrics also became more thought provoking during this era – it really is a mystery how the band were not signed to a major label – as they had everything it took … seemingly except that magical ingredient – luck! Life truly can be very cruel and unjust at times.

Kudos to Pride & Joy for unearthing this gem of a band, it may be thirty years late, but at long last Eye are getting the recognition that so unjustly eluded them when they were at the peak of their collective powers. ‘Anthology’ is a richly rewarding listen, and just for a short time – you can enjoy Eye as they finally get their day in the sun. Truly a case of ‘Oh what could have been’! There are only going to be 500 copies of this box available, so don’t miss out!

Tracklist:

Disc 1

Backup Slowdown
Broadway Hollywood
Taylor Made
Lost And Confused
Romance
Just A Game
You Got Nerve
Don’t Wait
Backup Slowdown (Alterative Version)
All I Need
Need Somebody
Presence
In A Hole
Eye Will Watch You
All Too Well
You Got Nerve (Alternative Version)

Disc 2

I’m After You
The Hero Is Dead
Big Boy
Under The Weather
Baby/Lady
Honestly Lovely
It Might Rain
Nuclear Affair
You Don’t Know Me
Right Time
Reddi Freddi
Baby/Lady (Alternative Version)
Honestly Lovely (Alternative Version)
Times Got A Way
Baby/Lady (Unplugged)
Reddi Freddi (Alternative Version)

Disc 3

Don’t Cry
Rumble
No Man’s Land
Witchin’ Time
Night Scope
Eye 4 An Eye
You’ve Gotta Have It
Partyin’ Angel
Change The Channel/MPH
Chase The Blues Away
Here I Am
I Know What I Am Looking For
Ready Or Not
I Can’t Complain
I Know A Way
Happy Birthday (Part One)

6 Comments

  1. Hi Chris! thank you for your amazing review. Putting this together was not an easy feat! Appreciate your love for this album. The band is actually from San Francisco…they went to Georgia to to the Atlanta EP at Eddy Offord’s studio before they changed to Eye from Timmy. Big Kudos to Peter Penhallow the last surviving original member of the band who was a big piece in putting this archive together. Regards, Marcus Mason

  2. Hi. Mark Varney here. Someone just sent this to me. I am listed as the guy who wrote the liner notes but I had never heard of this band, nor did I write the liner notes….maybe in an alternate universe, but not in this one. Is it possible Mike Varney wrote them?

    1. Mike indeed wrote it. It was a typo in the promotion package. Mikes name is correct in the printed release! Marcus mason

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