Dick’s Picks: This week’s pick is a tasty ’90s reissue of the super-collectable ’60s Mod/Freakbeat band ‘The Eyes’…..
The Eyes / The Pupils
This little known 5-piece who hailed from Ealing, West London, were like countless other newly formed bands of the ‘60s inspired by the Beatles, but they also got their kicks from something that was brewing a little closer to home……..R&B/The Blues.
In 1962 the Rolling Stones would cut their teeth at the legendary ‘Ealing Blues Club’ run by Alexis Corner – on any given night lurking in the shadows you may well have spotted a young Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Eric Burdon, Jeff beck – and the Who….
In fact the Who’s brand of ‘pilled up’ adrenalin fuelled R&B would strike a chord (quite literally) with members of early ‘60s instrumental combo ‘The Renegades’ who later would morph into Gerry Hart & The Hartbeats before settling on….The Eyes. However, if you take a sneak listen to their debut 1965 Mercury ’45 ‘When The Night Falls’ you might have to concede inspiration was a two-way street, check the ringing power chords, deft use of the Rickerbacker’s ‘toggle switch’ (that’s the bit that sounds like The Jam at 0.55) and those vicious slashing guitar lines where the plectrum/pick is drawn against the string (at 1.12 if you want to compare notes)
So what’s the album all about?
Firstly, its not a reissue of an LP itself, in the bands short lifetime they only released four 7″ singles and one 7″EP, all of which are now stone-cold ’60s collectables, the EP goes for around £500 with the other singles fetching similar prices too – gulp! This rather tasty comp draws together all the A&B sides plus a handful of previously unreleased demos – and four tracks taken from the uber rare ‘Tribute To The Rolling Stones LP’ released under the name ‘The Pupils’ (eyes geddit?)…..
What happened next?
Who knows? After the commercial failure of the first two singles it’s reported that record label pressure led to them recording a couple of hasty covers, ‘Man With Money’ (The Everly Brothers) and a not-bad-at-all crack at ‘Good Day Sunshine (The Beatles), quickly followed by an LP of Stones covers before the band finally called it a day in 1967. After that a quick internet search reveals very little from any of the band after they disbanded – Discogs lists the band members but any recording activity appears to be solely restricted to The Eyes/The Pupils……remember them this way….