Eyes Of Blue

By rights, the Eyes of Blue should have an exalted place in the pantheon of art rock and progressive rock bands. They were around before almost all of them, and doing film work and making music in a jazz-rock fusion idiom before the latter had been understood, and they were signed to two major labels in succession, Deram and Mercury. Instead, except for drummer John Weathers, who later joined Gentle Giant, the Eyes of Blue are scarcely remembered at all. The Eyes of Blue started out as a jazz and rhythm & blues-oriented outfit (Graham Bond wrote the notes for their first album), doing songs in that vein as well as less well-suited material such as "Yesterday." They were initially signed to Decca's progressive rock imprint Deram Records, and cut a series of excellent but neglected singles, and then moved to Mercury, where they concentrated on albums, enjoying their greatest musical if not commercial success. They were taken seriously enough to collaborate with Quincy Jones on the score of the movie Toy Grabbers, and the group actually managed to appear in the movie Connecting Rooms. Their early strength lay in R&B-based material, including Bond's "Love Is the Law," "Crossroads of Time," and "7 and 7 Is," but even on their first album, the Eyes of Blue showed some Eastern influences. Their second album had some tracks from the first film score as well as one Graham Bond song, but is more experimental, with extended instrumental passages and some classical music influences. In late 1968, the Eyes of Blue backed Buzzy Linhart on a self-titled album, and they rated a supporting act spot at the Marquee Club in London in 1969, but their days were numbered given their lack of success as a recording outfit. Phil Ryan later played in Man, and John Weathers joined Pete Brown and Piblokto! on the Harvest label, before jumping to Gentle Giant. ~ Bruce Eder

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