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Private Eyes

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Editors’ Notes

Iowa-born Tommy Bolin was a guitar hero who died young (overdosed at 25) after making records with Colorado rockers Zephyr, The James Gang, and Deep Purple. And he guested on lots of others, including the classic Spectrum by jazz-fusion kingpin Billy Cobham. Bolin also released two great, time-tested solo albums. This one, his second, shows just how evolved Bolin was as a writer, singer, and guitarist, showing wisdom (musical and otherwise) that transcended his youth. The songs, which often grapple with themes of isolation and addiction, are rich and stylized. Sinister jazzy rock (“Bustin’ Out for Rosey”) sidles up to swollen-strings balladry (“Hello, Again”) and white-boy blues (“You Told Me That You Loved Me”). There are also poppy refrains (“Someday Will Bring Our Love Home,” “Sweet Burgundy”) and stinging rock ’n’ roll (the nine-minute cautionary confessional “Post Toastee”). Bolin’s songs sometimes had a kind of mystical sense about them, especially the riff-and-organ head-spinner “Shake the Devil.” Guests on the album include drummer Carmine Appice and saxist/singer Norma Jean Bell.

Customer Reviews

Underrated lost classic

I had a copy of this in High School on 8-Track. I loved it but the tape went bad, as 8-tracks are prone to do. I've been searching for 25 years for a replacement. It's that good. This is probably the best album you've never heard of.

Private Eyes

This is one of the best albums ever cut. Truly under appreciated. This is in my line up of "if I was stuck on an island and only had 10 albums..."

Bustin' Out For Perfection

The person who reviewed this album is clueless plus must have listened to it on mono speakers. Private Eyes was Bolin's best by a mile. Teaser was great too but the sound on this one is tighter. Post Toastee goes down as his show stopping closer and a classic. Weakest entry is "Hello, Again" but everything else is first class. There's just something special about this album which makes it rise above thousands of others. One of my all-time favorites.


Born: August 1, 1951 in Sioux City, IA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

It's hard to listen to the music of Tommy Bolin and not wonder what could've been if the exceptionally talented (and versatile) guitarist hadn't succumbed to a senseless drug overdose at the age of 25 -- just as his career appeared to be taking off. In a recording career that lasted only several years, Bolin not only touched upon several styles (blues-rock, ballads, fusion, funk, reggae, and heavy metal), but showed that he could master each one -- as evidenced by his two solo albums and various...
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Private Eyes, Tommy Bolin
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Customer Ratings