Junior's Eyes


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-69)

- Steve Chapman -- drums, percussion

- John Lodge (aka Honk) -- bass

- Mick Wayne (RIP 1994) -- vocals, guitar

 

  line up 2 (1969)

NEW - John Cambridge -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Steve Chapman)

- Graham 'Grom' Kelly -- lead vocals

- John Lodge (aka Honk) -- bass 

NEW - Tim Renwick -- lead guitar

NEW - Rick Wakeman -- keyboards 

- Mick Wayne (RIP 1994) -- vocals, guitar 

 

 

- Arrival  (Steve Chapman)

- The Big Sound

- The Bunch of Fives (Mick Wayne)

- Coast Road Drive  (Steve Chapman)

- Distant Jim  (Steve Chapman)

- The Hullaballoos (John Cambridge and Mick Wayne)

- The Hype (Doug Cambridge)

- The Outsiders (Mick Wayne)

- The Paul Lucas Band (Mick Wayne)

- The Pandas (Steve Chapman)

- Pandamonium (Steve Chapman)

- Steve Peregine Took

- The Pink Fairies (Mick Wayne)

- Poco (Steve Chapman)

- The Rats (John Cambridge)

- Quiver (John Lodge and Tim Renwick)

- Tim Renwick (solo efforts)

- Samarai (John Redern)

- Shagrat (Mick Wayne)

- Sutherland Brothers and Quiver (Tim Renwick)

- The Texas Instruments  (Steve Chapman)

- The Tickle (Mick Wayne)

- The Treacle (John Cambridge)

- Rick Wakeman (solo efforts)

- Yes (Rick Wakeman)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Junior's Eyes

Company: A&M

Catalog: SP-4189

Year: 1968

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 231

Price: SOLD $50.00

Cost: $66.00

 

Here's a short-lived and little known late-1960s outfit with an impressive pedigree and a criminally overlooked LP.  

 

Formed in London in 1968, Junior's Eyes was led by ex-Tickle singer/guitarist Mick Wayne.  The original line up was rounded out by  ex-Pandas/Pandamonium drummer Steve Chapman, and bassist John 'Honk' Lodge (no - not the Moody Blues guy).  Wayne found support in the form of Peter Jenner's London-based Blackhill management company.  The group's initial performance found them opening for Traffic and they quickly became staples on the London club circuit attracting a fan base with performances at The Marquee, The Middle Earth, The Roundhouse, etc..  1969 saw the line up undergo extensive changes with the addition of singer Graham Kelly, lead guitarist Tim Renwick, and keyboardist Rick Wakeman.  Original drummer Chapman was replaced by John Cambridge who had played with Wayne in The Hullabaloos.  The group's growing recognition also attracted the attention of Denny Cordell and Tony Visconti's Regal Zonophone label which signed them to a contract with A&M somehow  acquiring US distribution rights.   

 

 

1969 saw the band debuting with a series of three nifty singles:

 

- 1969's "Mister Golden Trumpet Player" b/w "Black Snake" (Regal Zonophone catalog number RZ-3009)

- 1969's "Woman Love" b/w "Circus Days" (Regal Zonophone catalog number RZ-3018)   

- 1969's "Sink Or Swim" b/w "Star Child" (Regal Zonophone catalog number RZ-3023)

 

While the singles didn't do much commercially, Regal Zonophone went ahead and financed an album.  Released in late 1969, the band's self-titled debut LP teamed them with Visconti in the producer role.  Unlike his work with The Hullabaloos and Tickle, this time out the set was quite diverse though there was also a clear blues-rock base to much of the material.  Wayne was responsible for all five songs including the side-long, multi-part title suite. Divided into seven separate segments, 'Battersear Power Station' had it's moments, but came off as a series of disjointed songs that had been somewhat haphazardly stitched together.  Powered by Wayne's excellent lead guitar (check out his chops on 'Imagination'), the set bounced along between outright pop ('My Ship'), English music hall ('Miss Lizzy'), conventional rock ('So Embarrassed'), and occasional stabs at lite-psych ('Playtime').  Elsewhere, perhaps a reflection of Visconti's work with Marc Bolan, the brief 'I'm Drowning' sounded like a Tyrannosaurus Rex throwaway.  While "Junior's Eyes" was never less than professional, to my ears there was a clear absence of imagination in the grooves, leaving me with the feeling I'd heard most of these moves somewhere else.  Curiously Wayne saw the album as a concept piece.  In an interview with Nigel Cross he described the album as ‘to do with numerology, to do with Tibetan Book of the Dead. It was to do with layers of conscience and consciousness starting with total war and with total peace’.  Who knew?   

 

"Junior's Eyes" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Battersear Power Station - 21:45

Side one featured  a side-long, inter-connected, eight part suite.  

  i.) Total War   (Mick Wayne) - 1:10  rating: * star

'Total War' began with what sounded like a  political diatribe and then turned into an brief atonal sound collage.

    ii.) Circus Days   (Mick Wayne) - 3:40   rating: *** stars

Opening up with a short group chant, 'Circus Days' morphed into a decent hard rocker showcasing some nice John Lodge bass and effects laden Mick Wayne lead guitar.    

    iii.) Imagination   (Mick Wayne) - 6:46   rating: *** stars

Shifting direction, 'Imagination' started out as a breezy, slightly pop-psych number with an abrupt rock-oriented mid-section and then a return to the main pop-psych melody.  Wayne provided some very melodic Grateful Dead-styled lead guitar.  

    iv.) My Ship   (Mick Wayne) - 2:46   rating: *** stars

A pretty, slightly bluesy ballad, 'My Ship' marked another change in musical direction.  The song was also interesting for showing how good Wayne's voice was.   

    v.) Miss Lizzy   (Mick Wayne) - 2:50   rating: ** stars

And just when you thought you'd heard it all, along came some didgeridoo and the old-timely sounding 'Miss Lizzy'.   Yeah, the barrel-house piano propelled song wasn't particularly impressive, or enjoyable, but it was definitely different.

    vi.) So Embarrassed   (Mick Wayne) - 4:04     rating: **** stars

Kicked along by a great Hammond organ riff and some nice Wayne slide guitar,  the rockin' 'So Embarrassed' sounded like it was built on a stolen Allman Brothers song.   

   vii.) Freak In (instrumental)   (Mick Wayne) - 1:37  rating: * star

'Freak In' ... well the title was accurate.   Sounded a bit like something off "The White Album" 

 

(side 2)

1.) Playtime   (Mick Wayne) - 3:54     rating: **** stars

Side two featured four discrete tracks including the album's most psychedelic effort. Along with some out-there lyrics,  'Playtime' featured a distinctive lysegenic edge on Wayne's vocals and some heavily treated guitar.  Loved it !!!      rating: ** stars

2.) I'm Drowning   (Mick Wayne) - 1:46

The short acoustic number 'I'm Drowning' sounded like an early Tyrannosaurus Rex track.  Interestingly Wayne went on to play with T-Rex's Steve Peregine Took.  Not a big fan of the sound.  

3.) White Light   (Mick Wayne) - 6:36   rating: *** stars

Bouncing between a semi-martial feel and proto-glam, 'White Light' was one of the album's most interesting and enjoyable numbers.  Great melody and the 'yeah' chorus is a hoot.  The song would have gotten an even higher rating were it not for the Grateful Dead-styled jam section.

4.) By the Tree   (Mick Wayne) - 5:04     rating: **** stars

My favorite tune, 'By the Tree' didn't sound anything like the rest of the album.  With a catchy toytown styled pop-psych melody, the track was highly commercial and catchy; though in a 1967 versus 1969 fashion.

 

Not the easiest album to warm up to, but definitely some potential ...

 

 

Before a follow-up could be recorded, at producer Visconti's request Cambridge, Renwick and Wayne provided backing on David Bowie's "Space Oddity" album.  With the addition of Lodge they briefly served as Bowie's backing band.  Cambridge, Renwick and Wayne then recruited Bowie, former Rats guitarist Mick Ronson and Visconti on bass to form The Hype.  Cambridge then dropped out, replaced by Mick 'Woody' Woodmansey.  The enterprise collapsed within a matter of months when both Renwick and Wayne quit.  At least a bit of studio material was saved and finally saw daylight via the 2000 Bowie compilation "Bowie at the Beeb".

 

Cambridge reappeared in a string of short-lived bands, including Dib Cochrane and the Earwigs. 

 

Chapman went on to work with Poco and Al Stewart before forming his own management group.  

 

Renwick became an in-demand sessions player, as well as becoming a member of Quiver, which was later incorporated into The Sutherland Brothers and Quiver.  He's also recorded some solo material.

 

Wayne recorded some material with Steve Took's post-T Rex band Shagrat.  He then recorded with an early Pink Fairies lineup before relocating to Southern California where he apparently recorded a solo album, only to have the tapes stolen and lost.  He remained active in music working with an impressive list of artists, but died in a 1994 Michigan house fire.

 

In 2000 the British Aural label released a compilation set (catalog number 69).  Cleverly titled "Junior's Eyes" the collection included the entire original album, along with Wayne's Tickle single ('Subway (Smokey Pokey World'), four demos, and the non-LP singles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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