Mud In Your Eye
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1972)
- Jimmi Acardi (aka Jimmi Arccardi, aka James Leonard) -- vocals,
- Ronny Altaville (aka Ronny Carle) -- vocals, bass
- Tony Donnifrio. -- bass, guitar
- John Scaduto -- drums, percussion
- Barry Taylor -- keyboards
- Jimmi Accardi (solo efforts)
- Aesop's Fables (John Scaduto)
- The Laughing Dogs (Jimmy Acardi and Ronny Altaville)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Country/State: Long Island, NY
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 6238
Note to Mandala marketing department - the standard marketing approach would be to put band name on the cover. Using that logic, you couldn't be blamed for thinking this outfit was named 'Million' and the album title was "Mud In Your Eye". In standard tax scam style, that wasn't the case here, rather flip it around. The band name was Mud In Your Eye and album title was "Million". 'Course if your album was released by a tax scam label that had little interest in actually selling your record, and was actually probably happy if you didn't even know they'd released their work, then that marketing approach made perfect sense.
So I was looking for a bit of history on Mud In Your Eye and came across an extended interview with singer/guitarist Jimmi Acardi with this little snippet on the band.
"I met Ronny [Altaville] in Long Island in ’68. We had a band called Mud in Your Eye and we got together solely for the purpose of doing original music, which was basically unheard of at that time on Long Island. We couldn’t play anywhere with originals. So we had a hard time getting gigs. We lasted a few years and we actually did some recordings and there is an album, a really rare album that I recently saw on the internet called Million by Mud in Your Eye [he saw it on the BadCatRecords site]. And the song “Million” is “I Need a Million,” so it’s the original. That song was written like 10 years before we recorded it on the first Columbia Records album. And “Round and Round” too, was written in ’69."
And then out of the blue Acardi stumbled across my site, providing a bit of additional information on the band:
I was just turned on to your site. I was in the band "Mud in Your Eye" who did the album "Million" that you have shown on your page. We were a band formed with myself, Barry Taylor, Ronny Altaville and John Scaduto (from Aesop's Fables) and Tony Donnifrio. Louis Lofredo was our manager and brought us into his studio on Long Island and gave us free studio time. Bob Gallo engineered all our stuff. As far as I knew, the stuff was never released. I'd love to get a copy if you have one. Please let me know. I also remember "Sum Pear", a pretty interesting duo that also recorded at Environmental Sound Studios (Lofredo's studio). The Smubbs, Aesop's Fables, The Sounds of Modification, and other bands that we were friends with also recorded for Lofredo & Gallo. If there's any chance of getting a copy of "Million" please let me know. Or if you have any questions about this stuff, I'll be glad to help out.
Unfortunately for the band (Acardi, singer/bass player Ronny Altaville, bassist Tony Donnifrio, drummer John Scaduto, and keyboardist Barry Taylor), their link to the dark world of tax scam labels seems to have come through Scaduto band manager Louis Lofredo. Scaduto had previously been in the band Aesop's Fables who had recorded an album for Robert Gallo's Mandala label. Signed to Mandala they apparently served as kind of a label house band, supporting a slew of other acts, including Ben E. King and The Vibrations. They also apparently provided concert tour support for various Mandala acts. Their Mandala stint also seemingly resulted in some demo material which were subsequently released on Gallo's label; apparently without their knowledge or cooperation.
I've listed to 1972's "Million" a dozen times and haven't been able to wrap myself around it yet. This band were clearly quite talented, gifted with two talented lead singers in Acardi and Altaville and a first rate rhythm section in Donnifrio and Scaduto. Add to that, Gallo's engineering and production gave the set a surprisingly clear and tight sound. At the same time, many of the album's eclectic sound seemed to support the notion much of the material had been recorded as a series of demos. Most of the ten tracks (largely penned by Acardi), had a slightly rough, unfinished feel. Songs like 'Instructions' and 'Jo Hutte' also had kind of free-spirited, throwaway feel as if the were written for fun, with no intention of ever releasing them commercially.
"Million" track listing:
1.) Instructions (Jimmy Acardi) - rating: *** stars
The first time I heard 'Instructions' it reminded me a bit of Brian Wilson-in-the-sandbox-era Beach Boys. The song didn't have a particularly attractive melody, rather sounded like a bunch of song snippets randomly strung together, but started out with some sweet harmony vocals which reappeared now and then throughout the song. Shame the song was so fragmented ...
2.) Sad Songs (Jimmy Acardi) - rating: ** stars
Wow, whoever handled lead vocals on 'Sad Songs' hit some painfully high notes in the opening segment ... Like the debut, this was another track that just bounced all over the place, in the process repeatedly losing whatever momentum it started to build up. Highlights included a brief jazzy-piano segment, some nice fuzz guitar, and those tight harmony vocals. The freak-out ending was simply unnecessary.
3.) Sunny Day (Jimmy Acardi) - rating: *** stars
The opening section of 'Sunny Day' sounded a bit like a good Three Dog Night song and then morphed into a Felix Cavaliere and Young Rascals blue-eyed soul direction. Again, finding and sticking with a more prominent melody would have helped, though this one was far better than the first two tracks. Nice lead guitar solo on this one ...
4.) Jimmy's Tune (Jimmy Acardi) - rating: ** stars
Switching gears 'Jimmy's Tune' sounded like a mix of Associated-styled pop and lite jazz. Kicked along by some tasty jazzy lead guitar, the song was actually better than that description would have you think.
5.) Million (Jimmy Acardi) - rating: **** stars
A true proto-punk number (released a full five years before the rest of the world caught up to them), 'Million' was easily one of the album highlights. Complete with raw and wild lead vocals, pounding melody, and an amazing Acardi fuzz guitar solo, Iggy Pop and company would have killed to even come close to capturing the gut level energy of this track.
Side two started out with a raunchy garage rocker that would have made the likes of Alex Chilton smile. It wasn't particularly original, but had the kind of energy that most bands could only dream of. One of my favorite performances and must have been devastating to hear live.
2.) Pigs Feet (Jimmy Acardi) - rating: ***** stars
Hum, 'Pigs Feet' found Mud In Your Eyes getting funky ... okay, not really funky, but they come down with a Young Rascals-styled case of blue-eyed soul. So the funny thing is that other than Felix Cavaliere and company, I never would have imagined a Long Island band would have sounded like they were born and raised around Muscle Shoals. Fantastic track with some great Barry Taylor B3 keyboards. Wonder if they actually ever tried pigs feet ...
3.) Baby I Love You (Aretha Franklin) - rating: **** stars
It clearly took some artistic courage to take a crack at covering an Aretha Franklin track; especially one as well known as 'Baby I Love You'. Normally you wouldn't expect much in the way of results, but this 'rocked up' version was surprisingly good. It didn't exactly make me forget the Franklin original, but just the fact I wanted to hear it again spoke volumes for how good their version was.
-4.) Jo Hutter (Barry Taylor) - rating: *** stars
'Jo Hutter' managed to combine '60s garage moves with some bizarre nursery rhyme lyrics. Straight out of a Beatles album, I've always loved the backwards guitar sound. Another strange song that actually rocked out with more energy than you'd have ever expected.
5.) Bring More Money (J,. Trapp) - rating: ** stars
'Bring More Money' opened up with one of the strangest versions of 'Silent Night' you'll ever hear. Remember the 'bug guy' in the first Men In Black movie ? Well that character's voice is exactly what the vocal sounded like on this one. The song then unexpectedly morphed into an equally bizarre country flavored plea for more money ... What in the world was John Scaduto pounding on ?
Surprisingly impressive and it you were a Laughing Dogs fan, then this was one you'd want to check out. (Good luck finding a copy ...)
Acardi and Altaville reappeared as members of The Laughing Dogs. No idea if it's really true, but reportedly Donnifrio, Scaduto, and Taylor dropped out of music in favor of religious pursuits.
I've never bothered to track them down, but the small Molehill label apparently release two Mud In Your Eye albums:
- "Here's Mud In Your Eye" (Molehill catalog number )
- "The Worst of Mud In Your Eye" (Molehill catalog number )
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