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
- 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)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: Junior's Eyes
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 231
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 and company eventually 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 production 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 "Battersea Power Station" 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?
Not the easiest album to warm up to, but definitely some potential ...
"Junior's Eyes" track listing:
1.) Battersea Power Station - 21:45
Side one featured a side-long, inter-connected, eight part suite.
i.) Total War (Mick Wayne) - 1:10 rating: * star
The brief opener 'Total War' was an interesting way to start the album, though it made me wonder what I'd gotten myself into. The track 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 nice Jodge Lodge bass pattern and occasional soccer chant styled "heys", 'Circus Days' morphed into a decent hard rocker showcasing Mick Wayne effects laden lead guitar. It also served as a nice showcase for Kelly's molten rock and roll voice. The man could belt it out !!! An edited version of the track was tapped as a British 45:
- 1969's 'Circus Days' b/w 'Woman Love' (Regal Zonophone catalog number RZ 3018)
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
Opening up with some beautiful acoustic guitar 'My Ship' shifted direction again, offering up a pretty, slightly bluesy ballad before unveiling a catchy and radio-ready chorus. 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' was instantly catchy. Maybe not a problem, but at least to my ears the opening and underlying refrains sure sounded like they'd appropriated more than a little bit of Cream's 'Crossroads'. Otherwise the tune 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"
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 acid tinged edge on Wayne's vocals and some heavily treated guitar. Loved it !!!
2.) I'm Drowning (Mick Wayne) - 1:46 rating: ** stars
The short acoustic number 'I'm Drowning' sounded like something off an International String Band, or perhaps an early Tyrannosaurus Rex track. Not a big fan of the sound. Interestingly Wayne went on to play with T-Rex's Steve Peregine Took.
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.
There was one follow-up non-LP single:
- 1969's 'Star Child' b/w 'Sing or Swim' (Regal Zonophone catalog number RZ 3023)
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). Creatively titled "Junior's Eyes" the collection included the entire original studio album, along with Wayne's Tickle single ('Subway (Smokey Pokey World'), four demos, and the band's non-LP singles.
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