Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1970-71)
- Bob Bereman - drums, percussion
- Dave Hodgkins (RIP) -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Bill Kirkham -- vocals, bass
- Douglas "Red" Mark -- vocals, lead guitar
line up 2 (1987)
- Douglas "Red" Mark -- vocals, lead guitar
- Steven Strain -- sax, keyboards, backing vocals
- Greggory Whitehead -- bass, backing vocals
- Stephen Wilsey -- guitar, backing vocals
- Brian Davis Wills -- drums, percussion
- Bluestorm (Bill Kirham)
- The Grains of Sand (Dave Hodgkins and Douglas Mark)
- Douglas Mark (solo efforts)
- The Sunshine Company (Douglas Mark)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Country/State: Los Angeles, California
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: small cut out hole bottom right corner
Catalog ID: 2407
I've seen these guys described as country-rock which isn't an entirely apt label unless you consider CSN&Y to be a country-rock act.
Singer/guitarist Douglas Mark had previously been a member of The Grains of Sand and pop-psych band The Sunshine Company. Following three albums, in 1970 The Sunshine Company collapsed. 1970 found Mark living in Los Angeles still trying to make it in music. Recruiting drummer Bob Bereman, singer/guitarist Dave Hodgkins and bassist Bill Kirkham, under the name Redeye the quartet was signed by Steve Douglas' Pentagram label. They made their debut with 1970's "Redeye". Produced by Al Schmitt (who was a part-owner of Pentagram), judging by tracks like 'Empty White Houses', '199 Thoughts Too Late' and 'Collections of Yesterday and Now' the guys had clearly been listening to a wide array of Southern California country-rock acts. Buffalo Springfield, Gram Parsons and Poco influences were abundant throughout the set. Largely penned by Hodgkins, tracks like 'Mississippi Stateline' and 'Dadaeleus' Unfinished Dream' also showcased the band's CSN&Y influenced melodies, vocal harmonies, and even occasional jazzy-styled guitar segments. Check out Mark's work on the opening part of 'Oregon Bound'. The CSN&Y comparisons were occasionally truly scary as on the fluke hit single 'Games'. It made for an album that wasn't particularly original, but still had a certain charm. A worthy, if little known addition to the early-'70s country-rock genre. Propelled by the 'Games' single and some favorable reviews the parent album actually sold modestly, peaking at # 113 on the pop charts.
"Redeye" track listing:
1.) Games (Dave Hodgkins) - 2:59 rating: **** stars
You could be forgiven for mistaking the opener 'Games' for a CSN&Y performances. The bouncy melody, the close knit harmonies, the lyrics and even the fuzz guitar solo all recalled the former. Nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from a good source. The band actually enjoyed a fluke hit single when Pentagram tapped it as a single:
- 1970's 'Games' b/w 'Collections of Yesterday and Now' (Pentagram catalog number PE-204) # 27 pop
2.) Empty White Houses (Dave Hodgkins) - 2:40 rating: **** stars
The faux country-Gospel melody wasn't something that instantly grabbed, me but I have to admit that the chirpy vocals "oh, oh, oh" ultimately won me over.
3.) Mississippi Stateline (Dave Hodgkins) - 3:54 rating: **** stars
There's some about a West Coast band singing a tune with a title like 'Mississippi Stateline' that makes me smile. Anyhow, the tune was a slinky rocker with a nice refrain and one of the album's most commercial arrangements,. Mark's jazzy lead guitar recalled Stephen Stills work on 'Wooden Ships' and the harmonies recalled the CSN&Y catalog. The song was also released as the band's first single.
- 1969's 'Mississippi Stateline' b/w '199 Thoughts Too Late' (Pentagram catalog number P-202)
4.) Green Grass (Dave Hodgkins) - 3:04 rating: *** stars
Pastoral country-rock (with the emphasis on country), 'Green Grass' should strike a chord with Gram Parsons-era Byrds fans. A lovely showcase for the band's sweet harmony vocals. I'd love to know what the guitar effect Marks was using on this one.
5.) Down Home Run (Dave Hodgkins) - 2:45 rating: **** stars
As a big Buddy Holly fan I appreciated the opening started out with a Holly styled guitar riff. That riff carried through the entire song giving it a joyous, bouncy feel. The song also gave bassist Bill Kirkham a chance to showcase his talents.
The lone Hodgkins-Kirkham collaborations, 'Dadaeleus' Unfinished Dream' sounded like a mash-up of The Buffalo Springfield and Poco. It almost sounded like something off a surf tune, but Mark turned in one of his best solos. The vocalist sounded different from most of the collection, making me think Kirkham may have been singing this one.
2.) Oregon Bound (Dave Hodgkins) - 3:12 rating: **** stars
Quality country-rocker with great vocals and some interesting tempo changes. The song also featured some fantastic Mark lead guitar. Once again he trotted out the 'Wooden Ships' effect.
3.) Your Train Is Leaving (Dave Hodgkins) - 2:42 rating: **** stars
Kirkham on lead vocals? The joyous 'Your Train Is Leaving' was the album's most country-flavored performance. Much to my surprise I loved every minute of it. Great example of the group's charming harmony work. As a big Michael Nesmith fan, the song's always reminded me of his work.
4.) 199 Thoughts Too Late (Dave Hodgkins) - 2:27 rating: **** stars
'199 Thoughts Too Late' was another country-rocker that leaned country and once again I was impressed. Shame it was so short.
5.) Collections of Yesterday and Now (Dave Hodgkins) - 4:26 rating: *** stars
The opening segment of 'Collections of Yesterday and Now' seemingly pushed them too far into the country genre. Luckily Kirkham's bass work and Mark's guitar turned the tide and the song rebounded into another nice country-rocker. The song was also tapped as the "B" side to their 'Games" 45.
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: One Man's Poison
Country/State: Los Angeles, California
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+
Comments: textured cover; cut lower right corner
Catalog ID: --
Redbone's 1970 debut wasn't the worst country-rock album I've ever heard and I was always curious about the sophomore LP. Luckily it only took about a decade to find a copy of 1971's "One Man's Poison" at a community yard sale. Was it worth the wait and the two dollar investment?
Continuing their partnership with producer Al Schmitt, as on their debut album singer/rhythm guitarist Dave Hodgkins remained the band's creative mainstay. This time he was responsible for penning all ten tracks. As a result if you liked the debut, then the sophomore LP was probably going to strike a chord with you. Tracks like 'It'll Get Better', 'Someone' and 'Beginning To End' continued to explore the band's interest in country rock which made the album an interesting baseline for playing "spot the influences". As on 1970's "Redeye" my ears heard touches of Gram Parsons-era Byrds, CSN&Y, Loggins & Messina and Southern rockers like The Marshall Tucker Band. Curiously, while some of the country-rock numbers were quite enjoyable ('Beginning To End'), this time out the highlights came in the form of their more rock-oriented performances - the should've been a hit single 'You Don't Need It', 'The Seeker' and the gorgeous and thought-provoking anti-war paean 'The Making of a Hero'. Song for song I actually found this album to be stronger than the debut, but signed to a small label like Steve Douglas' Pentagram, they got little or no support and simply fell through the cracks.
"One Man's Poison" track listing:
1.) I'm Goin' Blind (Dave Hodgkins) - 2:42 rating: **** stars
The opener 'I'm Goin' Blind' captured most of the band's strengths. Definitely country-rock, but with enough of a rock edge to avoid typical country-rock platitudes. Great melody that showcased some nice, un-credited barrelhouse piano and the group's attractive CSN&Y-styled harmony vocals. The track reappeared the "B" side to their non-LP 'Homebound' 45.
2.) Red Eye Blues (Dave Hodgkins) - 2:46 rating: *** stars
The bouncy 'Red Eye Blues' went for an old-school, cutesy sound. Positives were Hodgkins' craggy, mountain man voice, the sweet harmonies and one of Douglas Mark's nicer lead solos. With a different mix the track was also tapped as a single. I may be reading too much into them, but from a commercial standpoint the song's lyrics were problematic; appearing to recount the tale of a slacker who got so stoned he forgets where he's hidden his stash. I guess it's kind of funny in an early-'70s fashion, but you could easily see why a lot of radio stations might not have been thrilled to play the single.
- 1971's 'Red Eye Blues' b/w 'The Making of a Hero' (Pentagram catalog number PE-206) # 78 pop
3.) The Seeker (Dave Hodgkins) - 3:15 rating: **** stars
Powered by some tasty Hammond B3, 'The Seeker' went in the straight-ahead rock direction and was one of the album's more impressive offerings. Extra star for Mark and Hodgkins twin lead guitar workout.
4.) It'll Get Better (Dave Hodgkins) - 3:10 rating: *** stars
Bouncing back to country, the uplifting 'It'll Get Better' sounded like a mash-up between Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show and Loggins & Messina. It was mildly catchy and got better with a couple of cold beers, but, yeah, I didn't think much of the results either.
5.) The Making of a Hero (Dave Hodgkins) - 4:55 rating: **** stars
Seemingly an unwritten contractual requirement, it sometimes seems as if every early-'70s album includes at least one stab at political, or social commentary (frequently in the form of a Bob Dylan cover). A Hodgkins original, 'The Making of a Hero' served as Redeye's contribution to the genre. The good news is it was one of the genre's better performances - great melody; nice Mark's lead guitar, what sounded like an early touch of Moog, lovely vocals, and subtle, thought provoking anti-war lyrics. Hearing a band make a statement without seemingly shoving it down your throat was worth a star all by itself. Shame it was overlooked at it was one of the album highlights.
Anyone who bought the single 'Games' was going to find the rockin' 'You Don't Need It' interesting. Driven by some of Mark's catchiest fuzz guitar, the only mystery was why this one wasn't tapped as a single.
2.) Walter Why Knott (Dave Hodgkins) - 2:18 rating: ** stars
The song title warned you this could be a good-timey country tune. Complete with pedal steel guitar, it was.
3.) Someone (Dave Hodgkins) - 2:59 rating: **** stars
Yes it was a country-tinged number, but I loved Marks' work on the ballad 'Someone'. Wonder if The Marshall Tucker Band heard this one ... Mark's soaring guitar tones certainly seemed like it influenced Marshall Tucker lead guitarist Tony Caldwell.
4.) Beginning To End (Dave Hodgkins) - 2:35 rating: **** stars
Well I'll be darned ... powered by nice acoustic guitar, crisp vocals and Mark's best solos, 'Beginning To End' was another country-tinged tune that I found myself humming. I also liked Hodgkins' sweet, insightful lyrics.
5.) Cold In the Night (Dave Hodgkins - Douglas Mark) - 3:17 rating: ** stars
'Cold In the Night' found the band trying to toughen up their sound, but it was one of those songs that I couldn't remember five minutes after I heard it.
There were also at least two promotional non-LP singles
- 1971's 'Homebound Feelin' b/w 'I'm Goin' Blind' (Pentagram catalog number PE 209)
- 1973's 'Just a Little More' (mono) b/w 'Just a Little More' (stereo) (Pentagram catalog number PE-213)
With a totally new backing band, Mark also released a 1997LP entitled "Redeye - Back To the Wall" (Wrinkle catalog WR-1). Never seen a copy and never heard it, though I'd be curious to hear what it sounds like.
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