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Release Info: Eyes Of Blue - Yesterday
Today we get a cool and crazy jazzy progy take on the Beatles Yesterday by Eyes of Blue. Here is the straight dope...
The Eyes Of Blue evolved during the mid-sixties from covers and R&B band The Mustangs, based in Neath. The early line-up consisted of Wyndham Rees (Vocals), Ray Williams (Guitar), Ritchie Francis (Bass), Melvyn Davies (Guitar) and David Thomas (Drums). Thomas had replaced Byron Phillips in October 1964 a month before the change of name, and before too long Melvyn Davies also decided to leave, reducing the Eyes to a four-piece. Starting out as a soul-based R&B band the Eyes quickly established a strong reputation in the South Wales music scene. They played the same circuit as many other familar groups, The Bystanders, The Jets, and took in gigs in Llanelli, Swansea, Skewen, Cardiff and Neath, winning a few local talent competitions on the way. Early in 1966 drummer Thomas was off and away, and John Weathers was drafted in as a temporary replacement. From another Neath based band - the Smokestacks - came keyboard player Phil Ryan, and vocalist Gary Pickford-Hopkins.
By May that year the band were ready to turn professional. During the late spring and summer of '66 Eyes Of Blue entered and won the national Melody Maker 'Beat Contest', which offered the chance of a one year Decca recording contract. This turned out to be something of a poisoned chalice as none of the tracks recorded for Decca were representative.
Once the Decca contract had expired the band signed with the Mercury label, and during March to July 1968 recorded their first album across a number of sessions in Chappell Studios, London. Later that year the Eyes backed american singer-songwriter Buzzy Linhart on his album 'Buzzy' released on the Phillips label. When some critics suggested that this could be a more productive route an angry Ritchie Francis responded; "We will not be called a backing group for anyone"
The Eyes debut album 'Crossroads Of Time' was eventually released early in 1969. It included two Graham Bond R&B songs (Bond also wrote the sleevenotes) 'Love Is The Law' and 'Crossroads Of Time' which was especially written for the band. It also included an interesting version of Love's '7 + 7 Is' while The Beatles' 'Yesterday' is given a treatment suggesting something of a jazz hymn.
Eyes Of Blue - Yesterday