The one and only Junior’s Eyes album suggested a collision course between British psychedelia and progressive hard rock but didn’t make sense of either direction.
Maybe it fell between two stools because of Hull-born leader Mick Wayne’s contemporary association with David Bowie – he played guitar on Bowie’s Philips album, principally the staggering solos on Space Oddity and Janine.
Working with possibly distracted producer Tony Visconti, Junior’s Eyes explored a loose apocalyptic concept starting from Total War, with a residue of stronger ideas like the fierce Playtime, one of those ‘made in 1969’ songs that still thrills today.
The rest of the group weren’t up to Wayne’s standard and a muddy mix only highlighted the frustrating notion that with better direction from Visconti, they could have completed something more memorable.
A second CD featuring Wayne’s 1967 single with The Tickle, Subway (Smokey Pokey World), has the energy the long-player lacks. The addition of other 45s, demos and BBC Sessions round things out, as does the inclusion of a poignant eulogy from Wayne’s daughter (Mick died in a house fire in 1994), but the Major Tom link adds a mystique the Battersea album can’t match./o:p