Eye to Eye

Eye to Eye/Shakespeare Stole My Baby

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This single CD gathers the entire recorded output of Eye to Eye, which consists of their eponymously titled debut album as well as the subsequent -- and ultimately final -- release, Shakespeare Stole My Baby. The early-'80s project centered on the talents of former Marshall -- Hain member Julian Marshall (keyboards) and Deborah Berg (vocals), who caught Marshall's ear in the waning months of 1979. In relatively short order, the pair was signed to the U.K.-based Automatic Records label and set out to compose and record the Eye to Eye album. Their light techno-pop was sublimely executed with the aid of some studio heavies and legends, including former Mothers of Invention Ian Underwood (keyboards) and Ruth Underwood (marimba), as well as Jim Keltner (drums), Chuck Rainey (bass), Rick Derringer (guitar), Jeff Porcaro (drums), Elliot Randall (guitar), and Donald Fagen (synthesizer). Under the direction of Marshall and highlighted by Berg's airy, pure vocals, they crafted a consistently interesting album featuring the perky FM radio hit "Nice Girls," the manic and quirky "Life in Motion," and more pensive tracks such as "On the Mend" or "Hunger Pains." Unfortunately, the momentum or focus coalesced on the first album dissipated. By the time Shakespeare Stole My Baby (1983) was issued, there was very little public interest in the band. The fact also remains that much of the material was at best idiosyncratic. Nevertheless, as he had done on Eye to Eye, producer Gary Katz incorporated an aggregate of the finest recording session talent available, this time with notable contributions from Larry Carlton (guitar) and Steve Lukather (guitar), as well as a few holdouts from the first album. There are some bright spots, though. "Tonight Insomnia"and "Mermaid Man" are odd enough to be reminiscent of Robyn Hitchcock's ethereal and oblique humor-filled songs.

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