Eternity's Children

From Us Unto You: The Complete Singles

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The nearly one hour of listening contained within this CD covers much of the history of Eternity's Children, and in a far more coherent manner than any of the reissues of their LPs (which were mashed-together creations). One will get a much fuller and clearer picture of a sad-yet-glorious story here, working single-by-single, most of the material showing everything this group had going for it and also the missed opportunities that blighted their history. The first six songs, originally spread among three different labels -- "Time and Place" and "Can't Put a Thing Over Me," edgy, rocking but slightly trippy numbers issued on the tiny Apollo label; the cheerier and more ornate, Baroque pop sounds of "Wait and See" and "Rumors" on A&M Records (also the home of languid sounds like the Sandpipers' "Come Saturday Morning" at the time); and "Mrs. Bluebird" and "Little Boy" marking their debut with Capitol Records' Tower imprint, a label whose stable (including Pink Floyd) and output the parent company never had a clue as to what to do with. "Mrs. Bluebird" and "Little Boy" at least ended up folded into the group's debut album, as did the fuzz-guitar ornamented "Sunshine Among Us," showing a group developing a sound that was as poppy as it was hard and driving. But then the digressions begin -- a lackluster single like "Rupert White," which was almost as lugubrious as it was trippy, backed with the much better, thorough soul-influenced "Till I Hear It from You"; the sub-Spanky & Our Gang-style "I Wanna Be with You," which is still a great song (authored by new member Mike "Kid" McClain) and a fine showcase for their harmonies. And then we're on to "Sidewalks of the Ghetto," a fine, well-intended, earthily soulful product of the reconstituted group's stay at Chips Moman's American Studios, and after that it's back to sunshine pop on "Look Away." The group by that point had become a far more theoretical than an ongoing proposition, and it's here that the CD takes a turn into solo work by founding member Charles Ross III with the ethereal "My Happiness Day." The collection closes out with solo releases by Ross and lead singer Linda Lawley, a less-ornate alternate take of "Wait and See," and a different edit of "Mrs. Bluebird." The sound ranges from very good to excellent, and the annotation by Steve Stanley is extremely thorough and informative.

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