Because the pub-rock moment of the Seventies was essentially relegated to the British Isles and had no corollary in America, it remains a one-line footnote in the chronicles of contemporary rock. Yet as with so many (self-)limited niches of style, its proponents are as fervently devoted as its practitioners like Ducks Deluxe, Brinsley Schwarz and Dr. Feelgood. Yet history as documented on this 2CD package, will show it was, in fact, United States natives Eggs Over Easy who (re)ignited devotion to down-to-earth but eclectic musical values at a time prog-rock was beginning to dominate musical fashion of the times, their notable visit to England similar to that of the Ramones in sparking punk-rock later in the same decade.
Including both of the band's albums, the standalone release 'Buffalo Single,' plus a set of demo recordings London '71, The Eggs Over Easy Story tells the tale of a trio as charming as they were completely unsung-at least until now. And while the group's moniker may not ring any bells loudly, except within a very narrow demographic of musiclovers, the names of those who espoused their virtues carry some measure of cache: Nick Lowe, English master of pop, producer of Elvis Costello and Graham Parker and co-founder of Rockpile (with Dave Edmunds)sang their praises, while ex-Animal and former manager of Jim Hendrix Chas Chandler produced the collection of early demo recordings enclosed here, while seminal guitar hero Link Wray oversaw their initial studio album (idiosyncratic keyboardist Lee Michaels helmed the sophomore effort Fear of Frying).
All of which is the stuff of guilty pleasure, deceptively addictive music as rare as the three piece lineup of a band that required hiring a drummer for studio and stage. Austin de Lone, Brien Hopkins and jack O'Hara all played acoustic and electric guitars, while the latter two also handled Fender bass, Hopkins played keyboards along with de Lone and everyone sang short sharp tracks of largely original material such as "Face Down in the Meadow" compounding earthy roots of blues and rock seasoned with country and folk music influences that provided structure. And soloing is minimal at best
Tracks like "Arkansas" and "The Factory," aren't particularly polished either, but they're not supposed to be; in fact, the soft vocal harmonies on "Home to You" are virtually the only decoration the group allows itself (not much more or less than on aforementioned Chandler demos). Yet this elemental approach doesn't preclude a heart sense of humor, as displayed on the aforementioned single cuts "I'm Gonna Put a Bar in the Back of My Car (& Drive Myself to Drink)" and "Horny Old Lady;" in fact, it's this self-deprecating sense of their collective self that prevented Eggs Over Easy's reach from exceeding their grasp. While that attitude may also prevent much of a widespread acknowledgment of their virtues (or recognition of their impact within this admittedly narrow sphere of influence), it doesn't undermine the infectious pleasure their music radiates.
It's a measure of that devotion this package is not just chock full of music, but adorned with photos, memorabilia, an essay by devout fan Gene Scullatti, and colorful graphics arguably more ornate than the sounds it encloses. It's the stuff of which is usually relegated to more high-profiles figures, but Good 'n' Cheap: The Eggs Over Easy Story deservedly redefines that concept.
CD 1: Party Party; Arkansas; Henry Morgan; The Factory; Face Down In The Meadow; Home To You; Song Is Born Of Riff And Tongue; Don't Let Nobody; Runnin' Down To Memphis; Pistol On A Shelf; Night Flight; I'm Gonna Put A Bar In The Back Of My Car (& Drive Myself To Drink); Horny Old Lady; Fire; Scene Of The Crime; Forget About It; Louise; Lizard Love; You Lied; Driftin'; She Loves Me; Action; Mover's Lament; Nonnie Nookie No; CD 2; Goin' To Canada; I Can Call You; Right On Roger; Country Waltz; Give Me What's Mine; Across From Me; Waiting For My Ship; January; Give And Take; Funky But Clean; I'm Still the Same; 111 Avenue C.
Austin de Lone: piano, organ, electric piano, other keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars; Brien Hopkins: piano, Fender bass, organ, acoustic and electric guitars; Jack O'Hara: Fender bass, acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, hand percussion; Les Sampson: drums, percussion; John Steel: drums; Rahni Raines: scat vocal CD 2 track 12 (London '71); Bill Franz: drums; Link Wray: lap guitar (Good 'n' Cheap); Greg Dewey: drums, vocal on CD 1 track 19 (Fear of Frying)