CD Duration: 55.02 / Year: 2015
Brand new CD for 2015 with an ‘Eye’ theme, played on Wersi and Tyros 2.
Bette Davies Eyes
Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue
My Eyes Adored You
The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
The Black Eyed Boys
Doctor My Eyes
I Only Have Eyes For You
In Your Eyes
My Mothers Eyes
Wide Eyed and Legless
Latest from John Kyffin
Organ & Keyboard Cavalcade Review
Well it’s been positively ages since I’ve had a new CD from John Kyffin, in fact it’s been a whole YEAR (which is a long time in Kyffin-years). His last release was the excellent James Bond tribute CD “I’ve Been Expecting You” which came around three weeks after his tribute to Matt Monro and Nat ‘King’ Cole, “When Matt Met Nat” which came around eight weeks after his latin organ CD “Amigo (Volume Uno)” and “Golden Girls” which were released simultaneously. So, with four releases in 2014 it’s not surprising he had a bit of a break.
This CD doesn’t have the set themes of those CDs, but it does have a track-list based on songs with “Eye” in their title (which is a little odd, but stay with it). As songs with ‘eyes’ are very popular (you could even say they have ‘legs’), this CD does cover a few decades, but it does seem to settle around the 1970s, popping off ‘pre’ and ‘post’ for the some tracks. Also, the theme does lend itself to love songs, which means that most of the tunes are very easy on the ear (another CD there, ‘ears’). The sound is a a little different to some of his previous releases as it features the sound of the Tyros 2 with only the odd glimpse of the Wersi Spectra an Helios. Perhaps the organs needed a chance to cool down a bit from all their 2014 output.
It’s worth pointing out to the people who may think as this is a Tyros CD, it contains a lot of pre-programmed backings and rhythms. Well it doesn’t and virtually all of the backings, counter melodies, harp glissandos, drum fills, bass-lines etc., are all meticulously and lovingly played by John.
We start off with Kim Carnes’s “Bette Davies Eyes” with it’s breathy sax, brass and organ leads and guitar/synth riffs. Back to the 1960s next and the organ-standard, “Spanish Eyes” with a James Last style arrangement with mandolins and brass section. Crystal Gayle’s pretty “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” next with cool piano backing with flute and very realistic jazz guitar and harmonica leads. A nice jazz piano solo on here too (any more laid-back and John would have fallen off the stool).
Dr Hook’s “Sexy Eyes” next and an Tyros organ, sax, pretty bells and a hint of Wersi. You can all have a cry now with Art Garfunkel’s, “Bright Eyes” with atmospheric synth leads (and of course the essential oboe). An impressive fretless bass-line on this one too and the Wersi’s appear to highlight the two key-changes. Frankie Valli’s The Four Season’s next with, “My Eyes Adored You” with organ and fabulous sax leads. Bobby Vee’s “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” follows with brass and guitar leads and pizzicato string backings. We also have a bit of the Wersi sound on this one.
One of the earliest songs on the CD next, “Green Eyes”, which I think dates back to the 1940s. This one moves from harp to trombone to a Wersi lead. You get a chance to dig out your flares next with “The Black Eyed Boys” by the 1970s group Paper Lace. This one is a rather rare appearance on a keyboard CD (and by rare, I of course, mean ONLY). Onto the following decade now and Elton John’s lovely “Blue Eyes” with a spaced-out guitar lead, leading into echoey organ and synthy panpipes.
Now we have a true organ classic with the theme to the 1970s TV show Van der Valk, “Eye Level”. This one sounds pretty close to the original as far as I can remember, with all the brass, harps glissandos and timpani drums. I didn’t think I’d heard of the next track, but then realised I had, it’s Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes” which chugs along with a great rhythm and bass-line. Some nice use of strings and vocal samples too (with Wersi and electric guitar leads).
Another Art Garfunkel track next and an ethereal version of “I Only Have Eyes For You”, although a much earlier song written in the 1930s and made popular by The Flamingos in the late 1950s. This one has sampled voices and echoes with orchestral strings and Wersi poking through. A 1980s ballad now with George Benson’s “In Your Eyes” with a muted-trumpet lead (a little reminiscent of Herb Alpert) not to mention a jazz guitar and a little Wersi sound mixed in. A return to The Four Seasons next and a lesser known track “My Mothers Eyes”. The fabulous track, “Wide Eyed and Legless” by Andy Fairweather Low next with some very nice electric piano and string backing.
As I said, this CD has a slightly different style to many of John’s CDs with less of the Wersi and more of the Tyros 2, but it still has a great selection of tunes, based around the rather loose theme. If you’ve been waiting for a CD full of songs with ‘Eye’ in the title, then I think this is exactly what you’ve been ‘looking for’, with a ‘cornea-copia’ of great songs.
Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.