Decca DL 75137, USA, 1969
The Terence of this album is Canadian 60s pop icon Terry Black from British Columbia. Black had his first hit in 1965, at the age of 15, with his second A-side "Unless You Care" (Arc 1074) which charted at #2 in Canada and #99 in the USA. This was quickly followed by several other charting singles and a "Best Male Vocalist" award in the same year. A brief move to the US followed where this album was conceived, though recorded in both New York and Toronto. An Eye For An Ear generally does not appear in Terry Black discographies and it is believed that this album is a "studio project" rather than an outright release by the artist.
While certainly not bad, this is also not a great album to my ears. Too much pop balladry, orchestration and blasts of brass. Black's deep, soulful vocals remind me of other late 60s psych-crooners like Damon and Beauregarde and quite frankly lack the depth or nuance to keep me inspired. That said, this is still an album of its time with decent fuzz guitar licks and hip organ flourishes to be heard throughout. The standout track for fans of psych is the side two opener "Fool Amid The Traffic" featuring a hypnotic organ and drum backing to a healthy spread of wah-wahed and fuzzy guitar. This track would be a great addition to any psych compilation. For fans of the weird and experimental the non-song "The Emperor" offers sound effects, wordless female vocals and Terry Black's spoken retelling of the emperor's new clothes tale.
I don't believe there was a Canadian pressing, this American issue covering both markets. There was, however, a 1969 German pressing on MCA (MAPS 1884) with different cover art. The Museum of Canadian Music website values originals at $45.00, though I consider this to be high. Indeed, friends in England have told me that over the last decade or so An Eye For An Ear has been a common charity shop find at a few quid (this may refer to the German press).
Side 1 - 1. An Eye For An Ear 2. Rap 3. Second City Song 4. Power 5. Exiles
Side 2 - 1. Fool Amid The Traffic 2. Priscilla 3. Lighting Frederick's Fire 4. The Emperor 5. Does It Feel Better Now?
Listen to "Fool Amid The Traffic" here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpTWWO6gMdg