Category Archives: The Italian Job/Shotgun Eyes

DOC THOMAS GROUP / THE SILENCE The Italian Job/Shotgun Eyes


Doc who? – you may well ask. From little acorns great oaks grow – as do great rock groups. The two little known 60s outfits featured on this new CD brought together the players that would audition for Island records in May 1969. One month later they recorded their first album under their new name Mott The Hoople… what we have here is one of the finest R&B albums heard in recent years.

Mike Neal, Beat Goes On magazine

Most of the;material is blue-eyed soul as seen through the eyes of British beat, though guitarist Mick Ralphs takes a handful of tracks into a different realm. “Steal Your Heart Away”, for example, isn’t that far removed from an early Jimi Hendrix Experience slow blues, while he gives “Ya-Ya’s”-era Keith Richards a run for his;money on “My Babe”. It’s about as far away from Memphis ever was to Mott The;Hoople but “The Italian Job” (packaged;here with “Shotgun Eyes”, the 1990 reunion album by the Silence) will appeal to at least as many mid-60s enthusiasts as it will endear itself to dark-shades-sporting Mott diehards.

Mark Paytress, Record Collector

This is a;superb package featuring an in depth CD booklet with many rare photographs. Great sound quality and well put together, this CD continues Angel Air’s remit to revive and release often forgotten or ignored works from yesteryear.

Terry Craven, Classic Rock Society

Selling point for this CD is that these two groups were ancestors of Mott The Hoople and (thanks to one member) Bad Company…

If the prospect of an unknown mid-60s beat group’s Italian-recorded demo (“live” in the studio, no overdubs) leaves you feeling distinctly underwhelmed, this CD would (I think) pleasantly surprise you. The quality of the Doc Thomas set is better than you would expect: a creditable chunk of moody R & B, very 1966, with echoes of the Spencer Davis Group…

They seem like the kind of band Ocean Colour Scene wish they could have been, right down to the stripey shirts…The recording quality is excellent, with a good live ambience…and the performances are relaxed and confident the touches of crudity are charming and typical of the period, the unspoilt rock Eden B.P. (before Pepper). “Fresh” is the word…

The (new) Silence’s half of this CD presents another surprise. Where you might expect some tired old hippies (sorry, Mods!) going;through the motions, shored up by contemporary techno gadgets, this lot come on as if the last 33 years never existed. They deliver an energetic and authentic recreation of the ’64/5 beat group sound, the style immediately preceding Doc Thomas’s (as, in fact, this line-up did originally). The surprise is that this comes across not as pathetic, but as great fun they really have managed;to revive the spirit, not just the formula. There’s even a token cheesy instrumental, Gunshot, and a maudlin Merseybeat ballad, I Think Of You. Otherwise, it’s that bouncy, wizzed-up British interpretation of 50s R&B familiar from the early Stones and Pretty Things, amongst others. Even on the blues covers (Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson), they keep the grins on their faces, resisting the dour, ersatz seriousness that most blues revivalists these days regard as obligatory. The production too (by “the three trousers”, it says here) hits a perfect balance between 60s simplicity and 90s clarity.

It sounds as if, with Shotgun Eyes, Watts, Griffin, Brooke, Jeffery and Fisher have made the album they didn’t quite manage to in 1965. All credit to them for proving, against the odds, that this kind of stuff is still the most fun you can have with electric guitars, a drum kit and a harmonica…

Nostalgia, they say, is not what it was. With this CD, though, it very nearly is.

Mr.Nasty’s CD Reviews, Feedback

The packaging includes a picture disc, a clear jewel case, and a 20-page booklet. The latter is a fan’s dream, containing numerous rare photos, a complete history of the band, and endnotes from all the band members…

Just A Buzz

A two for one reissue from Angel Air, all with connections to Mott The Hoople…Sound quality and packaging is of course up to Angel Air’s usual standard.

James Turner, Wondrous Stories (March 2002)

The sleeve shot of a Mod-clobbered and barneted five-piece reveals the Doc Thomas Group’s prime influences…The Silence’s 1990 reunion consisted of 14 tracks cut, no-frills fashion, in Wales…things veer into Dr Feelgood/Inmates territory, with the likes of ‘Let It Rock’ and ‘Route 66′ getting the old-geezer, pub-rock knees-up treatment…

Andy Neill Record Collector (April 2002)

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