Nazz, The - Open Our Eyes - The Anthology

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Sanctuary Records Group
Catalog Number: 84586
Format: CD
Total Time: 125:44:00

The Nazz was born in 1967 on the cusp of psychedelic rock. They were heavily influenced by popular British bands of the day. Open Our Eyes - The Anthology takes all three albums released by the band and compiles them into one collection (with one never before released song on CD-"Train Kept A-Rollin'"). Nazz, Nazz, Nazz and Nazz III is their recorded legacy.

This band was Todd Rundgren's brainchild, he wrote and arranged songs, molded their look and style, leaving no doubt that it was his band. This is part of the reason why they did not last that long, the other being that Rundgren had outgrown the confines of the group and needed to spread his musical wings in a solo career. Not to take anything away from the importance of Thom Mooney (drums), Carson Van Osten (bass) and Robert "Stewke" Antoni (vocals, keys), they were a big part of the bands sound and just as important in the overall scheme of things as the Runt was in formulating the sound of The Nazz. Todd's influence and songwriting was the cog in the wheel so to speak. I cannot understate the importance of Mr. Rundgren; he really was a musical genius and has proven over the years to be an equally adept and talented producer.

With 35 tracks and a fold out booklet with a history of the band, plenty of pictures of 45's, album covers and pictures of the band, this is a complete account of their recorded works. I remember years ago when I was around 14 or 15 years old, I went to visit my brother in his Boston apartment and he had a Nazz album, it was red vinyl, which I thought was cool, but I never listened to it. After hearing this music today, I can find an appreciation and understanding for what they were trying to accomplish. Even though they may have been influenced by Cream, The Beatles and The Who, they were looked upon here in the U.S. as being very original and different from your average run of the mill pop stars. I must agree with the consensus of the day, their sound was far ahead of their time. They had a melodic sensibility, yet were able to combine rock and psychedelic with a hint of the blues for good measure to come up with a unique sound that separated them from the crowd or anyone else that was attempting to do the same thing (albeit unsuccessfully).

The first album featured the classic radio staple titled "Hello It's Me." This was the first song Todd ever wrote and it had sentimental value to him so he subsequently re-recorded it on his first solo album and it became his signature song and a huge hit. The Nazz version paled in comparison. The second album, originally intended to be a double LP, never reached its fruition. There was enough material for it but the group was already fragmenting, Rundgren left, and what remained from that session became Nazz III. A note of interest was that James Lowe of The Electric Prunes was the producer of the second Nazz album. Lowe is busy again himself, on the road and recording with his '60s psych-rock band.

That is the short version of their story, you really have to sit down and listen to all of this great music to get the entire picture of how things developed. The liner notes are excellent and they give a good overview of the band's history and their rise and fall as a musical phenomena. After soaking up all the history and music that makes up this collection, I realized that this band's music was a precursor to progressive rock. If you listen to all the different influences and how it all jelled within a song, it is more than obvious where they would have ended up if they had continued to record. Rundgren would venture down that road with another band he created called Utopia, but that is another story. This 2-CD set is a fabulous document of a short lived but enormously successful and influential band.

Disc One: Loosen Up (1:30) / Open My Eyes (2:44) / Hello It's Me (3:59) / Crowded (2:21) / If That's the Way You Feel (4:49) / See What You Can Be (3:00) / When I Get My Plane (3:07) / Lemming Song (4:26) / Wildwood Blues (4:38) / Back of Your Mind (3:47) / She's Going Down (5:01) / Train Kept A-Rollin' (3:17) / Kiddie Boy (3:30) / Featherbedding Lover (3:01) / How Can You Call That Beautiful (3:42) / Kicks (3:50) / Magic Me (3:08) / Christopher Columbus (3:23) / Under the Ice (5:30)

Disc Two: Forget All About It (3:32) / Meridian Leeward (3:40) / Hang on Paul (2:51) / Rain Rider (3:57) / Not Wrong Long (2:28) / Letters Don't Count (3:27) / Only One Winner (3:07) / Gonna Cry Today (3:20) / A Beautiful Song (11:37) / Some People (3:43) / It's Not That Easy (2:40) / Resolution (2:45) / Plenty of Lovin' (3:47) / Old Time Lovemaking (2:28) / Take the Hand (2:19) / You Are My Window (6:00)

Todd Rundgren - guitar, string arrangements, horn arrangements, vocals
Robert 'Stewkey' Antoni - keyboards, organ, piano, vocals
Thom Mooney - drums
Carson Van Osten - bass, vocals

Nazz (1968)
Nazz Nazz (1969)
Nazz III (1970)
The Best Of Nazz (1983)
Nazz From Philadelphia (1997)
13th & Pine (1998)
Todd Sings (2002)
Open Our Eyes: The Anthology (2002)
Nazz vs. Toddzila (2002)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: March 24th 2003
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website:
Hits: 1143
Language: english


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