Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kenny Rogers - Eyes That See in the Dark

This week (August 31st) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Eyes That See in the Dark, the twelfth solo studio album for American country singer Kenny Rogers. This multi-Platinum selling album went to number 6 on the US Billboard 200 Album chart, number 5 in Canada, number 2 in New Zealand, and number 1 on the US Billboard Country chart.

The entire album was written and produced by Barry Gibb with assists by his brothers Robin and Maurice on the songwriting, and Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson on production. The Bee Gees also sang backing vocals and played guitar and keyboards on a number of tracks.

Side one begins with "This Woman". As the second single, it went to number 86 in Australia, number 47 in Canada, number 23 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 2 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, and number 1 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart. The lyrics tell of a man who is finally feeling love again after so long.

The tender love ballad "You and I" is up next.

"Buried Treasure", the second single's B-side, charted at number 3 on the US Country chart and number 2 on the Canadian Country chart. I am a big fan of songs that tell a compelling story in four minutes or so. The picture painted in this one tells a dark tale full of love, betrayal, deception and murder. The Gatlin Brothers provide backing vocals on this one.

Next up is "Islands in the Stream", the smash hit duet of Rogers and Dolly Parton. This single went to number 49 in Italy, number 25 in Germany, number 28 in Spain, number 7 in the UK, number 4 in Belgium and the Netherlands, number 3 in Sweden, and number 2 in Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland. It reached number 1 in Australia, Canada (on the pop, country and adult contemporary charts) and the US (on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the country and adult contemporary charts). I have always liked how their voices harmonize on this song about two lonely people who have found love together.

The mid-tempo pop tune "Living With You" closes off the first half.

Side two opens with the bouncing backwoods beat of "Evening Star". As the third single, it went to number 14 on the Canadian Country chart and number 11 on the US Country chart in 1984. The Gatlin Brothers also provided backing vocals here.

The lush ballad "Hold Me" features a string arrangement by Jimmie Haskell, conducted by Sid Sharp.

The tempo picks back up with "Midsummer Nights", the B-side to the third single.

"I Will Always Love You" (not to be confused with the Dolly Parton song of the same name that Rogers covered in the late 80’s) opens with a simple acoustic guitar before going into a more powerful arrangement.

Closing things out is the title track "Eyes That See in the Dark". The song charted at number 79 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 61 in the UK, number 30 on the US Billboard Country chart, and number 4 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

While I knew the Bee Gees had worked their musical magic with “Islands in the Stream”, I had no idea they worked with Kenny Rogers on the entire Eyes That See in the Dark album. As soon as I found that in my research, I got very excited to do this review. The combination of their genre-spanning songwriting with Rogers’ ability to deliver solid vocals is a winning one in my book. From country to pop, this one has it all.

Unfortunately, the album is very much out of print. Vinyl copies are available for a variety of prices on eBay and the only CD release was back in 1983. It isn’t available for digital download at this time; hopefully that will be rectified in the future.

In 2006, Barry Gibb released via iTunes his demos for this album. I’m thinking of looking into those.

Here are a few more of my Kenny Rogers album reviews:

- For 1982's Love Will Turn You Around, click here.

- For We've Got Tonight from earlier in 1983, click here.


HERC said...

Usually, when albumss are hard to find, you tell us where you found them - but not this time?

Do you have the CD?

Martin Maenza said...

No, no CD here. I listened to all of this thanks to videos on YouTube.