It was as if 1967’s Summer of Love was still alive and well in a train rolling through the Canadian Rockies in the early 1970s. It’s where then 22-year-old Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Duane O’Kane heard a visiting British guitarist named Colin Brown strumming The Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” for those onboard, and guitar in hand, joined in on the fun to everyone’s delight. Feeling the energy, the pair were in sync and in tune and plans were hatched for O’Kane and his fellow Canadian singing partner and writer Lorraine Pilling to join Brown across the Atlantic Ocean, in London, England, to pursue their dreams of a career in the music business. Settling down in the Notting Hill (Portobello Road) district of west London, the trio was joined by instrumentalist José Gross and under the name Catseye began a month’s worth of dedicated practice with a series of songs written by O’Kane and Pilling. The name Catseye was inspired by the polished gemstone which acts to stimulate intuition and to enhance awareness. Through a connection of Brown’s, O’Kane set up a recording session with an ex-BBC employee who had an old Pye Records studio board direct to a Revox 2 track reel to reel machine, where they could record live to tape and create a demo album to shop around. 99 copies were manufactured by C.H. Rumble with plain sleeves. It was enough for O’Kane to bring copies around to A&R reps and record labels. Brown has sent a copy to the BBC, which found an immediate fan in none other than radio legend John Peel, who called the Catseye flat’s shared telephone to everyone’s shock and excitement. This led to a connection with The Rocket Record Company, co-owned by Elton John, and their A&R/record plugger Clive Banks, but amidst the thick clouds of marijuana smoke and other musically divergent interests, the group simply couldn’t keep it together under the pressure. Pilling was the first to leave, homesick for Canada, and ready to move forward. O’Kane followed not far behind, and soldiered on with other musical projects. Catseye eventually became a distant, yet cherished memory until 2014 when Voluntary In Nature divined one of the original 99 vinyl records in a rural Alberta thrift store and set out to find more about this mysterious album. From London town to the Canadian Prairies, oh, how the music travels. With limited credits, no printed jacket, and a certified off-the-grid status on the world wide web, it took many years to find the elusive writers and their whereabouts, listed only as “O’Kane” and "Pilling." Cosmically or comically perhaps, we all lived in the Vancouver, BC, area at the time. Needless to say, our minds were blown on a great many levels, but enough story, the music is finally ready for its audience! Please enjoy this intimate, progressive, and lysergic psychedelic masterpiece.
All songs written by Duane O'Kane except
"Am I The One" written by Lorraine Pilling
Recorded in London, England, UK in 1973
Mastered by Suite Sound Labs (Vancouver)