Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Girl With The Wandering Eye

The Hitsville House Band - The Girl With The Wandering Eye

Today I rediscovered an album I bought in 1996 after hearing one track on the John Peel show. I can still hear Peel’s voice explaining how it was to be released on Humbug Records, who described themselves as “…the Vauxhall Conference Division of New Millennium Communications” of record labels. Sold on this snippet of information, I rushed down to my little local HMV only to find they didn’t have it. Who would have thought it? Once the special orders came in, I was chuffed. I finally owned a copy of ‘12 O’Clock Stereo’ by The Hitsville House Band.

The band features the talents of Wreckless Eric, the pub rock punker and former label mate of Elvis Costello, Ian Dury and Nick Lowe at Stiff. Frankly, the album is awful, and is a harsh reminder to me that with great expectations can often come great disappointments. However, that one song, track 3 on the album, the one song I heard on the Peel show that night, has always commanded a place in my affections. ‘The Girl With The Wandering Eye’ is a tale of forbidden lust with that near-perfect girl who would normally be out of reach but for one apparent flaw - her wandering eye.

“One eye checked that the coast was clear, while the other one fixed on me, and I was hooked, by a come-hither look, and a gaze that was, well beyond correction.”

The humorous lyrics from the perspective of the male singer inform us that the poor girl’s slight sight problem didn’t bother him for a while. But, when he hears of a possible cure, despite it being of no medical foundation, surely, he suggests, it’s worth a try? We’re left to assume that his suggestion didn’t go down too well as the singer is soon lamenting the fact that he is no longer in touch with the girl with the wandering eye. There must be a lesson for us all in here somewhere?

Wreckless Eric website
Only a few copies left of The Hitsville House Band album, available via mail-order here
Details of Wreckless Eric sessions for John Peel
Stiff Records entry at Wikipedia