Forgotten Treasures

Forgotten Treasure : Byrne & Barnes “An Eye For An Eye” (1981)

Soul & Funk

Over the last couple of years, Pascal Rioux at Favorite Recordings has reissued some essential long lost AOR/modern soul gems. From ‘‘A’’ Train to Greg Yoder, the quality never ceases to amaze. Just in time for summer, the West Coast cult classic “An Eye For An Eye” by duo Byrne & Barnes is early 80’s sophisticated pop at its best.

For many AOR addicts, this record is considered a blue-eyed soul masterpiece (originally released on Japanese label Climax and re-released in 2001 by Dreamville Records). Produced at Muscle Shoals (Alabama), Robert Byrne was joined by multi-instrumentalist Brendan Barnes after working with several artists in the Los Angeles area during the late 70’s. This particular selection of songs is as smooth as it gets. Melody, harmonies and arrangements are truly outstanding, with a sense of writing that brings out details as well as an heartfelt emotional feel. After earing the wonderful « Love You Out Of Your Mind » on the second volume of the AOR Global Sounds compilation series, you knew this was going to be special.

Closer to Michael McDonald than Steely Dan in terms of songwriting, the production here is especially eloquent. The fully restored and remastered sound quality gives this one the proper reissue treatment. There’s even a sense of funk on tracks like « Crack A Whip » or « Keep On Running ». Chorus and vocal hooks also make this a prime example of soft rock done with taste. Even if they never recorded any other music together, the duo would later produce artists such as Patti Austin, Brian McKnight and even Earth Wind & Fire. An overall superb piece of work, highly recommended.

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David Cantin

David Cantin

Record enthusiast, writer, selector and DJ behind the Soirées Textures nights (focusing on the disco boogie, modern soul mood) in his hometown of Quebec city.