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The Eyes of Dawn

The Eyes of Dawn - Time to Be Going / Ignorance and Hardship - 7

Time to Be Going / Ignorance and Hardship - 7"
Sir John A - 1967

Michael Panontin
Formed in Ottawa in 1966, the five-piece Eyes of Dawn won a Big 9 battle of the bands contest across the river in Hull, Quebec, leading to a six-month stint as the house band at the La Petite Souris coffee house. The regular sell-out crowds grabbed the ear of DJ John Pozer, who signed them up to his short-lived but prolific Sir John A label. With labelmate Don Norman arranging and Ron Greene producing, the band were off to Montreal to record what would be the indie imprint's fourth release.

The Eyes of Dawn's debut single, a cover of the Fortunes' 'Time to Be Going', which came backed with their own 'Ignorance and Hardship', hit the shops in January 1967 and allegedly climbed the charts to the #12 spot locally by April 1st. The Fortunes' track is the better of the two here, pairing some Liverpudlian guitar licks with the band's amateurish, though charming, harmonies. Over on the backside the rather lame 'Ignorance and Hardship' unfortunately finds the lads a little anemic in the songwriting department. With purportedly only 300 copies stamped, this will be a tough one to track down, but amazingly it can still be had for under $200. What's more, by March of that year, the guys had found fortunes of their own, getting themselves on the bill at the infamous Eric Burdon and the Animals gig at the Ottawa Coliseum, where Burdon et al refused to perform until they were paid, sparking a riot that would put the kibosh on any future rock and roll at that venue. A second single in December - this one wisely stuck to covers - also met with some success, but by 1968 the Eyes of Dawn were ready for the history books.

(All you garage/pop obsessives - admit it, that's why you're here, isn't it - can find these two tracks on the 1996 CD, Ottawa Rocks - The Sir John A Years on Bullseye.)

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