One of my favorite Alan Parsons Project albums, Eve is a bit of a “dark horse” for most fans. Indeed, it really is an oddball in the Project canon: the only album (apart from Freudiana, which some fans refuse to count as a Project album) with female lead vocals, and the odd one out of the revolving future/past themes of the Project’s 1970s output. And yet, in breaking with all of the above traditions, Eve showed the Project’s seemingly limitless range, and I was disappointed that the group really didn’t get this adventurous again.
Remastered until they’re crisp and tasty, the original album tracks have never sounded better – really. “Damned If I Do” is one of my all-time favorite Project singles, and it’s fair to say that I’ve listened to it more than the average bear…and even so, I picked out stuff from the remaster that I’d never heard before, nearly 30 years later.
The bonus tracks start off with something that, for longtime Project fans, has to be close to the Holy Grail: a track from the legendary unreleased album The Sicilian Defence. I apparently had Sicilian misplaced in time; I thought it was recorded in the 1980s, not between Eve and Turn Of A Friendly Card. (Sicilian Defense was an all-instrumental album concocted and delivered by Parsons and Eric Woolfson with the intention of fulfilling and getting out from under their Arista Records contract, and while it did indeed displease the label – as intended – it did result in a contract renegotiation that, fortunately for Arista, kept the Project there for a few more albums which would be the group’s biggest.) “Elsie’s Theme” is the sole Sicilian track to see the light of day on any of the remastered CDs, and it’s a quiet solo piano piece – perhaps not what you were expecting, but almost certainly not what Arista was expecting either.
Following that are demos and intermediate, work-in-progress mixes of such tracks as “Secret Garden”, “Damned If I Do” and “Lucifer”, which – as with most of the Project bonus tracks – are interesting if you’re a diehard fan and/or fascinated with the recording/production process, but whether or not these tracks will hold any real appeal beyond that crowd is the real question. Unlike most of the other Project remasters, Eve at least gives us some “new” music in “Elsie’s Theme”, but a piano instrumental is probably not what Project fans envisioned when thinking of lost treasure bonus tracks.
Eve is a hard sell, even for the group’s biggest fans, and it may well be that those same fans may drool over the Sicilian Defence track and then shrug as the sum total of the bonus tracks. Given that Parsons himself holds The Sicilian Defence in much the same regard as George Lucas holds the Star Wars Holiday Special, it’s amazing that we got to hear even one track (apparently under considerable pressure from the label, if the liner notes are to be believed), but ultimately the album remains very strong on its own merits. If you already liked Eve (surely I’m not alone there), the remaster is worth the price of admission; if you didn’t, the bonus material is unlikely to sway you.
- Lucifer (5:08)
- You Lie Down With Dogs (3:48)
- I’d Rather Be A Man (3:53)
- You Won’t Be There (3:43)
- Winding Me Up (3:55)
- Damned If I Do (4:52)
- Don’t Hold Back (3:37)
- Secret Garden (4:43)
- If I Could Change Your Mind (5:59)
- Elsie’s Theme From The Sicilian Defence (The Project That Never Was) (3:00)
- Lucifer (demo) (2:48)
- Secret Garden (rough mix) (4:42)
- Damned If I Do (rough mix) (4:46)
- Don’t Hold Back (vocal rehearsal rough mix) (3:43)
- Lucifer (early rough mix) (4:17)
- If I Could Change Your Mind (rough mix) (5:46)
Released by: Sony / Arista
Release date: 1979 (remastered version released in 2008)
Total running time: 68:40