Personnel: Jack O'Hara (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, percussion); Austin DeLone (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, electric piano, organ, keyboards); Brien Hopkins (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, organ).
Photographer: Howard Brainen.
Pioneers are rarely accorded the respect they deserve and such is the case with Eggs Over Easy, the London-based country-rock band that wound up kick-starting the pub rock phenomenon of the early '70s. Pub rock eventually paved the way for punk, but only after the hard, nasty R&B outfit Dr. Feelgood worked the same clubs Nick Lowe's band Brinsley Schwarz popularized. The Brinsleys never would've found their voice if it weren't for Eggs Over Easy, the easy-rolling combo fronted by American expatriates Jack O'Hara and Austin DeLone. Besotted by the Band, the two racked up an extensive repertoire -- according to Lowe, they knew as many as 100 covers, not to mention a deep reservoir of originals -- and developed a sound that played upon the quivering sensitivity of Richard Manuel and boogie of Levon Helm, not to mention a bit of the Americana mythologizing of Robbie Robertson. Mostly though, Eggs Over Easy just had a mellow good time, something showcased on their lone album, 1972's Good 'n' Cheap. Co-produced by Link Wray, Good 'n' Cheap certainly does rock -- "The Factory," a clear blueprint for Lowe's rockers, has grit, beer, and cheer in its rhythms -- but there's just as much laid-back country-rock here, although their softer numbers are sharply drawn and not nearly as hazy as the CSNY tributes that riddle the first Brinsley album. Good 'n' Cheap provides the template for pub rock but Eggs Over Easy were a bit too early and poorly managed to benefit from the sensation. They came together a decade later to record Fear of Frying, a slightly haphazard but charming record that stayed true to their old-time rock & roll but spiked it with a hint of new wave that felt about five years too old upon its 1982 release. When combined with Good 'n' Cheap, along with other rarities -- including the dynamite full-tilt single "I'm Gonna Put a Bar in the Back of My Car (& Drive Myself to Drink)" -- on Yep Roc's comprehensive, long-awaited, and necessary anthology Good 'n' Cheap: The Eggs Over Easy Story, Fear of Frying helps shift the story for Eggs Over Easy, turning them from a rightly regarded footnote into a band that should be celebrated as one of the finest straight-ahead rock & roll outfits of the '70s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine