Showing posts with label After Tea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label After Tea. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 63: No Sleep Til'burg (Roadburn Special)

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This and the next volume, 64, makes a two-part special. 64 is here. I will leave it to the organiser of Roadburn festival in Tilburg, Holland, to explain some more :-

"We're huge supporters of Rich Stonerdoom's The Day After The Sabbath blog. It's the main source in our quest for obscure heavy 60s and 70s rock. It’s Rich’s aim to reveal the secret world of bands that were inspired by the early psychedelic, doom and hard rock greats but were too short-lived, un-commercial or just plain unlucky to gain the recognition that they probably deserved at the time. Now, Rich has dedicated some of his compilations to Roadburn; these two special volumes include all the classic 70s bands that have played the festival so far, along with tracks from a host of Dutch rock obscurities, which we wholeheartedly endorse!" - Roadburn festival 2012.

Delft's After Tea was founded in 1967 by Hans van Eyck and Polle Eduard, both ex-members of the Tee Set. Before taking a decidedly heavier approach on their third album (originally self-titled but named 'Joint House Blues' on a later German print) which I used here, the group produced a few Dutch hits like "Not Just A Flower In Your Hair". They split in 1971, after which Polle Eduard and (later member) Uli Grün were joined by guitarist Frank van der Kloot and drummer Shel Schellekens, calling themselves Drama. The Hague's Q65 were a rough and ready garage rock band, notorious for their drug and alcohol intake. They had a brief dalliance with success on the back of some early singles, one of which was promoted by the band's voyage to England in a rubber boat. This proved to be a successful stunt, even though half of them got sea-sick and spent more time on the support craft which was later revealed to have been towing them. They too became heavier in later incarnations and 'Injection' / 'Love Is Such a Good Thing' are from their third album, in 1970.

Track 3 is our first from a band that has played at Roadburn 2009. They should be reasonably well-known to you as one of the original and influential 'krautrock' bands. Amon Düül II emerged from the radical West German commune scene of the late sixties and feature heavily in this great BBC Krautrock ducumentary. There is not much info on Cinderella, except for what I have translated from the cover scans of a 1970s Dutch LP called "Fantasio Daze (Dutch Psychedelic Singles 1968-1971)". There were three girls and a guy; Betty Raatgever (guitar, vox) Renee Sampignon (bass) Bernardine de Jong (keys) and Nico van Es (drums). The track here is a dreamy piece of psychedelic folk, maybe influenced by Fairport Convention, and reportedly they were backed for this single by members of a favourite obscure Dutch band of mine, Blue Planet.

Eindhoven's Mr. Albert Show created three albums and they all show diversity beyond reproach. They managed to successfully turn their hand to what ever sound they wished and my chosen track here is uncharacteristically doomy and down-beat, luckily for us, but it still has their hints of unique strangeness. The next track, from Mushroom, has been a recent recommendation from my Dutch cohort in obscurity, Marc Joseph (of  Vitamin X), and a very intriguing one, I absolutely love the track and have been looking for more information. Our best lead so far is that one stated member, Jacob 'Cocky' Akkerman, is the late brother of Focus guitarist Jan Akkerman. It is also mentioned that Jacob played in an early band of Jan's, 'Johnny & His Cellar Rockers', and drummed on his 1968 solo LP. Pantherman is a track I was saving for a forthcoming glam novelty comp, but I cannot resist using it here as a piece of big fun that fairly rocks with a great hammond and guitar groove. There's not much information to share other than the artist's name was Frank Klunhaar. I must thank Robin of Purepop blog and his tireless search for original 45s, for bringing this one to more attention. [EDIT: a new website entry has appeared: "The recording of the first Pantherman single took place at the well known GTB studio in the Hague. I was assisted by Frans Meijer on drums, a former colleague from the Jimmy Bellmartin Band and Polle Eduard on bass, a well known rock musician and colleague of producer Shell Schellekens in several bands. The rest of the instruments I did myself, as well as all the vocals.

When the record was released on Polydor in Holland, the first reactions were rather mixed: one part of the "serious" Dutch media incrowd found the record weird and somewhat offensive -the lyrics and vocals were too controversial for them-, another smaller part was excited and thrilled.

Three days after the release I was invited to do a -what was to become- unique TV performance on the progressive show 'Nederpopzien' and because my management insisted on a specially developed solo choreography by a professional ballet dancer instead of performing with a rock band, I appeared alone on a small stage in the studio and did my thing just accompanied by some palm trees that were later that year completely demolished by Iggy Pop in a legendary TV appearance.

As a result of all this, the single was also released in Belgium on Polydor and in Germany on Metronome Records and entered the bubbling under charts. France followed later. 

Unfortunately the management company suddenly stopped their activities just after the release and I was on my own again.

Glamrock consisted -in the perception of most pro's in the Dutch and continental European music business and the general public- of the single successes by the mainstream glam acts in the top 40 and based on that Polydor persuaded me to become more commercial instead of developing the concept into a more album oriented direction. With my current knowledge of the music industry I consider this as a lack of A&R vision that unfortunately -in retrospective- severely damaged the potential of the original idea. 

Because I had no magagement and also had the ambition to produce my own records, I started to make somewhat more commercial demos at the Relight Studio in Hilvarenbeek, an 8-track studio with a very specific sound that was at that time not yet into rock music.

In co-operation with owner/engineer Dick van Velden I recorded the follow up single Panther Walk, for which I tried -with a twist- to integrate the funky grooves of the JB's into the basic rock & roll and jungle drums feel of Bo Diddley and during these recording sessions I did play all the instruments. Relight would a little later become a world famous recording studio where Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Boomtown Rats, Robert Fripp, Black Sabbath and many others came to record their albums and I became staff producer there in 1976.

In this period of the 70's you saw a glam artist like David Bowie recording in the Philly studios of Gamble and Huff for his album Young Americans and blue eyed soul artists Hall & Oates and Edgar Winter wear makeup on their record sleeves and looking very "Glam". Where by the way did P-funkateer George Clinton get his ideas for the mothership connection looks and wardrobe? The combination of glam and funk was not very common in those days and dance oriented music in general was often bashed by the more 'serious' pop and rock artists and the rock press. 

The b-side "20th Century Man" reflects the kind of surrealistic fantasy that I described above within a cinematic scenery in a cartoon-like setting.

Despite of the hilariously written 'dance course' by Drs.P -a well known Dutch cabaret artist and lyricist- that was published in several magazines and newpapers, the single was more or less ignored by radio and TV.

Disappointed by the lack of result so far, Polydor suggested to form a band and start touring upon the release of the third single "One Man Band", which title now seems rather contradictionary. At that moment I also decided to put down the Pantherman mask because the concept had not proven very successful.

I rehearsed two or three times with a couple of local musicians that I knew and they also appear on the sleeve of the record, such as the earlier mentioned Frans Meijer on drums, Floris Tuk on guitar (the nice backwards solo on the A-side is his) and bass player Jan Hendriks, later guitar player of one the most famous Duch bands ever called Doe Maar. Except for the guitar solo they didn't actually play on the record.

This single was even more ignored than the others and instead of further persuing a career as an artist, I decided to become a full time record producer with the later to become world famous Relight Studios in Hilvarenbeek."

Incredible Hog are the next Roadburn-appearance band, they played last year in 2011. They should be fairly well-known by now to most people who know my blog. I have seen them play a few times since they re-formed last year (not for the last time I hope) to celebrate Rise Above's re-issue of their only album "Volume 1". They can still rock the house down and I got some film when I saw them in London. There is an interview with band leader/guitarist Gordon Kenney here at Psychedelic Baby webzine. The John Bassman Group started life as a school band in Landgraaf, a municipality in south-eastern Limburg and also where one of Holland's biggest rock fests resides, Pinkpop. Their single album 'filthy sky' was a curious affair, a mix of country-tinged blues tracks, and west coast style psych tracks, these being the ones which frequently hit the mark with awesome fuzzy wah guitar and charismatic vox from Diana Leemhuis. John Theunissen and the 'bassman' Theo Wetzeis later joined Pussycat, who had a novelty hit with "Mississippi" in 1975.

On to track 10 with the next Roadburn band Groundhogs, who appeared at the fest in 2008. They probably don't need too much introduction so I will use these interesting quotes from guitarist Tony McPhee regarding the name of the 1970 album that 'Eccentric Man' is taken from. McPhee recalled the circumstances behind the album with the attention-grabbing title, which ran against fashionable philosophy at the time. McPhee refuses to take the entire credit for this revolutionary theory, admitting: "Well, it was forced on me a bit". Roy Fisher [Groundhogs manager] suggested that McPhee should think of something controversial for the new LP. "John Lennon had just made his famous quote about The Beatles being more popular than Christ, and everyone was up in arms. So Roy said 'Let's marry it up with the bomb. How about 'Thank Christ For The Bomb?'.  So I went home and I had to write these lyrics, and my initial thoughts were that in the First World War, if you were injured you were sent home. And that was my first idea - a soldier is blown up and his toes are blown off so he goes home again. No, that's not enough. So I thought, well, let's make it the atomic bomb, really piss people off."

Rabbit Food, from The Hague, made a single in 1970 with a nice flowing groove, a spritely bass line and sparse effective horns. Alas I can find no mention of them at all save the 45's cover image on a few web sites.

Next up; Apartment 1, who recorded a couple of albums. The first was under their original moniker 'Serpentine', named after a lake in London's Hyde Park. That had a commercial pop sound and most of the members were active session musicians at the time who contributed to acts including OPMC, California License, Big Boy & The Bouncers, The Free Soul, The Family Dog and singer Christine Holmes. For album no2, 'Open House', they turned up the riffs and excellent guitar skills of Peter van der Sande. He later moved on to bass in Focus, and then Solution.

The late pianist Rob Hoeke had an interesting career, not much of it touching on the heavy side that I usually use but it did now and again. Primarily a boogie woogie and blues player, he began in 1957 with his brother Paul in the Rob Hoeke Boogie Woogie Quartet. After an opportunity to sit in on piano with The Rolling Stones in Sweden, R&B became his focus and he formed The Rob Hoeke R&B Group, and other such permutations within his circle of collaborators. The album used here, 'Celsius 232.8', included a few fine psych moments, and some of his singles rocked hard. He had a spot of bad luck in 1974 and lost a couple of fingers on an engine fan while fixing his car, but in 1975 he was back with an album humourously entitled 'Fingerprints'.

So this volume comes to an end with a band that played Roadburn 2007; Blue Cheer. I have chosen a song that was first brought to my attention by hearing Ufomammut's astounding cover on their 1999 'Satan' EP, which I used back on vol38. This brings us nicely full-circle as Ufomammut are a contemporary Roadburn live favourite. Not much needs to be said about these formative San Franciscans I’m sure, as they are frequently referenced amongst the inventors of heavy metal. There are a few interesting points to be brought up about this track though. It's from their lesser-mentioned period after 1968's Outsideinside. The power trio became a four-piece with the addition of 2nd guitarist Randy Holden (See vol2 & vol57). Renowned for his guitar volume and distortion experiments, the resulting album "New! Improved! Blue Cheer" actually came out sounding much cleaner and more restrained compared to previous efforts, this spelt a new chapter for the band and the end of their proto-metal notoriety. My opinion is that the band considered themselves to be developing as musicians, and as their proficiency increased they felt less urge to hide under thick fuzz and distortion. 'Peace of Mind' is an other-worldly track that creates an ambience of it's own just from the sheer intention of the song writing, without having to rely too heavily on effects or other bells and whistles.

Track List:

01. After Tea - You've Got to Move Me (1970)
       from album 'joint house blues'
02. Q65 - Injection / Love Is Such a Good Thing (1970)
       from album 'afghanistan'    
03. Amon Düül II - Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight (1971)
       from album 'tanz der lemminge'
04. Cinderella - From Town to Town (1971)
05. Mr. Albert Show - Electronic Baby (1971)
       from album 'warm motor'
06. Mushroom - Crying For You (1970)
07. Pantherman - Pantherman (1974)
08. Incredible Hog - Tadpole (1973)
       from album 'volume 1'
09. John Bassman Group - Two Rings (1970)
       from album 'filthy sky'
10. Groundhogs - Eccentric Man (1970)
       from album 'thank christ for the bomb'
11. Rabbit Food - My Mind's Phantasy (1970)
12. Apartment 1 - Like A Queen (1970)
       from album 'open house'
13. The Rob Hoeke R&B Group - The Rain Still Falling From Above (1968)
       from album 'celcius 232.8'
14. Blue Cheer - Peace of Mind (1969)
       from album 'new! improved!'

Thanks for listening! Rich


Alex Gitlin's Nederpop Encyclopedia | Dutch Progessive Rock
Nederbeat | Dutch Sixties Beatgroups | Gooisch Pop Archief

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