Boudewijn de Groot- Dubbel, twee

Getting close to wrapping up this week of Dutch records, with another “dubbelalbum” that I got for 6 Euro.  This thing just screamed Dutch music and for that reason alone I got it.  Not for the subtle reference to Guardians of the Galaxy.

Well,  it would not have been a trip to Amsterdam without some time spent at my favorite park in town and probably the world, Vondelpark.  I made three trips out there during my last stay, two months ago.  As stated in the last posts, the weather was pretty poor.  One day was covered with snow, one day was slightly rainy, and the third day was quite nice but the grass and lesser traveled paths were pretty muddy due to the earlier weather.  But still a good time had each day.  I sat at my favorite bench and listened to last months songs on my I-pod as well as walked all around the park.  Other than that, nothing radically new here.  The pictures I took probably look the same as last years.

I can also say the same for my second favorite park, Oosterpark.  I was there one day this trip and took the same pictures of the same statue of the boy on the goat.  When I went, the snow from a few days before was melting, sort of making a snowman graveyard if you will. Anyway, as always, I enjoyed my time in this park as well although really nothing new from last trip either.

During the last two trips, I have taken a liking to going to the zoo but perhaps I am just getting old.

The Doug Henning doppelganger on the cover of today’s post, Boudewijn de Groot (1944) is a Dutch singer/songwriter who like yesterday’s subject, was born in the Dutch East Indes. Unlike yesterday’s subject, de Groot was born in captivity in a Japanese camp.  His mother would die a year later.  He and his family returned to the Netherlands in 1946.  Starting his career as a protest singer, he had a significant amount of hits in the late 60’s.  He sung about nuclear war, Vietnam, and LBJ, which seems strange to me for a Dutch singer to sing about, in Dutch no doubt.

Oddly enough, his one of his biggest hits “Jimmy” came out after the release of this record. in 1973 (much like tomorrow;s subject).  He has some sporadic success in the years that followed and is still alive at the time of this writing.

As stated above, this record was released in 1971 and was a greatest hits compilation of his impressive work from the 60’s.  As stated at the time, he was regarded as a protest singer and some critics both positively and negatively, compared him to George Harrison (although I would say his early stuff is closer to Phil Ochs).  Anyway, these songs are pretty well put together.  It should be noted that none of the songs I posted are overtly political but after glancing at a few titles, I can see some evidence of some protest work.  I probably should have written more on the subject but I am in the middle of doing ten things while writing this post so I will just say that I really enjoyed this album.

For a sample, I was torn between about ten songs, but ultimately went with one of his bigger known tunes, “Picknick” which starts with that noted Harrison influence.  Next I went with “Ken ke dat land” (Do You Know That Country).  From there, I submit “Zonder vrienden kan ik niet” (You Can Not Do Without Friends).  Finally, I went with de Groot’s cover of the Kink’s “Well Respected Man”.

I did not think I would really like this album when I bought it.  I thought it would be typical 1970’s Euro-pop.  Instead, I was greatly impressed by this record.  Satisfactory.

Liesbeth List- Liesbeth’s Beste

Hey, more of the records I bought in Amsterdam last trip with this one, or two I should say.  A “Dubbelalbum”, I bought this for 5 Euro.  Seemed like a decent purchase.

I have been going to Amsterdam for the good part of 12 years now and there are not too many places close to town that I have not been or at least mistakenly wandered into.  So it was pretty cool that I went to two new places.  First, I took a walk around Westerpark, a huge park on the North West side of town.  I had been on the outskirts of it many times, by Willemsbrug road but stopped as it looked like a place a slightly drunk tourist should not wander into.  Well, this time I finally broke that invisible boundary and ventured forth.  It is a huge park and probably quite nice in the summer.  However, the day I went, it was covered with snow.  That was still pretty cool.  It reminded me of childhood winters spent wandering in Saskatoon.  Not a whole lot of signs in English so I am guessing this is a heavily local area.  There also were what looked like a couple of cool businesses/ restaurants/ cafes in the park which again would probably be open in better weather. I also ventured for the first time to North Amsterdam, which requires a ferry from behind Central Station.  I had heard a lot of great things about this area.  I also talked to a few folks who worked in town and lived in that area and they spoke highly of it.  It was a nice enough day when I went but alas, I went to early as most things up there were closed.  Oh well, perhaps next time.

Liesbeth List is a Dutch singer/actress/ TV personality born in 1941 in the Dutch East Indies.  In 1942, when the Japanese occupied the area, her father was sent to the coal mines as she and her mother were sent to a camp.  The life there was very hard and shortly after their release and reunion with her father, her mother committed suicide.  List and her father returned to Holland and her father remarried.  However, List and her step mother clashed repeatedly.  In 1948, during a trip to Vlieland, her step mother found a hotel owner who was looking to adopt a daughter. She was adopted by the couple and took their surname, List.

Intrigued by music, art and fashion, she moved to the big city, Amsterdam and bada bing bada boom, found her self on tv singing chansons. She started by collaborating with other singers and would eventually develop into a solo act.  She continued what looks like a pretty good run of success up into the late 1970’s with sporadic activity in the decades that followed.  She is still alive today and from what I can tell, still somewhat active although I could not translate her web page for some reason.

This album, a greatest hits compilation from 1973 is a collection of ballads and chansons marked by List’s beautiful vocal.  Pretty good stuff, most of it is solo performances but there are some duets such as “Pastorale” with Rames Shaffy, one of her early collaborators.  Most of the songs are in Dutch I believe but there are a few in English and French.  Really good double record.

For a sample, I wanted to go with a couple of songs that I really liked.  Well, I liked a lot of songs, but these are the ones that I went with.  First, there is “Amsterdam” which sounds like a beautiful song about the city, but in actuality, it is about drunken sailors on leave. It is a tune by Jacques Brel and the lyrics follow Brel’s version somewhat but are a little more grittier.  Next , I went with “Victoria”.  Third, here is “Vivre Pour Vivre”, which I believe is in French and translates to “Live For Living”.  I have heard other French artists do this song and I believe the opening was sampled by Cibo Matto.  Finally, if you want something in English, here is “Now You Want To Be Loved”.

Great little album.  Satisfactory.

Nico Gomez and His Orchestra- Fiesta Braziliana 2

Here is another record that I bought last November when I was in Amsterdam.  It was one Euro. At the time of this writing, I am having a fierce internal debate as to whether I should go back to Amsterdam this year for vacation.  God knows I need it.  Money is tight though.  Well, I am sure by the time you read this, I will have already made up my mind as to if I am going or not.  

This record comes from one Joseph van het Groenewoud, born in Amsterdam in 1925 and resettled in Belgium in 1947.  He was active in the 1950’s thru the 1970’s, mostly in latin flavored jazz.  He recorded a slew of records under the alias Nico Gomez as well as a couple under Peter Loland.  He would pass in 1992 but his son, Raymond, became a famous Belgian musician in his own right.

This record by its title, would imply that this is Brazilian music.  I tend to disagree. The titles and the music would imply more of a Mexican sound.  Perhaps there is not much differentiation in styles when you are in Europe, but in this hemisphere, it is pretty noticeable.  But overall, it is still a good little album. 

For a sample, I went with “La Bamba” which is a Mexican standard.

Decent record.  I was hoping for something more Brazilian in nature, but the price is still right for the music. Satisfactory.

Afternoon in Amsterdam

This was one dollar.  I have been holding on to it for some time meaning to tie it in to Amsterdam. A couple months back, flights were $500 or so.  When I looked last month, they were $1,300 but I need to make sure I have the right dates.  Really want to go in December for the Lights on the Canals Festival, but it is not the most fiscally prudent thing to do at this time.

But when I do go, I occasionally see these large organ type machines this album is showcasing, usually on the street mentioned on this album, on Kalverstraat just south of Dam Square.  Big, colorful, and with many moving parts, these things called Gavioli Draaiorgel Jupiter on this record, have been pretty noticeable while I was there.  Yet I do not have a picture of one.  Funny that.

Well, I now have a record of it from Capitol Record’s International series.  Released in 1956, this is record is a collection of tunes grouped by categories. There are songs of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Tangos, waltzes, marches, and Dutch South African songs among others.  It is an ok little album that sounds just like you would imagine.

For a sample, I decided to go with a trio of songs about Dutch towns, “Just Give Me Amsterdam”, “My Own Rotterdam”, and “There is Only One Den Haag”.

Decent album.  Satisfactory.  I mean if you bought it thinking it would sound any different, shame on you.  As far as going there this year, we shall see. I have always said where there is a will, there is a way.

VA-Daverende Dertien de Holandse Hits van Nu

Keeping this week’s theme of records I bought whilst in Amsterdam, I have this sampler that I got for 1 Euro.  I wanted to get a sampler of local music and this looked like the best bet in the bins. The Super Bowl is starting to descend on Houston, where I live.  Starting to pick up at work as a result and as usual, the blog suffers slightly.

I am guessing this is a compilation of hit songs in Holland from 1982.  There is a cross section of songs from different pop artists including Harry Klorkestein, Tineke Schouten, Angelique, Bloem, Hans can Linge, Andre van Duin, De Kleintjes Pils Band, De Tennisballen, and Tante Ali. Hope you had as much fun reading this as I did typing it. Pretty much 80’s Euro-pop in the Dutch language.  I thought it was an interesting album enough.

I picked three samples.  First, from the band Highway, we have “Kiddy Kiddy Kiss Me”.  Hailing from Kaatsheuvel, this was their biggest hit.  They were known for also singing songs in English and their instrumental numbers.

Next, is “Ik Ben Met Katootje” from Rubberen Robbie, a band from Leiden who first hit big with a compilation/parody song of popular Dutch music of the time. The band formed from the ashes of Catapult, a glam rock outfit of the 1970’s.  They also remain popular today.  I thought this song was slightly childish and is perhaps why I like it. After a bit more research, this is a chain song from a Dutch TV show.  It translates into ” I am with Katooje”. The lead of the story, Katooje, is in the butter market and is imagining people out of the butter.   The song then follows these people’s responses in a chain fashion, Want to learn more?  Than hit the link below.

Dutch Wiki Page on this song

Finally, here is a cut from what may be the best name on this album:  Bob Barbeque / Willy Would Be & Agaath.  Here is their song “Bla Bla Bla” which is greatly derivative from the German group Trio’s “Da Da Da”.

I liked this album.  Much different from American music of the same time, but I found it interesting.  Satisfactory.

Dolf van der Linden- Dutch Sax

dscn6186This was one dollar.  I have owned this and have been trying to post this for the last year and a half but for some reason or another, it always gets pulled from the rotation at the last minute.  Well, no time like the present.dscn6449

This record gives me a good transition into talking about my vacation that I took two weeks ago,  Went to Amsterdam.  It had been two years since I went last.  I was kind of on the fence about going and truthfully, I was still questioning the decision two days into my trip.  However, I wanted to stay somewhat familiar with the city and if I did not go, it would be another two years or so for the next trip. By the end of the trip, I was pretty glad I went.dscn6541

Weather was awful but bearable.  Spent a lot of time at old places I like to go to.  I also went to places where I have not been for a while.  Spent many of the days down in Rembrantplein.  Also spent a good amount of time at Vondelpark, Oosterark, Waterlooplein, Rozengratch, Museumplein, and the northeast area by Prins Hendikkade area.  I spent the nights mostly around the Dam City Center.  I went to one art exhibition, the swap meet, and the zoo among other places.dolph

This album is led by Dolf van der Linden, a popular orchestra leader born in Vlaardingen, Netherlands in 1915.  He was well known in his country wit some significant recognition throughout Europe.  Known for his arrangements of popular music, he died in 1999 at the age of 83.  wwwopac

The alto sax solos were performed by Cees Verschoor.  I do not know anything about him and for some reason was less inclined to do much research on the subject today.  As far as the record goes, it is lush orchestration.  Six Duke Ellington songs grace this album. I liked this the first time I listened to it. Not so much the second time.  For some reason, the third time was a bit better. Other than being done by Dutch musicians, there is not much Dutch about this record.  As far as music goes, it is pretty American sounding.dscn6187

For a sample, I was torn between “Passion Flower”, “Passionata” and “All Too Soon”.  For some reason, I went with “Passion Flower”.metropole-orkest-dolf-van-der-linden-002

As far as this record goes, meh.  A bit too slow for my liking.