Paul van Vliet- one man show Noord West

Keeping this week on topic with records I bought last trip to Amsterdam as well as general thoughts on my last vacation.  I bought this one was a bit pricey at 5 euro.  Not sure what drew me other than the dude on the cover and the band on the back. He looked like a swinging version of James Coburn.

So one of the fun activities I did whilst I was abroad was see one of my favorite bands, Gogol Bordello in Amsterdam. I saw them at the Melkweg (who now send me emails for upcoming shows), over in the Leideplein district.  Not terribly far from where I was staying.  A decent sized venue, not big, not small.  Sort of cozy.

The opening band, The Lucky Chops, were awesome.  They were a four piece horn section with a drummer.  Very good indeed. They did some covers as well as perhaps some originals.  I am not truly sure.  But they did rock.  The trombone player seemed to be the leader and he really moved on stage.  The saxophone player alternated between a higher registered sax like Hawkwind as well as a standard sax.  Did I mention how great this band was?

Gogol was good as ever.  This would be the fourth time I seen them.  They always play a lot of numbers off their new album and this show was no different.  However, they also played some of their standard hits as well as a few off  the beaten track songs.  The Lucky Chops provided horns on a good chunk of the numbers.  Real high energy as always. The crowd was into it and a bit on the rough side but no where near as rough as the House of Blues show I saw some years back.  Great time had by all.

Paul van Vliet is a Dutch comedian, born in the Hague in 1935. Coming from a family of visual artists, Vliet learned his trade early and applied to the stage (both in ensembles and solo) , records, and television.  His shows, I believe are among the most popular in the Netherlands.  From here, the broken English on the bio webpage I was looking at started to become tiresome so here are three take aways I got from this: 1) he is an ambassador for UNICEF, 2) plays or at least played hockey in the Dutch Hockey Association, and 3) played Professor Henry Higgins in the 1994 Dutch production in which he was apparently a success.

This album, released in 1973, is from his one man show at the time.  North West, which ran from 1971 to 1973.  Released by Phillips, this double record would go Platinum. About 1/3 of the album is musical.  The other 2/3’s are spoken word (which I always felt was an overtly pretentious way of saying “talkie”).  And here is where I made my big mistake.  Since I speak nor understand much Dutch, it was kind of pointless for me to buy an album that is mostly spoken word.  But here we are.  I did like the musical number which were jazz laced.  Other than that, there is not much else I can say other than the routines did get a bunch of laughs.

Well sample I must so here is “Enn Hand Voor Je Hand (Hand for hand)” and the closing track, “Noord West”.


I don’t know how to judge this so I am leaving it blank.  I mean, obviously, this is probably a good album but I have no way of really knowing other than gauging the crowd response.

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.

The Roger Wagner Chorale-Folk Songs of the Old World Vol 2

DSCN4519This was $2.40.  I should have probably read the back cover a bit before buying it.  I saw Folk Music of Europe and just went with

Roger Wagner was born in Le Puy, France in 1914.  He died in Dijon, France in 1992.  In between, he went to America, where he directed the MGM chorus, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Robert Wagner Chorale.  During his career, he was decorated with many awards and honors.

The Roger Wagner Chorale’s Web Page

Interestingly enough, the directorship of the Chorale was assumed by Wagner’s daughter, Jeannine in 1992.roger_wagner_at_piano_with_lamc_members_circa_1965

This album is a collection of vocal chorale songs from various countries in Western Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Holland.  The inclusion of songs from Scandinavia is what drew me to this originally.  As sated above, I saw folk music and just went with the album expecting something a bit different.  If I would have read the back cover, I would have known that this was going to be a collection of vocal works.  I guess I was expecting more instrumentation.  I can hardly fault this record for my lack of reading.  DSCN4520

That being said, the songs are ok.  I mean the album delivers what it promises, technically superior vocal chorus interpreting folk songs of yore.  I do really like the diversity of countries represented on this album.Wagner-w-singers4web

For a sample, I decided to go with a few numbers from different places.  First is “Ayer Te He Visto” ( I Saw You Yesterday), a love song from Spain.  Second, is “Rosa” a children’s skipping song form Holland.  The accordion in the track is one of the few examples of prominent instrumentation on the album.  Finally, mainly in part because I got some hits two days ago from Denmark, here is the Danish “Gaaer Jeg Udi Skoven”(I Wander Thru the Woodlands).  According to the back cover, Danish folk songs are rooted in the noble classes of the middle ages.  This song speaks of the Danish love of the outdoors.roger_wagner_recording

It is a bit unfair to shoot this record down because I did not read before I bought, but I am doing just that.  This album is meh to me.


The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker- Hats Off

DSCN1218This was a dollar.  It had some descent songs on it.

Last week, I received a good deal of traffic from the Netherlands. I am not sure why. I had this album on the schedule for later in July but decided to move it up to pander to Hollanders as it has a connection to Amsterdam.chet-baker-concertgebouw-amsterdam-1955

Chet Baker, born in Yale Oklahoma in 1929, was an American jazz trumpeter and vocalist. He found success in the 1950’s working with such stars as Stan Getz and Charlie Parker. After joining the Gerry Mulligan Quartet in 1952, success came quickly. After Mulligan’s arrest on drug charges, Baker found his own group which continued successfully. In 1956, Chet Baker Sings was released. The album brought him increased notoriety but somewhat alienated traditional jazz fans. He would become the face of the West Coast Cool School of Jazz.

And then came the drugs. In the 60’s, he served more than a year in Italy on drug charges, was deported from West Germany and the UK, and served short time in US jail; for prescription fraud. Furthermore, he ruined his embouchure after getting severely beaten while attempting to buy drugs.chetbaker1

After working odd jobs while his mouth healed, Baker went to New York and became performing and recording again. He would achieve a resurgence of popularity in the 70’s and 80’s. However, from 1978 until his death, Baker would reside and almost exclusively play in Europe.IMG_0700a

Which leads to his death and the Netherlands connection. Chet Baker was found dead in 1988 in the Hotel Prins Hendrik in Amsterdam. He had serious head wounds. Police found heroin and cocaine both in his room and in his body. As there were no signs of a struggle, they ruled the death an accident. The hotel has a plaque outside in Chet’s honor. I have 50+ pictures of public restrooms but no picture of this plaque which I have seen many times. Also, there is no plaque at Schipol where Solomon Burke died.Chetbakermonument

Unfortunately, this album is not among Baker’s best works. It was made as a quick response to the popularity of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. The first Mariachi Brass band album , a Taste of Tequila, sold well enough to spawn this and a few others but in the end, it is really quite derivative. Baker plays both the trumpet and the flugelhorn on this album. I was real excited about “Bang Bang” and “These Boots were made for walking” but found them lacking any real punch.  DSCN1219

I went with “On the Street Where You Live” as the sample.

Meh. The Tijuana Brass is better as is Chet Baker’s pure jazz. Check one of these out before you try this.