Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Earth & Fire|
Earth & Fire
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rock
Import reissue of 1970 album includes nine bonus tracks, 'Mechanical Lover', 'Hazy Paradise', 'Memories', 'Invitation', 'From The End Till The Beginning', 'Lost Forever', 'Song Of The Marching Children' (Single Version)... more »
Import reissue of 1970 album includes nine bonus tracks, 'Mechanical Lover', 'Hazy Paradise', 'Memories', 'Invitation', 'From The End Till The Beginning', 'Lost Forever', 'Song Of The Marching Children' (Single Version), 'Thanks For The Love' & What Difference Does It Make'. Repertoire.
Terrific Dutch psych/prog group with great female vocals
happydogpotatohead | New Orleans, LA USA | 03/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Imagine, if you will, that Jefferson Airplane and King Crimson had met and decided to form one group. That'll give you an idea of what this Dutch rock group of the 70s was like, but you need to experience Earth & Fire first-hand. They really deserve attention on this side of the world. Earth and Fire, led by the charismatic and beautiful Jerney Kaagman, were quite a success in the Netherlands in the 1970s. They began their career as a psychedelic group with progressive-rock leanings on this album, and scored big in the charts with their singles "Seasons," "Ruby Is The One," and "Wild And Exciting," all of which are on here. This was their first album, from 1971. Their melodic brand of psychedelic rock shows signs of developing further, and it did. From this album forward they became ever more exploratory, putting out the outstanding prog albums "Atlantis" and "Song of the Marching Children." Songs from both those albums are featured here as bonus tracks, and all are worth listening to for fans of strong female vocals and psych/prog rock. Unfortunately, Earth & Fire collectively lost their minds in the mid 1970s, becoming a smarmy sub-Abba disco act. The last two songs on the CD, sadly enough, date from this era of the band, but if you stop the CD right after "Song of the Marching Children," no harm done. The inclusion of these harrowingly awful songs is the only thing that keeps this CD from being a 5-star outing. On this, their first album, they come out dazzlingly fully formed. Granted, their grasp of English was none too sturdy, but Jerney Kaagman's soaring alto overcomes the language barrier, and the band (anchored by brothers Chris and Gerard Koerts on guitar and keyboards) is as good or better than most of their European and British counterparts. Mellotron orchestras, grand Hammond organ flourishes, and powerful guitar riffing abound. If you're a sucker for psychedelic/progressive, this will definitely do it for you. I've owned this CD for about three years now and it's never too far from my player. It's nice to see it's available. If you're a fan of Jefferson Airplane, the Moody Blues, King Crimson, or psychedelic and progressive rock music in general, you will find a lot to like here. Recommended."
Great beginnings for this Dutch band
BENJAMIN MILER | Veneta, Oregon | 01/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here in America, Earth & Fire is completely unknown, and if you ask most Americans, they'll either give you a blank stare or say something like "You don't mean Earth, Wind & Fire?" (which is obviously a completely different group, an American R&B/soul/funk band). In Holland, they were able to rack up a bunch of hit singles (many of them not available on any non-compilation albums) and release great prog rock albums in the process. I first got exposed to Earth & Fire as a kid when my dad bought the LP of To the World of the Future (1975), since none of my family ever been to Holland, my dad bought that album either mistaking them for Earth, Wind & Fire, or simply liked the futuristic '70s artwork (he wasn't exactly the most musically informed person out there). Of course by that point, the band was starting to explore disco, but still hadn't quite abandoned prog.
In 1970, the band released their self-entitled debut. And just to let everyone know, the one with the Roger Dean cover is not the original pressing, that was a 1971 UK pressing on the Nepentha label, and of course that's the cover used for the German Repertoire label CD reissue, as well as the newer Japanese reissue. The original Dutch LP was released on Polydor/Medium (has the same familiar red Polydor label, with the "Medium" logo under the "Polydor" logo) and featured a gimmick matchbox cover, which shows a picture of the band, and when you fold open the cover, you see matches, and a list of the songs. This album is less polished than their following (ie. Song of the Marching Children, Atlantis) and there's plenty of that late '60s psych elements still left. The band consisted of female vocalist Jerney Kaagman, with twin brothers Chris Koerts on guitar and Gerard Koerts on organ and flute, with drummer Ton van der Kleij and bassist Hans Ziech. This album managed three hits, "Seasons", "Ruby is the One", and "Wild and Exciting". "Seasons" and "Ruby is the One" featured original drummer Cees Kalis (Ton v.d. Kleij hopped on board once they started recording their debut LP), since both of those were released as a single prior to the album's release, "Seasons" being their first ever release, released at the end of 1969 ("Hazy Paradise" was the B-side, and "Mechanical Lover" was the flip side of "Ruby is the One"). "Love Quiver" is the one cut that bears a striking resemblance to Jefferson Airplane, but unlike the Airplane, you get treated with a great organ solo. "What's Your Name" is a laid-back acoustic piece with flute. And there's lots of times that "21st Century Show" is called "21st Century Land", because of the previous cut entitled "Vivid Shady Land", but it's actually entitled "21st Century Show". "Seasons", as mentioned, dates from 1969, and wasn't written by either of the Koerts brothers or E&F members, but George Kooysman of Golden Earring (who supported E&F, and helped them get a deal with Polydor, in which Golden Earring recorded for). "Twilight Dreamer" sounds like a precursor to "Carnival of the Animals" (from Song of the Marching Children) and near the end what sounds like the band's first ever use of a synthesizer (sounds like a Moog). "Vivid Shady Land" is a perfect example of the band still sticking to that late '60s psychedelic sound.
On the Repertoire CD reissue, you have the complete album, which ends with "What's Your Name" (track 9), and then you have a whole bunch of bonus cuts, all non-album singles, all the way up to 1976, where the band decided to go disco. You get "Hazy Paradise", "Mechanical Lover", the ever wonderful "Invitation" (one of my favorite non-album singles the band released) and the equally wonderful Mellotron-oriented "Memories". You also get the original single version of "Song of the Marching Children", which was released several months before the album's release, and what separates this version from the album version is Jerney Kaagman's singing sounds different. "Lost Forever" (flip side of "Storm and Thunder") and "From the End 'till the Beginning" (flip side of "Memories") are also featured. Missing here is "Tuffy the Cat" (flip side of "Love of Life"), but I guess they couldn't include that because of lack of space, thanks to all the other bonus cuts. Then they included two songs from where the band went disco, "Thanks For the Love" (1975) and "What Difference Does it Make" (1976), complete with strings, horns and hi-hats. Unfortunately Earth & Fire fell victim in the late '70s by recording increasingly commercial material, and you know it's time to run when comparisons to ABBA start surfacing (but it didn't hurt the band in terms of success, although it's understood that most prog rock fans don't usually bother with much anything they released after 1975). Regardless, this CD is a wonderful historical document, not just for the debut, a great album that shows even better things to come, but you get lots of non-album singles as well."
Fun psychedelic rock from this Dutch band
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 04/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Released in 1970 by the Dutch group Earth & Fire, this debut presents a collection of fine psychedelic pop that shows the band starting to develop their signature sound. References to groups active at the time abound and I personally heard tiny snippets of the Mamas and the Papas, Savage Rose and Jefferson Airplane amongst others. Although stylistically indebted to psychedelic rock, there are moments of subtle "progressiveness" here and there, which point in the direction the band would head in starting with the excellent Song of the Marching Children (1971).
Six of the seven tracks on the original album range in length from 3 to 5 minutes, with a single track lasting for 7:36 (Love Quiver) (which is a nice and heavy jam). One of the most distinctive features of the music is the lead vocal of (female) vocalist Jerney Kaagman - vocals are in English with a bit of an accent. Jerney has a nice style and a great sense of melody; come to think of it, bouncy, and at times, melancholy melodies are everywhere on this album. The rich vocal harmonies are also nice and add a lot to the sound. Other distinctive features include the Hammond organ playing, which assumes a very "churchy" sound at times, along with some hard-edged electric guitar tones. Overall, these guys are fine players.
This remastered effort by Repertoire is not bad at all and features informative liner notes along with decent sound quality and the original Roger Dean cover. The nine bonus tracks are good and most importantly, introduce the fantastic material off of Song of the Marching Children (albeit in edited [single] form) to folks that are new to the band.
All in all, this is a cool album of psychedelic pop that boasts some great singing by Jerney Kaagman and great melodies. Although not necessarily a representation of the group during their progressive period, the core sound was starting to take shape. The definitive "proggy" albums released by the band include Song of the Marching Children (1971) and Atlantis (1973). These albums present the short, psychedelic tunes on the debut in vastly expanded form and feature the mellotron (with string setting) in all of its melancholy glory."