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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Alquin - The Mountain Queen (1973 holland, outstanding progressive rock with blues and jazz shades, 2009 esoteric remaster issue)

A few students in Delft start a group in 1968. It is called Threshold Fear and they mainly play rhytmn and blues. In 1970 the band members are: Hein Mars (bass, vocals), Job Tarenskeen (vocal, sax, percussion), Ronald Ottenhof (sax, flute), Ferdinand Bakker (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Dick Franssen (keyboards) and Bart Terlaak (drums). A single is released on Negram: Sally Saddlepain/Thank me not, the track was produced by Peter Vink who later on would form Finch

At the end of 1971 the group changes the drummer:Terlaak goes and Paul Weststrate comes. In January 1972 they perform in Paradiso for the first time, under their old name. Shortly thereafter (February 1972) the group changes its name to Alquin, after the student society and rehearsal room Alcuin.Due to their growing reputation, May 1972 a record deal with Polydor is closed for 2 albums and 4 singles, and they record their debut album Marks, produced by Hans van Oosterhout. He was also the producer of Supersister. The album is mainly a mix of rock, jazz and classical influences; “symphonic rock”. As a single You always can change is released with on the flip side the non album track Hard royce.

The popularity of the band is growing in 1973 The readers of Oor magazine vote Alquin as the ‘number 1 trendsetter’ of 1973. Alquin tours Great Britain in April and May (17 performances), on stages like Liverpool University, Cavern Club, Greyhound and Marquee Club (London) and including a live TV performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. They also give a good performance as the one and only Dutch act at the Pinkpop festival in the Netherlands. A second album, The Mountain Queen is recorded at the DeLane Lea studio’s in London, with the help of producer Derek Lawrence. He was also the producer of Deep Purple and Wishbone Ash. For fans of progressive rock, this is probably their best effort.

1. The Dance - 13:00
2. Soft-Eyed Woman - 2:38
3. Convicts Of The Air - 3:50
4. Mountain Queen - 14:45
5. Don And Dewey - 1:27
6. Mr. Banum's JR's Maginificent And Fabulous City (part one) - 8:25

*Hein Mars - Bass
*Paul Westrate - Drums
*Job Tarenskeen - Saxophone, Percussion, Vocals
*Ronald Ottenhoff - Saxophone, Flute
*Ferdinand Bakker - Guitar, Electric Violin, Piano, Vocals
*Dick Franssen - Organ, Piano, E-Piano

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Douglas Fir - Hard Heartsingin' (1970 us, excellent psychedelic blues rock, Gear Fab edition)

It was an incredible like we'll never see again. Howdy, I'm Douglas A. Snider (AKA Douglas Fir). The band was formed as a complete foursome after many of the tracks on the album had already been cut. The original band was a trio comprised of myself on drums and lead vocals, Tim Doyle on Hammond B-3, and Richie Moore on guitar. We went by the name of "The Sun Trio".

We played alot of "Meat Marketn Bars" in order to pay for the studio time and worked day jobs as well. I worked the high timber industry as a logger and fire fighter. Tim worked in construction, and Richie (the smart one in retrospect) drove a liquor delivery truck. We had a cut an album and hit the big time...and we damned near did it!! We were totally committed to the project!! It was our dream...the only thing we thought of day and night. We were fortunate in that a couple of guys named Mike Carter and Russ Gorsline, two great recording engineers, also got caught up in the energy of the project.

They fronted us alot of studio time, and when we couldn't pay at times, they shuffled alot of paper around so the studio's owners didn't see the bills. We wrote and recorded some of the songs on the studio floor, and others took more planning and time (obviously the cuts with strings, horns, etc.).After laboring for two long years, we finally decided that we had enough to show the record companies. SO...The big plunge...broke and owing studios, I sold my Honda 305 Scrambler and bought a one-way ticket to Hollywood.

Many hours pounding the pavement and dealing with rejection....Until I met a man by accident in an elevator in the Sunset Vine Towers. Serendipity! The man turned out to be one of Hollywood's hottest arrangers at the time. After a few beers (quite a few) he took me down to the third floor and introduced me to executives from MGM/QUAD Records and we played the tape...Magic...a deal was struck immediately,  the studio bills were paid off, and we added Bruce Bye on bass making the final composite of Douglas Fir.

MGM released a single titled "Smokey Joe's" which received a great deal of airplay, and we toured briefly before the label folded. That's showbiz, folks. But hey...we had a great time making these tracks, playing the 60's bars and Groovin'. And By God, we sold the album even if we didn't get the big hit. Thanks for listening in!!
by Douglas A. Snider,  Hendersonville, Tennessee

1. Hard Heartsingin (D. T. Jay, D. A. Snider) - 4:23
2. Jersey Thursday (Donovan P. Leitch) - 2:18
3. I Didn't Try (D.T. Jay, R.L. Moore, D.A. Snider) - 3:40
4. Early In The Morning Rain (Jay, Moore, Snider) - 3:51
5. New Orleans Queen (Snider, Bye, Fetsch, Gorsline) - 3:17
6. Moratorium Waltz (Douglas A. Snider) - 3:05
7. Smokey Joe's (Bye/Fetsch, Moore, Snider) - 2:19
8. Comin' Back Home (Douglas A. Snider) - 3:52
9. Tom's Song (Fetsch, Ford, Snider) - 3:01
10.21 Years (Moore, Snider) - 2:54

Douglas Fir
*Richie Moore - Guitar
*Tim Doyle - Keyboards
*Douglas A. Snider - Drums, Vocals
*Bruce Bye - Bass

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