Beat Express #1 - Brabant: Beat with a Gentle “G” 

The province of Brabant contained an abundance of groups during the sixties, and of these a relatively large number appeared on record. This is remarkable considering how far away the Hilversum and Bussum studios were, and the only explanation possible is that the quality standard of the Brabant bands was high. Brabant wasn’t bad at all compared to the national level, but could never compete with the Hague or Amsterdam beat forces overflowing Holland from 1964-67. So it was a surprise in those days that a compilation album was released on Willem Duys’ Relax label entitled “Beat met een zachte G” (Relax 30.565) featuring unknown favorites like the Mental Beats, Fairy Tale, Go-Go’s and Pandoras. Nowadays a very sought-after artifact at record fairs for which you have to pay at least several hundred guilders.

The Op-Art label presents on this unique 10” LP a selection from the top Brabant bands who achieved national fame, like the Phantoms, but also some less-known beat-gods from that era like the Spec’s (from Tilburg), who earned world-fame in their own town by releasing an independent single, of which only a few hundred were pressed. 

This album opens with “She’ll Marry Me” by the Chums from Tilburg who released two singles on Philips during 1967 and were also present on the above-mentioned “Beat met een zachte G”. The band had a postcard printed on which the famous Tilburgian artist Jan Asselbergs portrayed all the members. The band consisted of Ruud van Rijthoven (bass), Hans Franken (guit), Jan van Ganzewinkel (drums), Berry Westerburgen (voc) and Dephlie van der Meulen (guit). The popular singer Karin Kent (“Dans je de hele nacht met mij”) allowed the Chums to back her several times. On these occasions the extra musician Harry van Hooff (Peter & his Rockets) was recruited. 

The Spec’s met in 1965 through an advertisement in the “Nieuwsblad van het Zuiden”. According to the liner notes on the back of their independently released single “the band members tried to express their feelings and thoughts through their own compositions. They are working consciously on the development of their personality. They are dynamic, contemporary, full of inspiration; their music gives evidence of this.” The Spec’s were: Jan v.d. Eijnden (voc/guit), Kees Paulissen (bass), Henk v.d. Burgt (organ) and drummer was Frans van Esch. The record was released on the Tapes label, by the way.

With a band name like The Losers you could of course foresee a quick failure, despite the fact that their single “Since You’re Gone” was released as part of CNR Records’ very popular “Beat from Holland” series, which also featured Cuby & The Blizzards. Led by vocalist Jack Dens, this record found its way to buyers quickly, even in Belgium, Germany, France, Denmark and Singapore. Jack, later known as Jack Jersey, had this to say in an article in a Roosendaal newspaper in 1966: “It’s still a long way to go. It’s very hard to get to the top, especially now that there are so many beat bands trying to gain a position in the hit parade.” We’ve selected “Give Me Time,” the a-side from the Losers’ second and last single, for this Brabant compilation. A real beat killer that normally is very hard to find. The other band members were Henk Voorheijen (drums), Will Massius (bass), Emile Schwartz (guit) and Louck Bastiaans (guit).

The Counsellers were from Eindhoven. The four members were Ruud van Soolingen (bass), L. Rademakers (voc), Andre Sommers (guit) and Hans van Neelen (drums), all of whom look very neat with tightly combed hair and dull ties on the picture sleeve of their 1966 release on Omega (both sides of which were written by Soolingen and Rademakers). But as soon as the record is on the turntable the music splashes out of the grooves, and fortified with a whining and howling harp the band reminds us of the famed English R&B combo The Pretty Things.

The same goes for the Comets, also from Eindhoven, who under the direction of vocalist Kees van der Linden covered two big hits of the time, “My Generation” (The Who) and “Big Boss Man”. Telstar released the Comets’ record in 1966. Apart from Kees the band consisted of Ad v.d Linden (guit), Willem Jansen (bass), Jacques Verdonck (drums) and Puck van Tuyl (guit). After the Comets disbanded the latter three went on to Dirty. Another nice detail is that before Jacques Verdonck played drums with the Comets a certain Arie Ribbens (“Polonaise Hollandaise”) played with them for some time….

“Jack the Ripper” was the title of the very first record from Eindhoven’s Phantoms, and you could hear it frequently on Radio Veronica. Band members were lead guitarist Ad v.d. Ven; bass player Wally Soute, founder of the Phantoms Ronald v.d.Horst (guit), drummer Fred Grundlach and Marty van Rooy (voc). The band achieved national fame with “I’ll Go Crazy,” which got to number 11 on the hit parade, followed by “Tormented,” which only got to 25. They even managed to release a true LP that, like the singles, appeared on Omega Records.The Phantoms were regularly seen on TV (Tienerama) and even performed in Belgium for the program “Tienerklanken.” On this Op-Art LP is their very first single “After Tomorrow,” a cover of an unknown English band. The original recording of this song appeared in 1966 on the Action label. This was the only release from the Phantoms for Action.

“I Wish I Was Strong” is by the Heralds from Breda. Directed by Cyril Havermans (bass, later in Big Wheel, Focus, Brainbox and solo), and further assisted by Harry Groeneveld (guit), Jan Marijnissen (guit/voc) and Ben Murawski, this is an excellent piece though not a hit. In 1981 the band reformed and even released a single, “Like A Rolling Stone.”

The Spiders are not to be confused with the band of the same name from Eindhoven (of “Oze Wieze Woze” fame). This Spiders came from Prinsenbeek, and made one attempt to reach the hit parade with their own “Girl In The Spring” on Telstar. B-side “I’m In Love Again,” a Fats Domino composition done in the style of the Animals, is much more appealing and so has more reason to belong on this compilation. The band consisted of Anton Mulder (bass), Maurice Hubert (voc/guit) and Joop Verburg (drums).

When in 1965 nothing more was heard from Peter and his Rockets, Peter Koelewijn formed 4PK, who released two singles that are best forgotten (among which is a miserably bad version of the Stones’ “As Tears Go By”). Aside from Peter the members of 4PK were Karel Jansen (bass), Hans Sanders (guit, later to Dirty and Bots) and Jeroen Ophoff (drums).

From 1965-67 there were practically no gigs because Peter was increasingly busy producing. The rest of 4PK were often recruited as studio musicians during this time, and played on the songs of Egbert Douwe (“Kom uit de bedstee”), Conny van den Bos (“Ik ben gelukkig zonder jou”), some songs by Armand and “Tame Me Tiger” by Bonnie St. Clair, among others.In 1966 the single “Down and Out,” coupled with “So There,” was released exclusively for Crespa Chips. The record only cost f2,25. Most copies of this single have been stamped “Technische School Hilversum,” so many collectors assume that they released the record. He who knows the answer may come and tell! “Down and Out” by the way is a solid and loud beat song and a great acquisition for this album.

The Sound Specials from Tilburg were given a spot in the renowned CNR series “Beat from Holland” with “It’s My Mind” in 1966. That same year they released another two singles. The band members Wim Sikkers, Wim Fouchier, Cor van Iersel, Piet v.d. Hout en Kees Prince were invited by the PTT (Dutch mail) to supply a song for the flipside of a commercial record. A short time after they recorded “I Wasn’t Satisfied,” heard here, as part of a personnel recruitment campaign by collaborating yeast companies. Thousands of copies of both the PTT and yeast records were distributed to high schools all over the country. The band performed for Radio Veronica and could be heard twice in NCRV’s program “Jeugdland.”

Footnote:

The title of this album and article is maybe a bit hard to understand for non-Dutch. As a matter of fact the southern provinces of Brabant and Limburg (in the latter of which I’m living) have a dialect that differs strongly from the “normal” Dutch language and is more related to Flemish (to which they have belonged long ago). The main characteristic of that dialect are its melodious ring and the pronunciation of the “G”. In contrast to the Dutch pronunciation, which is hard and sharp and spoken from the back of the throat, the southern “G” sounds much softer/gentler and is spoken by pressing the tongue against the palate. I don’t know an English example, but I guess your first name could be used to illustrate the difference: Menachem pronounced in the Hebrew way has a “ch” sounding very much like the Dutch G, while (I guess) in normal daytime speaking you’d pronounce it not so sharp, but more like our dialect “G”. 

So that’s where this title comes from, for even when Dutch southerners speak English or whatever other language, you can always hear that gentle or soft “G”.

 
 

BACK TO LINERNOTES