Beat Express #2 - Amsterdam

Mokum Beat ‘63-‘67

Before the late 60s hippie invasion put Amsterdam in a prominent place on the world map, the city had a turbulent beat scene, mainly thanks to the efforts of Wally Tax and his Outsiders, ZZ & de Maskers, the Mads and NV Groep 65. These bands and others performed in the Rembrandtpleintheatre and the Outsiders started their career in club Las Vegas at the Korte Nieuwendijk. A myriad of bands arose like mushrooms but were, after releasing a single record, soon forgotten. This compilation has been released to pull some of them out of obscurity.

The name Mokum Beat Five was derived from the Dave Clark Five. The band was from the city’s Indonesian neighborhood and had two managers: Joop Reijntjes and his buddy Joop van den Ende (yes indeed, nowadays the Big Boss from RTL4). They performed frequently in Amsterdam clubs like Concordia, Ons Huis, marina Robinson at Landsmeer and also spent a whole month in Emmerich, Germany. The musicians on both the “Trouw nooit” (“Never Marry”) and “She Was Gone” singles were: Jaap van der Wouden (guit), Ton Wiertz (guit) Barend v.d. Brink (bass), Fred Wiertz (drums) and Rens Mans (voc). Under the auspices of Joop van den Ende the Mokum Beat Five worked as the backing band for well-known female singers like Karin Kent and Imca Marina.

Nothing can be uncovered about the five-man Insect. The single “Pitch Me Out” / “Be Good and Go” (both original compositions) was released in 1966 on Delta. Both songs were written by van Rhee/Meuleman, and production credits given to At (Ad?) Visser. According to the record it was a “Popservice Object.”

That same year the Triffits from Amsterdam-East released solid cover of Chuck Berry’s “Monkey Business,” with hilarious sound effects. At that moment they consisted of : Rudy Claes (voc), Willy Battang (guit), Gerriut Honing (guit), Ab Sieffers (bass) and Ed Mackaay (drums).

After winning a talent contest singer Triks Boelen started her career as vocalist for the very popular Maskers. When Bob Bouber joined this band she had to leave. The band she started next was called the Paramounts, but was later re-christened Triks & the Paramounts. The band came from Amstelveen and was fairly popular in the Amsterdam area but had no nationwide fame. This changed a bit when they (with the Fouryo’s and Andre van Duin) opened for the Rolling Stones on August 8th, 1964 at the Scheveningen Kurhaus. On that occasion the band consisted of: Triks Boelen (voc), Ronald Fens (guit), Rob Gerrand (bass), Hans Keijser (org) and Wim v. Taarling (drums). The Paramounts only released one official singles (for Delta) and some recordings for commercial records like Lion Tops and Oko. At the moment the band can still be booked for weddings, parties and sixties evenings! Check em out on the Internet: www.infoplaza.nl/paramounts.

Roek Williams & the Fighting Cats. On “You Walked Away,” their first rather Beatle-like single from 1963 the musicians were Roek Williams (Roek Willemze) (voc), Rick Beekman (guit), Frans Beekman (guit) , Ronny Buhre (bass) and Frank Spelde (drums). Roek was given the front position because a singer with a backing band was rather trendy at the time. Just consider Cliff Richard & the Shadows or Buddy Holly & the Crickets. The band was often compared to this latter American band, probably because of the looks of the glasses-wearing Roek. He became known as the Dutch Buddy Holly. The Fighting Cats were frequently played on the radio; the band toured Germany and Italy and were the support act for the British Tornadoes who had a world hit in 1963 with the instrumental “Telstar”. From ’64-’68 they released many records without success. In 1968 they changed their name to Roek’s Family. At last they had a big hit with “Get Yourself A Ticket.”

From the monthly “Joke,” May 1966: “Linda van Dijk, teenage daughter of our big actor Ko van Dijk, will soon be seen on our TV-screens as host of a teenage program.” In “Teenagermagazine” from the NCRV she sang her successful record “Stengun” with Boo & The Boo Boos. Linda, who then lived at the Weteringcircuit, wrote the lyrics to “Stengun” herself. Her stubborn behavior wore out famous managers like John van Setten (Outsiders), Cees van Leeuwen (Shocking Blue) and John de Mol sr. (Les Baroques). She released another three singles, none achieving even a shadow of the success of her first, and worked for a short time with the Love Set. Linda left for Sweden in 1969 and spent a considerable period of time there as a TV actress. Since the seventies she is known as one of the best Dutch actresses.

Jan Akkerman came from Amsterdam-East and played lead guitar with the Hunters in 1966. The band made seven singles in total, among which is the famous “Russian Spy And I.” That same year they were asked to accompany the American Peggy “I Will Follow Him” March on the single “Kilindini Docks,” coupled with “Too Long Away.” In an interview in the American record-collector magazine Goldmine (September 1997) Peggy March said: “’Kilindini Docks’ is a song I did in Holland when I was 18. Holland wanted me to record something different. They did not want to use any of my German recordings. They wanted to do something for them in English. They played this song for me, and my response was: ‘This is weird! You really want me to do this?’ They said, ‘It’s a great song, we think it’s really special and it’s different.’ Well, I am always into different so I thought it might be fun to do. And it was. It as brought out in Holland, and now it is on several compilations, in Germany and elsewhere, and on CDs. I loved doing it, because it was different, it was in English and it was released only in Holland. To this day I have no idea how well it sold!”

Ben Cramer played in various bands in the early sixties. In 1965 he recruited his backing band The Sparklings. The band played a mix of Dutch and English songs at the time. Ben Cramer & the Sparklings first appeared on TV at the end of 1966 on the NCRV show “Twien.” A year later an LP “…And the Sparklings” was released. Their best song appears to be an obscure b-side to a commercial single that was cut for the soft drink concern Seven-Up. “Now It’s Your Turn To Cry” is the Sparklings at their best.

In 1967 the Outsiders’ lead guitar player Ronnie Splinter was replaced by the in-comparison unknown Frank van Beek, nephew of the famous Amsterdam singer Alie Roelvink and formerly a member of Double Dutch along with Ruud Visser (bass), Allen Staart (guit) and Rob Haantjes (drums). Shortly before leaving for the Outsiders Frank played on Double Dutch’s single “Double Cross” / “You’re Out Of Sight.” Double Dutch was a support act on Van Morrison’s famous Dutch tour, on which he was accompanied by Cuby & the Blizzards.

Before he joined the Hunters Jan Akkerman was playing in Johnny & his Cellar Rockers, who mainly produced instrumental rock ‘n’ roll. Inspired by the Beatles’ success two vocal tracks were released in 1964 in the popular “Favorieten Express” series that cannot be left out of this compilation. 

Footnote:

Mokum is the pet nickname for Amsterdam, originating from the Hebrew Makommeaning city”, if I’m well-informed.

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