Supersister – Present From Nancy (1970)

FrontCover1.jpgwas a Dutch band from The Hague, Netherlands, active during 1970–1974, 2000–2001 and 2010–2011. They played progressive rock ranging from jazz to pop, and although Dutch, they are generally considered to be part of the Canterbury scene due to their playfulness and complicated sound. The most predominant band members were Robert Jan Stips (keyboards, vocals), Sacha van Geest (flute), Ron van Eck (bass) and Marco Vrolijk (drums).

The band started in 1967 as Sweet OK Supersister as a school band with singer and songwriter Rob Douw, who soon thereafter left. The remaining members continued as a more serious musical quartet under the name Supersister. Their style was progressive rock in which Stips’ keyboards played a dominant role.

Their debut was the 1970 album, Present from Nancy, with charting singles such as “She Was Naked”, “A Girl Named You”, and “Radio”. In that year they also played on the main stage of the famous Kralingen Music Festival, “the Dutch Woodstock”. After the three albums Present from Nancy (1970), To the Highest Bidder (1971), and Pudding en Gisteren (1972), Van Geest and Vrolijk quit. The remaining crew, together with new members Charlie Mariano (wind instruments) and Herman van Boeyen (drums) released the album Iskander in 1973, which is a jazz-rock oriented concept album based upon the life of Alexander the Great.

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In 1974, Stips and van Geest released a final studio album, Spiral Staircase [nl], using the band name Sweet Okay Supersister. This marked the end of the band.

The band reunited in 2000, after a request by the Progfest festival for a performance in Los Angeles. The four 1970–1973 period band members decided to accept and the result was the requested performance, as well as a short tour through the Netherlands in late 2000 and early 2001. To mark the occasion a rarities album was released, called Memories Are New – M.A.N. (2000) featuring live and studio recordings from 1969–1973. The reunion abruptly came to an end when van Geest unexpectedly died of heart failure in the summer of 2001. The reunion concert at the Paradiso in Amsterdam was recorded and later released on CD (Supersisterious, 2001) and DVD (Sweet OK Supersister, 2006), which also featured several old and new documentaries, photographs and unreleased audio tracks.

The band reunited once more, as a three piece, in 2010 for two songs in a televised celebration concert for 50 years of Dutch pop music. After this the band was scheduled to play at NEARfest 2011. Rehearsals were started, but the appearance at the festival had to be cancelled when Ron van Eck became seriously ill (he was already battling leukemia for a while) and eventually died in July 2011. (by wikipedia)

Singles

There are few bands who have managed to record such a strong, fully developed first album after only two years of existence. Supersister’s debut effort remains one of Holland’s best progressive rock albums and a classic of the genre worldwide, even though the group garnered only fringe interest outside of Europe. All the elements of the group’s sound are already firmly in place: Sacha VanGeest’s soothing flute lines, Robert Jan Stips’ far-out keyboard sounds, and the group’s wacky humor. The recipe has yet to reach its full, unique potential — one too easily detects specific influences, mostly that of Soft Machine (the fuzz bass in “Metamorphosis”), Caravan (“Memories Are New” and the multi-part, suite-like structure of some songs), and the Mothers of Invention (the comic relief 90 seconds of “Corporation Combo Boys,” concluding with the following lyric sung in four-part harmony: “We listen with attention to the Mothers of Invention”).

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The title track is the jazziest song of the set and features one of VanGeest’s most memorable flute lines. “Memories Are New” and “Metamorphosis” are both Canterbury-esque prog rockers, with Dave Sinclair-like organ sounds, complex rhythms, and dry English humor. One thinks of Egg’s first album or Caravan circa If I Could Do It All Over Again…. With its choral organ/vibes theme, “Dona Nobis Pacem” illustrates a more classically inclined side of the band. After the raucous experiments and craziness of the previous tracks, this delicate, carefully built piece can seem slightly out of character — at least until Stips breaks out into a circus-like calliope motive, reaffirming one last time that Supersister shall be known for their serious lack of seriousness. (by François Couture)

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Personnel:
Ron van Eck (bass)
Sacha van Geest (flute, vocals)
Robert Jan Stips (keyboards, vibraphone, vocals)
Marco Vrolijk (drums, percussion, vocals)

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Tracklist:

Present From Nancy (8.02):
01. Introductions (Stips/v.Eck) 2.57
02. Present From Nancy (Stips/v.Eck) 5.12

Memories Are New (Boomchick) (9.49)
03. Memories Are New (Stips/v.Eck) 3.47
04. 11/8 (Stips/v.Eck) 3.16
05. Dreaming Wheelwhile (Stips/v.Eck)

06. Corporation Combo Boys (Stips) 1.21

Metamorphosis (8:03)
07. Mexico (Stips) 4.21
08. Metamorphosis (Stips) 3.27
09. Eight Miles High (Stips) 0.19

10. Dona Nobis Pacem (Oosterhout/v.Eck/v.Geest/Stips/Vrolijk) 6.33
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11. She Was Naked (single A-side) (Stips) 3.44
12. Spiral Staircase  (single-B-side) (Stips/v.Eck) 3.04
13. Fancy Nancy (single A-side) (Stips) 1.46
14. Gonna Take Easy (single-B-side) (Oosterhout/v.Eck/v.Geest/Stips/Vrolijk) 2.43

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