Solution – Fully Interlocking (1977)

FrontCover1Solution were a Dutch progressive rock band that existed from 1970 to 1983, during which time they released six studio albums and one live album. They incorporated jazz, rock, pop and soul influences, becoming more commercial on their fifth and sixth albums.

Their first eponymous LP comprised mainly instrumental pieces, complex yet repetitive in structure, with bassist Peter van der Sande singing on one track. He was succeeded by Guus Willemse around the time of its release, and immediately the band began recording more vocal songs; three of the tracks on second album Divergence featured lyrics.

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The third album Cordon Bleu (1975) was released on Elton John’s own label named The Rocket Record Company, as was its follow-up Fully Interlocking (1977). Both albums were produced by John’s producer Gus Dudgeon, and featured a crisper sound and more concise songwriting.

Despite some criticism for a more commercial direction, the next two albums, It’s Only Just Begun (1980) and Runaway (1982) continued this trend. The two title tracks from these albums became hit singles in Europe.

Solution signing the conract with CBS Records in 1979:
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Solution split in 1983, playing a final concert at Paradiso in Amsterdam and releasing a double live album. They regrouped in March 2006 for two concerts at Panama, Amsterdam (released as a DVD in July 2007), while a triple CD compilation (The Ultimate Collection, comprising almost every track they released) was issued in 2005. Also, a 1976 pairing of Solution and Divergence (simply titled Solution) was reissued by EMI in February 2007, featuring “Fever” (left off the original CD edition) and “Divergence”, the studio version of which was omitted from The Ultimate Collection in favour of the 1983 live recording.

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Fully Interlocking is the fourth album by the Dutch symphonic rock group Solution. It was released in 1977 by The Rocket Record Company. The line “Fully interlocking” appears on jigsaw puzzle boxes, as referenced on the album cover.

Like the preceding album Cordon Bleu, Fully Interlocking was produced by Gus Dudgeon and released on the label he set up with Elton John. Another name reappearing from Cordon Bleu was engineer Phil Dunne, while Hipgnosis again did the artwork. This time the recording location was switched from Wales to The Sol in Cookham, England.

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Fully Interlocking comprised four jazzy instrumental pieces sandwiched by two vocal songs, the lyrics of which were written by singer Guus Willemse. This album shares the highest quantity of instrumental tracks with their first album Solution (1971); the other four albums they released included more songs with lyrics. “Give Some More” was released as a single in Europe, backed by an edit of “Chappaqua” from Cordon Bleu. “Empty Faces” was also a 45, with “French Melodie” as the B-side.

Fully Interlocking charted in the Netherlands on 5 November 1977, reaching #30 and spending 7 weeks on the chart.

The album was re-released by CBS in 1980 (again on vinyl) and 1988 (on CD). (wikipeda)

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The Dutch fusion band here took a more accessible way to produce easier tracks, still having some lead vocals. The saxes, keyboards, bass and drums are well balanced, and it sounds melodic, joyful, fresh and good. The ensemble is rather catchy, pleasant to listen. I would say it is definitely romantic: the saxophones are greatly responsible of that. The keyboards are varied and often floating, while there are different kinds of pianos. The best track is definitely “Carousel”, a beautiful sentimental masterpiece, totally jazzy and progressive, full of Fender Rhodes: you absolutely have to enjoy the intense quintessential bit, where intense sax solo, heavily floating keyboards, punchy bass and expert drums suddenly take the maximum room available, creating an unbelievable extreme dynamic romantic passage. WOW! (by greenback)

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Personnel:
Tom Barlage: (saxophone, flutes, string-ensemble, keyboards. background vocals)
Willem Ennes (keyboards, string-ensemble, background vocals)
Hans Waterman (drums)
Guus Willemse (bass, vocals)
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Ray Cooper – congas and percussion on “Give Some More” and “Free Inside”
Stuart Epps – additional backing vocal on “Empty Faces”

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Tracklist:
01. Give Some More (Barlage/Ennes/Willemse) 5.23
02. Carousel (Barlage/Ennes/Willemse(Waterman) 7.19
03. Sonic Sea (Barlage/Ennes) 7.19
04. Free Inside (Barlage/Ennes/Willemse(Waterman) 6.22
05. French Melodie (Barlage) 4.36
06. Empty Faces (Willemse) 6.32

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