Golden Earring – To The Hilt (1975)

FrontCover1On To the Hilt, Golden Earring fully gives themselves over to the prog rock tendencies that they had toyed with throughout the 1970s. The resulting album has a strong prog feel but lacks the characteristic sound and the solid material that defined the group’s best efforts to that point. The band puts in a typically energetic and thunderous performance, but their strong instrumental chops can’t overcome the self-indulgent nature of much of the album’s material: “Why Me?” and “Latin Lightning” are a few of the potentially interesting songs on To the Hilt that are undercut by dull, overlong sections of jamming. Said songs also lack the tight arrangements and the sudden, surprising instrumental twists that made the group’s past epics so interesting. The album’s rigorous pursuit of a full-blooded art rock sound results in this album lacking the distinctive, easily identifiable sound that infused Golden Earring classics like “Radar Love” or “She Flies on Strange Wings.” Despite these problems, some good songs shine through. The album’s best songs tend to be the shortest ones: “Facedancer” is a strong rocker built on an interesting blend of synthesizer and acoustic guitar and the title track pursues a galloping country-rock groove that made it a favorite in concert. However, high points like these are separated by long stretches of complex but faceless jamming that makes To the Hilt a chore to get through. As a result, this album is virtually guaranteed to leave the casual listener cold and can only be recommended to the most hardcore of Golden Earring fans.(by Donald A. Guarisco)

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And here´s another opinion:

I guess that it was difficult for Jan Stips (from ”Supersister”) to be considered as a full-time Golden Earring member. Coming from a truly prog environment, to integrate a band as ”Golden Earring” is one thing; but to be on the forefront as he used to be with ”Supersister” is another one.

I can’t really say that his role was prominent on this work, even if here and there some nice keyboarding can be heard. But this work is more on the rock side (”Why Me?”) than acoustic prog one (”Facedancer”).

This album really takes a long time to kick off: the title track is a real pain to be honest. Things are getting better though with the second long track: ”Nomad” is a fine piece of music which combines heavy rock with Easter influences of course. A nice and trippy instrumental middle part (almost Floydian) is one of the moments during which we can appreciate Stips’ influence. This elaborate track is one of the best of this album.

”Sleepwalking” sounds as an attempt to reproduce some forgotten grandeur and can also be considered as another good song from ”To The Hilt” but the level of the great ”Moontan” is clearly miles away. The whole is pleasant (as was ”Switch”) but there are too few great tracks.

This work also sounds a bit too much funky to my ears (”Latin Lightning” but not only). Still, this song is also a moment of keyboards delight and guitar maestria. The closing instrumental part is a bit loose but enjoyable.

The closing number ”Violins” is one (if not the) of the longest Golden Earring song. Funk and repetitiveness are on the rendezvous. The closing string section does have some prog feeling which was quite discreet so far?

In all, this is another good GE album. Nothing outstanding but no blunder either (except the short title track).(by Zowie Ziggy)

And “Violins” is a real fucking good number !

GoldenEarring(withStips)Personnel:
Rinus Gerritsen (bass)
Barry Hay (vocals)
George Kooymans (guitar, vocals)
Robert Jan Stips (keyboards, ARP and moog synthesizers)
Cesar Zuiderwijk (drums, percussion)
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Chris Mercer (saxophone on 05. + 06.)

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Why Me? (Kooymans/Hay/Fenton) – 7.13
02. Facedancer (Kooymans/Hay) – 4:09
03. To The Hilt (Kooymans/Hay) – 3:06
04. Nomad (Kooymans/Hay) – 7:05
05. Sleepwalkin’ (Kooymans/Hay) – 5:00
06. Latin Lightning (Kooymans/Hay) – 7:14
07. Violins (Kooymans/Hay) 10.20

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The Golden Earrings – Miracle Mirror (1968)

FrontCover1Change was in the air when the Golden Earrings made their third album in 1967; psychedelia was sweeping the U.K. and Europe and the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band had raised the bar in terms of production and arranging styles. the Golden Earrings had made some changes of their own as well — rhythm guitarist Peter De Ronde had left the group, and lead singer Frans Krassenburg was replaced by Barry Hay. Miracle Mirror was very much an album of its time, and predictably sounds a great deal different than their first two LPs. Like Just Earrings and Winter Harvest, Miracle Mirror clearly reflected what was going on in the British music scene at the time (even though the band was Dutch), but the heady atmosphere of 1967 made room for musicians to follow a number of different paths, and the Golden Earrings were eager to investigate as many as they could in the studio. “Born a Second Time” is a pastoral acoustic number with Hay contributing some accents on flute. “Magnificent Magisterial” sounds like some cross between the Who and the Byrds, with chiming 12-string guitars and crashing lead lines. Horns and strings fill out the grand-scale pop number “Crystal Heaven” and the folkier “Gipsy Rhapsody.” A harpsichord adds a GoldenEarringstouch of the Baroque to the melancholy “I’ve Just Lost Somebody.” The blues-influenced “Must I Cry” features some spacy slapback echo and reverse-gear guitar loops. You name the new-in-1967 sonic innovation, it’s probably somewhere on Miracle Mirror, but what hadn’t changed for the Golden Earrings was the songwriting talent of bassist Rinus Gerritsen and guitarist George Kooymans and the group’s uniform excellence in the studio; the confidence and sense of adventure that informed their first two albums was in full flower here, and if there are some moments on Miracle Mirror that sound a bit pretentious all these years later, the Golden Earrings’ instincts were spot-on most of the time, and this album has worn the test of time more gracefully than many other works from the first acid era.  (by Mark Deming)

SinglePersonnel:
Jaap Eggermont (drums)
Marinus Gerritsen (bass, keyboards)
Barry Hay (vocals, flute)
George Kooymans (guitar, vocals)
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Frans Krassenburg (vocals on 13. – 17.)
*Cesar Zuiderwijk (drums (on 13. – 17.)
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Orchestra arranged and conducted by Frans Mijts

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Tracklist:
01. The Truth About Arthur Kooymans) 2.55
02. Circus Will Be in Town in Time (Kooymans) 3.25
03. Crystal Heaven (Kooymans) 3.50
04. Sam And Sue (Gerritsen) 1.42
05. I’ve Just Lost Somebody (Gerritsen) 3.06
06. Mr. Fortune’s Wife (Kooymans) 3.15
07. Who Cares? (Kooymans) 3.44
08. Born A Second Time (Gerritsen) 2.39
09. Magnificent Magistral (Kooymans) 2.43
10. Must I Cry? (Kooymans) 2.17
11. Nothing Can Change This World Of Mine (Gerritsen) 3.21
12. Gipsy Rhapsody (Gerritsen/Kooymans) 3.17
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13. Sound Of The Screaming Day (Gerritsen/Kooymans) 2.52
14. She Won’t Come To Me (Gerritsen/Kooymans) 2.32
15. Together We Live, Together We Love (Kooymans) 3.09
16. I Wonder — Preview/Together We Live and Love (Gerritsen/Kooymans) 3.36
17. Remember My Friend (Kooymans) 2.59

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