Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Q65 “Afghanistan” 1970 Dutch Psych Rock


Q65 “ Afghanistan”  1970  Dutch Psych Rock 

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Based on sheer musical ability, the Q 65 deserved to be at least as well known as the Pretty Things or the Yardbirds. Indeed, the Dutch quintet could have held their own with either of those groups or the Animals without breaking a sweat, based on the recorded evidence, and they also had room for some of the more countrified blues evident in the work of the Downliners Sect. 
Yet the Q 65 have remained one of Europe’s best-kept star caliber musical secrets for more than 30 years. The Q 65 were Frank Nuyens (guitar, vocals, sax, flute, harmonica), Wim Bieler (vocals, harmonica), Peter Vink (bass), Joop Roelofs (guitar), and Jay Baar drums, who first got together in 1965, in the Hague. The city was known as “the Liverpool of the Netherlands,” with a music scene that had been thriving since the end of the 1950s. 

Instrumental groups, patterned after the sound of the Shadows had been very big at that time. Peter Vink and Jay Baar had been playing in a blues-based band called Leadbelly’s Limited before they hooked up with Wim Bieler, Frank Nuyens, and Joop Roelofs to form the Q 65 in February of 1965. The group’s professed influences were American soul acts like Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding, yet somehow, when they performed, what they played came out closer in form and spirit to the likes of the Pretty Things, the Downliners Sect, and the Yardbirds than it did to any of those soul acts, at least at first. They landed a recording contract with Phonogram, a unit of Philips Records, late that year, and put on the Decca label. Their first single, “You ’re the Victor,” was released in February of 1966. This was a strange record for a band professing an admiration of Sam & Dave or Wilson Pickett, a frantically paced piece of punk-style blues-rock with an infectious Bo Diddley beat, screaming, raspy vocals, and a savage attack on their instruments. The single made No. 11 on the charts in Holland rode the bestseller lists for 13 weeks. The B-side, another original called “And Your Kind,” was a more low-key, relaxed piece of blues-rock with slightly more of a soulful feel, but also some crunchy punk guitar. 

In May of 1966, with the group now primed for success (including a full-time manager working for them), they released their second single, “The Life I Live.” This was a more soulful record that built almost bolero-like in intensity. It was a good enough record to get Phonogram’s management interested in promoting the group in England, which led to a publicity stunt that was not only a waste of time, but utterly foolish, sending the group to England by boat and having them come ashore in a rubber lifeboat, a though they’d come across the ocean that way. They were then supposed to play a gig, but as nobody had secured work permits, the group was only able to pose for photographs and press interviews before returning to the Netherlands. The Q 65 were greeted at the shore in Schevenning when they landed (again manning the lifeboat to land) by 30,000 fans, and ended up playing a gig right there at the pier. The band may not have done much for themselves in England, but they garnered a top 10 hit in the Netherlands. 

With two successful singles under their belt, the group debut album, Revolution, followed in 1966. Revolution was a powerful blues-rock album that included a snarling rendition of Willie Dixon’s “Down in the Bottom,” a rendition of Dixon’s “Spoonful” that boasted gloriously crunchy acoustic guitars behind a raspy vocal worthy of Howlin’ Wolf himself, and a funky version of Allen Toussaint’s “Get Out of My Life, Woman,” and a handful of originals that were fully competitive with the covers. The highlight, however, was a riveting 14 minute version of Sonny Boy Williamson II’s “Bring It On Home.” The album sold 35000 copies, a respectable number in the Netherlands, and established group sufficiently to rate a spot playing with the Small Faces, the Spencer Davis Group, the Kinks, and the Pretty Things when they toured Holland. 

During 1967, they didn’t release any LPs, but did get a solid extended-play single out called Q Blues, which did well at home. Their music during this period reached what was arguably its peak–“Ain’t That Lovin’ You Babe” is a garage-punk classic worthy of the best American bands of the period, while their version of “Ramblin’ On My Mind” thunders and surges with ferocious energy. They were unique in their approach, mixing the sounds of saxes and even an ocarina–an instrument virtually unknown in rock away from the Troggs–into country and Chicago-style blues. The group continued trying to make it as a blues-rock band for most of 1967. Their sound began to change late in the year, just as music was turning psychedelic, and around the time just before Wim Bieler was drafted into the army. His exit heralded the end of the Q 65’s classic period. Nuyens, Baar, and Roelofs hooked up with Herman Brood (piano, vocals) and Henk Smitskamp (vocals, bass) to form a new, more psychedelic oriented outfit, which eventually evolved into a group called Circus, which lasted, in varying line-ups, for the year of 1968. Peter Vink, meanwhile, joined a group called Big Wheel, whose line-up included future Focus member Cyril Havermans. In 1969, a second Q 65 album was released, entitled Revival and made up of singles and latter-day tracks. The music was still powerful and very intense–perhaps too much so–if not as accessible. Had the line-up stayed intact, the group might even have found an audience. They still played well, even if it was experimental in nature (and what blues they played was more psychedelic than classic style). They might’ve given bands like the Creation a run for their money, but the Q 65 split up at just about this point. The Q 65 reformed in 1970 with Beer Klaasse on drums, and signed to Negram Records, staying together for one year and two LPs, Afghanistan and We Are Gonna Make It, which had a slightly more psychedelic orientation. 

The Q 65’s line-up changed during the early ‘70s as Nuyens exited to join Baar in a band called Rainman, while the Q 65 continued with a new line-up, featuring John Frederikz on vocals and Joop van Nimwegan on guitar. The original Q 65 reunited in 1980 and toured that year. The group continued in various configurations throughout the middle of the 1980’s. Jay Baar passed away in 1990, but a version of the band, with Wim Bieler as leader, continued playing into 1990’s. During the early 1970’s, Dutch bands such as Ekseption (Holland’s answer to The Nice) began getting a tiny bit of exposure in England and America, and in 1973, the floodgates fairly well opened, albeit briefly, with the chart-topping status of Focus. The Q 65 were around a little too early for their own good, in terms of finding any major exposure in England, much less America, but they were at least as worthy of being heard as any number of better known British bands of the period. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide…


In the '60s there were lots of killer beat bands in Holland. Many '60s garage fan are into them now, Outsiders and Q65 being the most prominet.. They started the band in early 1965. Befor Q, Peter Vink (bass) and Jay Baar (drums) played in another blues band called Leadbelly’s Limited . In The Hague there were lots of Indonesian Dutch bands played instrumental number from the '50s. Their mysterious sound also influenced to Q65. In the middle of '65 ,they had some live gigs and were called the “Dutch Pretty Things” because of their Ugly sound! But Peter Vink said “We were influenced by R&B, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding.. not Pretty Things”. They released their first single"You ’re the Victor" in Feb '66. It was frantic R&B punk with strange vocals and harp. It made #11 hit and stayed in the charts for 13 weeks.. Their 2nd single was “The Life I Live”. In this song they established their ugly sound. To adverise it, the record company made them reckless promotion . They were asled to go London by rubbur lifeboat! Then they would play at club in London but they were unable to obtain work permits, so they only appeared press and photo sessions. They went back by rubber lifeboat again, (actually they rode on a ship"Zilver'mee"which means Silver Seagull),and as soon as they saw Schevenning shore they boaded the rubber lifeboat as if they had sailed from England that way. At Schevenning shore,30000 fans were waiting for them. Kjoe(same pronouced Q in Dutch, which is what the fans called the band) had to run away to escape the enthusiastic fans. They had a gig at the pier. This promotion went well and it garnered them a Top 10 hit.
In '66 they released their first album “Revolution” (they chose the title because they felt it was a “revolutinary "album for them)which also inclueded a version of Sonny boy Williamson’s "Bring It Home” which lasted nearly fourteen minutes and other Blues and R&B covers. The album alsohad the killer original tunes,“I got Nightmares”“Sour Wine” . 

This fab R&B punk album sold 35000copies. They joined the Small Faces, Spencer Davis Group, Kinks, Pretty Things in Holland. In '67 they released Kjoe Blues EP(Q’s Blues), including 3Blues covers and a original “80%O”(it was an acid instrumental song about 80% Opium). 

They were into soft drag, and their sound changed. Their lyrics had mysterious double meanings. In '68 Wim was drafted into teh Army. This marked the end of the first Q65 era.
They regrouped in 1970. Between 1970 and 1971 they released “Afganistan"LP and "We Are Gonna Make It”. The sound was diffierent from their early era, more psychedelic…


Repress of 200 copies on transparent red vinyl. Q65 was revived in 1970 with the original line-up apart from Jay Baar, who was replaced by Beer Klaasse of Group 1850. 'Afghanistan' (1970) headed towards tough hard rock in an attempt to regain the band's original energy level. The result was rather dark-hearted, being close to the mood The Pretty Things created on 'Parachute'. 




Took me long enough to finally get a copy of this Dutch import CD. 'Afghanistan' is notably a Q65 re-grouping of the band but the line-up looks to be pretty much the same as their 1966 'Revolution' album {see my review} except for maybe one member. Said to be Q65's second 'proper' release. Tracks here that did it for me are "Love Is Such A Good Thing", their psych gem "Baby Don't Worry", the bluesy "Nobody Knows When You're Down And Out", "I Gotta Move" and "Don't Let Me Fall". Plus, their fourteen-minute "Rock & Roll Medley" is good too - with snippets of some truly great songs from the past like "Long Tall Sally", "Whole Lotta Shakin'", "Jenny Jenny" and "My Babe". Sure noticed that unless you're willing to spend some serious money, that MANY of the titles on the Pseudonym Records label is usually tough to find - most of the time. Nonetheless, this CD is a must-have.....By Mike Reed....~ 
















Frank Nuyens (guitar, vocals, sax, flute, harmonica) 
Wim Bieler (vocals, harmonica) 
Peter Vink (bass) 
Joop Roelofs (guitar) 
Jay Baar (drums)


01 Love Is Such a Good Thing
02 Injection
03 Baby Don’t Worry
04 I’m Glad
05 Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
06 Please Come Back to Me
07 We Are Happy
08 I Gotta Move
09 There Was a Day
10 Don’t Let Me Fall
11 Crumblin’
12 Night
13 Sexy Legs
14 I Just Can’t Wait
15 We’re Gonna Make It
16 Saddy
17 On the Highway/Graveyard Train
18 Rock 'N Roll Medley: Long Tall Sally, Whole Lot of Shakin’, Jenny Jenny 

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