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16 Jan 2017

Irish Coffe “Irish Coffe” 1971 Belgium Heavy Prog Rock











Irish Coffe “Irish Coffe” 1971 mega rare Belgium Heavy Prog Rock 
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Excellent vintage hard-rock made in Belgium in 1971 and originally released in the Triangle label. Their sound was clearly influenced by Deep Purple or even Uriah Heep, with killer guitar all over and good use of organ. This has been considered as a key album in the hard-rock field since the early days of collecting, with originals fetching really some money! High-quality reissue in 180g vinyl, nice carton with real original artwork, insert with liners and photos. ,,, 

This is really a great, albeit not all too unique rock record with some stellar guitar performances and passionate Robert Plant-inspired vocals. The first 3 tracks are fun as hell, and have a great bluesy feel to them combined with that Hendrix-esque badass edge that just make them really charismatic. A subgenre label for this album really should be blues rock, if not just for the chord progression on Can’t Take It. I also love I’m Lost, with its moving lyrics entailing heartbreak and it’s succeeding loss of identity. Unfortunately the first part of The Show really just didn’t appeal to me at all. They were trying to hard to be Queen with the saccharine chorus while sticking to their sonic roots and the end result just wasn’t all that coherent. The second part was much better, with the cavernous production and enjoyable guitar performance. “A Day Like Today” is a fun track too, possibly my favorite on the album, and I love the rhythm guitar on this track. It’s the most progressive track on the listing arguably, and the way the lyrics shout over the wild guitar improvisations before cutting into a psychedelic bridge with that soft bass line and distorted violin is awesome, and one of the best parts of the album really. 

Overall I enjoyed this thing a lot apart from duds like Show pt. 1 and the relatively uninteresting “When Winter Comes”. It’s not the greatest by any means at any point, but the energy conveyed through the songwriting and the vocals makes this a release worth jamming to when you’re alone in your room on a Friday night. ….. by…HotOpinions……. 

This extremely rare album was the only LP this Belgian band made in the 70’s. The album was obviously influenced by some of the prog hard rock bands of the UK like Uriah Heep and Deep Purple for example. Although Irish Coffee’s sound is a bit more raw compared to the sound of those two groups. The bands plays heavy progressive rock with some slight touches of psychedelia here and there. The lead singer might not please everyone but at least he sounds pretty unique. 

The quality of the material is mostly impressive. Just the album closer “I’m Lost” doesn’t really fit to the end I think. The rest of the material kicks ass more or less. I’m gonna rate this brilliant classic with 4,5 stars out of five. It’s definitely not a totally perfect record but not far from it either. This is how a prog hard rock album should be made…..by…CooperBolan ……… 

Irish Coffee’s debut is practically the definition of the Continental European rock sound of the era. Heavy guitar and Hammond organ are the main instruments, while the English vocals are delivered in a forceful gruff style. The music is deceptively complex, and a casual listen will likely result in labeling the album as “hard rock”. Perhaps, but in the same way as Nosferatu or Culpeper’s Orchard. Tracks like ‘Can’t Take It’, 'When Winter Comes’, and 'Hear Me’ pack a lot of ideas and meter shifts into their sub 5 minute time frames. The single tracks (presented as bonus tracks on the CD) are indeed more straightforward, and the last recordings come from 1974 where it appears the band hadn’t progressed at all. …by…ashratom …….. 

Ah, Irish Coffee - One of Belgium’s most famous bands with a debut album that’s a sought after collectable which, on those rare occasions an original copy comes on the market, garners some truly stratospheric prices … yeap, those out-of-this-world prices are the reasons I own a legitimate reissue of the LP. 

Irish Coffee was built around the talents of singer/guitarist William Souffreau. Starting as a teenager in the early 1960s, Soufrreau played in a string of Belgian rock bands including The Blue Jets, The Mings, The Four Rockets, and Demantia Preacox. 1966 saw him join keyboardist Paul Lambert and drummer Hugo Verhoye as members of Belgian singer Rocco Granata’s backing band The Cardinal Show Quintet. When Verhoye was abruptly fired in 1969, the other two quit the band deciding to continue their partnership as The Voodoos (great name for a Flemish band). The initial band line-up featured singer/guitarist Dirk Dierickx, keyboardist Lambert, former Mings lead guitarist Romaine De Smet (quickly replaced by Jean Van Der Schueren), Souffreau, and Verhoye. By 1970 they’d begun to attract some attention via performances at Aalst El Gringo Club while scoring a mentor in the form of manager Louis de Vries (then managing acts such as The Pebbles and Middle of the Road. de Vries asked the group to try their hand at some original material and helped them score a contract with the small Belgian Pirate label, but not before unilaterally changing their name to Irish Coffee (another great name for a Belgian band). They subsequently recorded and released their debut single: 
The band’s unexpected success saw Triangle management agree to release a supporting album - 1971’s cleverly-titled “Irish Coffee”. Produced by de Vries and reportedly completed in four days, the album featured eight Souffreau - Van Der Schueren originals which, in spite of somewhat lukewarm production, served to showcase the band’s considerable talent. As lead singer Souffreau had a great blues-rock voice - to my ears he sounded a bit like a cross between the late Rory Gallagher and a mid-1970s British band like Deep Purple, or early Uriah Heep. The rest of the band were equally talented. De Bisschop and Verhoye made for a dynamic rhythm section that kept everything focused and moving forward, while Lambert displayed a surprisingly tasteful and subtle touch on keyboards. Even more impressive was 16 year old lead guitarist van der Schueren … hard to believe he didn’t attract more attention given his phenomenal performances on the album. Perhaps not the perfect comparison, but at least to my ears the Deep Purple comparison was actually a pretty good baseline. If you enjoyed early/mid-career Purple, then these guys were probably going to have some appeal to you. 

- 'Can’t Take It’ opened up with some stunning van der Schueren fuzz guitar (hard to believe he was only sixteen at the time) and got even better when Souffreau’s growling voice kicked in. A killer slice of driving hard rock, this one was every bit as good as anything better known American and English competitors had on the streets. In fact, unless you knew these guys were Belgian, you’d have never guessed their nationality. As mentioned above, for some reason Souffreau’s vocal’s always reminded me a bit of the late Rory Gallagher. Amazing way to start an album. rating: ***** stars 
- Opening up with some nice Procol Harum-styled organ from Lambert, 'The Beginning of the End’ was a slow, blues-rock number with a fantastic bitterly dark melody and another winning performance from Souffreau. Elsewhere van der Schueren turned in one of his most impressive solos, though for some reason the mix saw it relegated to the left channel. rating: **** stars 
- Yeah, the spoken word intro was a bit on the pretentous side, but when an der Schueren kicked into action the mid-tempo ballad 'When Winter Comes’ took off with a vengence. Kudos to De Bisschop for providing a killer bass line throughout the song. rating: **** stars 
- So who would have thought a Belgian rock band would be able to pull off a funky rocker? Not me, but then that was before I heard 'The Show (Part 1)’. rating: **** stars 
- 'The Show (Part 2)’ found the band taking aim at heavy metal. The results were credible, but to my ears Souffreau sounded like he was simply trying too hard. That said, the rest of the band were top notch with kudos to drummer Verhoye and once again guitarist van der Schueren. rating: *** stars 
- 'Hear Me’ found the band adding a touch of jazz-rock fusion to their patented metal sound. At least on the surface that wouldn’t have sounded all that promising, but the results were actually great with Lambert turning in a Hammond solo that would have made Rod Argent proud. van der Schueren freakout guitar had to be heard … rating: **** stars 
- An atypical ballad, 'A Day Like Today’ initially didn’t do a great deal for me, however Souffreau’s tortured and impassioned vocal and van der Schueren solo eventually won me over. rating: **** stars 
- With one of the set’s most memorable melodies, a fantastic yearning vocal from Souffreau and another killer guitar from van der Schueren this was another winning performance. rating: ***** stars 

So here’s a real rarity - namely an album that not only lives up to the hype surrounding it, but actually exceeds that hype. Not only is this the best 1970s album to come out of Belgium, but it’s one of the best 1970s albums I’ve ever heard … period. As mentioned earlier, the problem is that an original copy will set you back a minimum of $600 - $1,000. It’s hard for me to justify that price for any album. You can find a host of reissues though most of the reissues are of doubtful legality (aka the 2002 Italian Arkama pressing). That leaves you with the band’s 1992 self-released CD-format collection on their Voodoo label (catalog number ). The Voodoo package (1,500 copies were pressed), included seven tracks not found on the original LP (mostly non-LP singles): 

The other option is finding the Guerszen issue which was done with cooperation from William Souffreau. The Guerszen package is features the original LP without any additional material 

With numerous personnel changes the band touring extensively in support of the collection, “Irish Coffee” sold several thousand copies in Belgium, but did little elsewhere. In spite of the lack of sales, the group continued to record sporadic singles over the next couple of years:………..by……RDTEN1……. 

William Souffreau (vocals/guitar) 
Hugo Verhoye (drums) 
Paul Lambert (organ) 
Jean Verschueren (lead guitar) 
Willy De Bisschop (bass) 

Tracklist 
1 Can’t Take It 4:05 
2 The Beginning Of The End 6:18 
3 When Winter Comes 4:50 
4 The Show (Part 1) 2:51 
5 The Show (Part 2) 2:59 
6 Hear Me 3:58 
7 A Day Like Today 6:51 
8 I’m Lost 4:32 
Bonus-Tracks: 
9 Masterpiece 3:04 
10 Carry On 3:10 
11 Child 3:40 
12 Down Down Down 2:59 
13 I’m Alive 4:11 
14 Witchy Lady 2:55 
15 I’m Hers 4:40 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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