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7 Jan 2017

Tax Free “Tax Free”1970 with “Wally Tax”& “Leendert Busch” (two ex- «The Outsiders») Dutch Psych Folk Rock

Tax Free “Tax Free”1970 with “Wally Tax”& “Leendert Busch” (two ex- «The Outsiders») Dutch Psych Folk Rock
Tax Free was a short-lived band led by Wally Tax. This album is of a type that is all too rare: it manages to be placid without being a bore. Engaging and hypnotic, this soft jazz rock has many fine moments in "Along The Shadowed Quay”, “Back At The Quinnipiac”, and the lovely “My Lady Truth”. There are a couple of instances wherein the group seems to be on the verge of something heavier (“Yiva”, “Evening”), but it never quite happens. If it did, this might rate five stars, but any album with a track as brilliant as “Ginny” (the story of an amnesia victim spending his days at the dead letter office for a clue to his identity) is worth searching out. …by… ochsfan ……….. 

The only group of Amsterdam album, created in 1969 on the ruins of the collapsed «The Outsiders» team. Wally Tax and Leendert Busch (two ex- «The Outsiders»), teamed up with David Oliphant and Jody Purpora, rehearsing in the studio, which was under the bridge at night (so as not to interfere with the sound of the tram). Having collected enough material, the spring of 1970 the band went to the New York recording studio Jimi Hendrix, newly opened «Electric Lady Studios» and recorded their debut album «Tax Free». The album was produced Lewis Merenstein, who was invited to record John Cale, with whom Merenstein collaborated in several of his albums, including «Vintage Violence». Also in the recording took part known jazz bassist Richard Davis. Album released Recording Studio «Polydor», it was sold a few copies and all. The musicians returned to his home, and by the summer the band broke up. After the collapse of the «Tax Free» Wally Tax began a solo career, made records and composed songs for Lee Towers and «Champagne». Died April 10, 2005 in his hometown of Amsterdam……. 

As the front man for The Outsiders, by 1969 singer/multi-instrumentalist Wally Tax was living the true rock star lifestyle, complete with adoring fans, high profile love affairs, wanton spending, and a growing fondness for drugs and alcohol. After the release of The Outsiders’ third album (1969’s “CQ”), Tax decided to strike out on his own. 

Tax’s initial post-Outsiders project found him working with Outsider drummer Leendert Busch, Ray Gordel, English guitarist David Oliphant, and American keyboardist Jody Purpora. The quintet began rehearsing, picking up a manager in Marty Thau and a recording contract with Polydor Records which quickly agreed to finance an album. Tax and company (sans Gordel), subsequently traveled to the US where they began working on their debut album. Under the name Tax Free they began recording in Jimi Hendrix’s recently completed Electric Lady Studios (always wondered if the band name was inspired by the Jimi Hendrix song). With Lewis Merenstein producing, anyone expecting to hear a set of Outsiders-styled R&B and psych numbers was in for a major shock. Interestingly Merenstein was probably best known for his work on Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” album, and that collection’s unique sound was apparently what Tax had in mind when recording 1970’s cleverly-titled “Tax Free”. From that perspective this album wasn’t the most original set you’ve ever heard. With a hefty assist from bassist Richard Davis (who’d played on “Astral Weeks”), tracks like ‘Along the Shadowed Quey’, 'The Crest Lie’, and 'Backed by the Quinnipiac’ bore more than a passing resemblance to Morrison and “Astral Weeks”. Now I happen to be a big Morrison fan so the similarities don’t bother me. I’ve also always found it fascinating that a skinny Dutch guy could turn in such an impressive approximation of Morrison’s stylings. Admittedly, Tax only handled about half of the vocals with keyboardist Purpora taking lead on the rest, but both of them were first rate singers. Geez, it almost comes off as a tribute album. And as mentioned, anyone familiar with Tax’s work with The Outsiders was probably going to be stunned by the strength and versatility he displayed on this set - hard to imagine The Outsiders tackling the jazzy 'The Crest Lie’. The down side of this is … well it sounded like a Van Morrison album. If you weren’t a Van Morrison fan, this wasn’t going to strike a chord with you. Not to sound like a broken record, but the results are so different from what I was expecting, I’m giving it an extra star….by Bad Cat records……… 

Wladimir «Wally» Tax — vocals, flute, acoustic guitar 
David J.L. Oliphant — electric guitar 
Jody W. Purpora — vocals, keyboards 
Leendert H.M. Busch — drums 
Jerry Spaulding — saxophone 
Ron Johnsen — vibes, engineer 
John Cale — electric viola 
Richard Davis — string bass 
Lewis Merenstein — producer 

Yiva 5:23 
Along The Shadowed Quay 3:56 
The Great Lie 5:00 
Day Revealed Your Face 2:51 
Ginny 4:32 
Amsterdam 4:58 
My Lady Truth 4:19 
Evening 3:42 
Back By The Quinnipiac 6:24 

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