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This top notch Dutch band from The Hague had their pinnacle during the early Seventies when they delivered some outstanding 24 carat symphonic rock albums. EARTH & FIRE was founded by the twin brothers Chris (guitar) and Gerard (keyboards) Koerts in '68. Soon bass player Hans Ziech, drummer Kees Kalis and singer Lisette joined them. Unfortunately Lisette had to give up singing because of a serious eye-disease and Kees Kalis left. They were replaced by Ton v/d Kley and the beautiful, very sexy Jerney Kaagman. She was a discovery by GOLDEN EARRING singer Barry Hay, they knew each other from the blossoming rock scene in The Hague.
When EARTH & FIRE had a hugh success with three Sixties poprock oriented singles "Seasons", "Ruby is the one" and "Wild and exciting" (in '70 all reached the Dutch Top 5), the band decided to become professionals. Gerard Koerts bought a Mellotron, this instrument changed the Dutch progrock history because EARTH & FIRE used it for a more lush symphonic keyboard sound. Eventually they developed a very unique progrock style (a bit similar to the French progrock band SANDROSE and UK band JULIAN'S TREATMENT featuring lots of organ, Mellotron, strong and sensitive electric guitar and distinctive vocals from Jerney Kaagman. And EARTH & FIRE remained successful with their single releases, the Mellotron drenched "Storm and Thunder" ('72, #6), "Memories" ('72, #1), "Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight" ('73, #3) and "Love of Life" ('74, #2) all reached the Dutch Top 10. Also the albums in that era sold very well and gained worldwide recognition: "Songs of the Marching Children" ('71, reaching #12), "Atlantis" ('73, reaching #6) and "To the World of the Future" ('75, reaching #7) are considered as 'progrock classics', especially in Japan EARTH & FIRE is even more popular than FOCUS! Gradually their sound turned into more poppy, culminating into the success of the very commercial song Weekend, reaching #1 and remaining 13 weeks in the charts! Also the following albums "Gate to Infinity" ('77), Reality Fills Fantasy" ('79, reaching #2)), "Andromeda Girl" ('81, reaching #12)) and "In a State of Flux" "82) lost most of the symhonic ingredients.
The albums "Song of the Marching Children" and "Atlantis" belong to the best of the Dutch progrock history. The epic title tracks from both albums (between 16 and 19 minutes) are recommended: the sound is very warm and melodic with lots of changing atmospheres, accelerations and surprising breaks. The one moment you hear a mellow organ, twanging acoustic guitars and a fairy-like voice from Jerney, the other moment there are bombastic eruptions with majestic Mellotron, heavy floods of organ and some fiery electric guitar work, topped by the powerful voice of Jerney. By the way, she has been married for almost 30 years with Bert Ruiter, former bass player from FOCUS...!
Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS
1. Atlantis (16:21)
...a) Prelude - 0:53
...b) Prologue (don't know) - 3:19
...c) The rise and fall (under a cloudy sky) - 2:41
...d) Theme of Atlantis - 3:40
...e) The threat (suddenly) - 2:10
...f) Destruction (rumbling from inside the Earth) - 2:57
...g) Epilogue (don't know) - 0:41
2. Maybe tomorrow, maybe tonight (5:46)
3. Interlude (1:48)
4. Fanfare (3:33)
5. Theme from Atlantis (1:51)
6. Love, please close the door (4:12)
- Jerney Kaagman / lead vocals
- Ton van de Kleij / drums, percussion
- Chris Koerts / acoustic & electric guitars, backing vocals
- Gerard Koerts / organ, piano, flute, Mellotron, synthesizers, virginal, backing vocals
- Hans Ziech / bass