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Golden Earring - Eight Miles High CD (album) cover

EIGHT MILES HIGH

Golden Earring

 

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3.82 | 64 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 415

Golden Earring had and still has a leading role in the history of the Dutch rock music. Golden Earring was formed in the mid of 1960 in The Hague, Holland and still is active in our days, albeit slowing down on their prolific discography. They've managed to maintain a big popularity in many European countries all over these years. Golden Earring had made their name in their native Holland by dominating the charts with a series of The Beatles- aping singles. In between this early stage of Golden Earring's existence and the career zenith of "Radar Love", there lies a transitional period covering the years 1970-72. During these years the band played a brand of rock popular as many headlining European groups of the era, a blend of the two budding genres of progressive rock and heavy metal, with an emphasis on the contrast between the heavy and the light. This resulted in an overlooked period of the band's history which produced three excellent albums of the genre, the 1969's "Eight Miles High", the 1970's "Golden Earring", also known as "Wall Of Dolls" and the 1973's "Moontan". The first of these three albums is the one which will be the subject of this my review.

However and strangely, their unique brand of Rock'n'Roll has largely been overlooked by the American audiences. In reality, the long lived Dutch rock band is of course best known for the most casual music fans in the United States for approximately two songs, by their 1973 worldwide breakthrough hit "Radar Love" recorded on their ninth studio album "Moontan", which is an arena rock milestone that had been deliberately constructed to appeal to the American marketplace, and for their 1982's hit "Twilight Zone", which was recorded on their sixteenth studio album "Cut". This is a very curious and interesting thing because ironically enough, the music that Golden Earring created has always been exactly what America likes, pure and honest Rock'n'Roll that acknowledges but never gives in to the current trends.

This 1969 album shows a great band at the peak of their powers. On the scale of great psychedelic albums this should be high. Listen to Barry hay's flute open track, "Song Of A Devil's Servant", and you are transported somewhere else entirely, which is the achievement of only truly great music. As well as being highly psychedelic this album is also a very heavy rock album at times. The band had evolved from a very good pop band on their first album to a very serious psychedelic hard rock band on this, their fifth album. However, the band didn't make an album this psychedelic again.

The line up on the album is George Kooymans (lead and backing vocals and lead guitar), Barry Hay (lead and backing vocals, flute and rhythm guitar), Rinus Gerritsen (bass, organ and piano) and Sieb Warner (drums and percussion).

"Eight Miles High" has only five tracks. The album is divided into two parts, four tracks on the first side of the LP and one lengthy track fills the entire second side of the LP. So, among the favorite tracks of the band is certainly the over eighteen-minute song "Eight Miles High", the track that fills the entire side two of the album. Golden Earring in 1969 was still pretty much at the beginning of their musical career. The title song caused a worldwide sensation with its extensive guitar duels, the imaginative drumming and many surprising tempo changes. This marathon version of The Byrds' classic was sometimes extended to over 45 minutes during live concerts and had hardly any resemblance to the original, except for the chorus. The bass set the tone here and was the dominant instrument. It was wonderfully rowing with its lines alternated with long-lasting and stretched to the madness of single tones. But, in between, there were wonderful drum escapades, which culminated in a solo that was about four minutes long. The whole thing was enhanced by orgiastic screams and wild moaning. But the four other titles, which are on the first side of the LP left a very strong impression too. In the opener "Landing", Gerritsen plays very well his organ that paired with a rousing lead guitar, the band fires here a great job. With a quiet flute intro begins "Song Of A Devil's Servant". The title is steadily increasing through the use of an acoustic guitar and quiet vocals, before Golden Earring then bring out the heaviness again. It's probably the catchiest song of the album. Central here too is a class solo by Kooymans on the guitar. On "One Huge Road" we can see so much dynamism and power in this title. A heavy and sluggish with very intense lead vocals, but on the other hand, "Everyday's Torture" comes out of the speakers. That is a highlight of this album, too.

Conclusion: "Eight Miles High" is one of the better things that Golden Earring ever produced. The transition from the beat/pop to rock is pretty well complete by this release. Its sound is hard rock and heavy psych with some 60's vibes. It's nice to see how Golden Earring can implement progressive rock elements without ever losing the rock feel, which is a pretty rare thing. As I mentioned above, the band didn't make an album this psychedelic again, but if you like of this album and you haven't heard their music before, besides "Radar Love" and "Twilight Zone", try "Golden Earring", "Moontan" or even "Seven Tears". You aren't losing your time cos all these albums have some great musical moments.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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