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Earth and Fire - Earth and Fire CD (album) cover

EARTH AND FIRE

Earth and Fire

 

Symphonic Prog

3.35 | 46 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Proghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I remembered back as a kid when my dad bought "To the World of the Future", thinking there'd be no way in hell in ever finding out anything more about EARTH & FIRE, one of the great Dutch prog rock bands. My dad bought "To the World of the Future" not really knowing what he was buying (he wasn't exactly the most musically informed person out there), and since none of my family ever been to Holland, he bought that album either mistaking them for EARTH, WIND & FIRE, or simply liked the '70s futuristic cover artwork. This was back in the 1980s, and so I just thought getting info on this band was worthless. There was no Internet, and running in to people who collect this sort of stuff was rather rare. I never mentioned anyone them for the obvious reason of bewilderment or mistaking them with EW&F. Just to let everyone know, by the time they released "To the World of the Future", they were starting to explore disco, but hadn't yet abandoned prog.

In the 1990s, I met someone else who owned a few EARTH & FIRE albums and ever so glad they had many more albums, and I very much treasure "Song of the Marching Children" and "Atlantis" greatly (since I originally had cassette copies of these courtesy of that guy who owned EARTH & FIRE albums, and then me acquiring the original Dutch Polydor gatefold LP copies of those albums).

This self-entitled album was their debut LP, but they already released a couple singles prior, "Seasons" b/w "Hazy Paradise" (1969) and "Ruby is the One" b/w "Mechanical Lover" (1970), both A-sides ending up on this album. So this album ended up having two songs with original drummer Cees Kalis, and the rest with new drummer Ton van der Kleij. This here is the original LP, released on Polydor/Medium with the matchbox cover, in which the cover folds open to reveal matches, and of the song contents. In 1971, this album received a UK release on the Nepentha label, which features the Roger Dean cover (that's been used on the German Repertoire CD reissue as well as the Japanese reissue). The Nepentha LP is even harder to acquire than the Polydor/Medium matchbox cover, so I went for the matchbox cover (the Nepentha LP regularly goes for $200-400). This album is less polished than the albums to follow ("Song of the Marching Children", "Atlantis"), the Mellotron hadn't even yet appeared (although I suspected a little synthesizers was used near the end of "Twilight Dreamer"), and there's more of a late '60s psych feel.

The album opens up with "Wild and Exciting", which became a hit for them in their home country. "Vivid Shady Land" features some aggressive guitar from Chris Koerts, plus male vocals, and of course female vocals of Jerney Kaagman. "Seasons" was the very first song they ever recorded, as mentioned, previously released as a single. This song wasn't written by either of the Koerts brothers or any other EARTH & FIRE members, but George Kooysman of GOLDEN EARRING (who supported EARTH & FIRE and helped sign them to Polydor, the label Golden Earring was recording for). "Love Quiver" bears more than a striking resemblance to JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, right down to the vocal harmonies, although Jerney Kaagman's voice doesn't sound much like Grace Slick (more like STEELEYE SPAN's "Maddy Prior", but with a Dutch accent, or perhaps Mariska Veres of SHOCKING BLUE). But very unlike something from the AIRPLANE, you get a lengthy organ solo (rather than an extended Jorma Kaukonen guitar solo like on the "Volunteers" album). "21st Century Show" is much like the rest of the album, but features a nice flute solo. "What's Your Name" is a laid-back acoustic piece with flute. It sounds like Jerney Kaagman isn't doing any of the vocal duties here, not even backing vocals, the vocal duties seem to be from the Koerts twins, this song gives you a clue what EARTH & FIRE might have sounded like if they didn't feature a female vocalist. It's obvious that these guys need to brush on their English, but regardless, it's a pleasant piece, especially after the aggressiveness of "Love Quiver" (which preceeded it). It's understood that "Song of the Marching Children" and "Atlantis" shows the band at their best (I can't argue with that), this debut album is still excellent with promise of more great things to come.

Proghead | 4/5 |

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