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BRAINBOX

Proto-Prog • Netherlands


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Brainbox biography
Part of a vibrant Amsterdam pop music scene in the late sixties with their harder edged blend of psychedelic rock and Chicago blues, Dutch band Brainbox paid hommage to both American and British Contemporaries while at the same time developing their own more progressive brand of pop music.

Brainbox was formed in 1968 shortly after guitarist Jan Akkerman and drummer Pierre van der Linden joined 19 year-old singing prodigy Kazmierz " Kaz " Lux to lay down a couple of demos after the latter had won a talent contest sponsored by the Dutch Record label Bovema. Of Polish descent and Dutch upbringing Lux had previously sang with sevral Dutch pop bands but his heartfelt vocal deliveries were closer to the soul of Howlin`Wolf and Leadbelly while at the same time hitting the higher registers of Ella ( Fitzgerald ). Both Akkerman and van der Linden themselves were no strangers to the Amsterdam pop music scene with Akkerman having become one of the most famous young musicians in his homeland with a hit single, "The Russian Spy And I" in 1966 while playing with a band called "The Hunters". Having played proffessionally as early as the age of 10 by this time he had developed a distinctive rock guitar sound which drew more from jazz and classical sources most notably Tal Farrow, Diango Reinhardt, Bola Sete and Julian Bream. Van der Linden had also played with Akkerman in one of his earlier groups "Johnny And His Cellar Rockers" in addition to other Dutch pop groups including "After Tee" and "Met & Zonder". Newcomer bassist Andre Reynen completed the new band as Akkerman had played the bass parts himself on the two demo recordings and the stage was set.

While Lux`s emotive voicings sounded similar to contemporary blues rocker counterparts from the UK such as Rory Gallager ( actualy from The Republic of Ireland ) and Joe Cocker, when fused with Akkermans`s immaginative guitar the result was a blistering meltdown of emotive blues and heavy rock with jazz attitudes. They experimented with interpretations of the music of George Gershwin, Tim Hardin as well as Simon and Garfunkel`s "Scarborough Fair" in addition to their own compositions. Akkerman`s adventurous guitar work gave the band a progressive aspect wth his extensive soloing and intricate rhythms and resulted in a 16 minute plus showpeice, "Sea Of Delight", on their first self-titled album which was almost unheard of in pop music at the time. The flute was also an instrument which many psychedelic bands w...
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Buy BRAINBOX Music


Very Best Album EverVery Best Album Ever
Import
EMI 2002
Audio CD$6.99
$5.90 (used)
BrainboxBrainbox
Import
Esoteric 2011
Audio CD$11.02
$9.98 (used)
BrainboxBrainbox
Import
Pseudonym
Audio CD$49.99 (used)
PrimordiaPrimordia
Nettwerk Records 1994
Audio CD$4.31
$0.34 (used)
PartsParts
Import
Flawed Gems
Audio CD$22.99
To YouTo You
Import
Emi 1999
Audio CD$18.38 (used)
Getting CloserGetting Closer
Single · Import
Zyx Records 1997
Audio CD$997.99
$5.29 (used)
Brainbox - Get Ready - ZYX Music - ZYX 8616-12Brainbox - Get Ready - ZYX Music - ZYX 8616-12
ZYX Music
Vinyl$2.83 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Outersyncdom CD w/ Delerium / Sarah McLachlan / Brainbox NEW 1998 US $5.99 Buy It Now 1h 57m
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BRAINBOX shows & tickets


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BRAINBOX discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BRAINBOX top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.35 | 26 ratings
Brainbox
1969
2.80 | 5 ratings
Parts
1972
2.83 | 6 ratings
The 3rd Flood
2011

BRAINBOX Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
The Last Train
2004

BRAINBOX Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BRAINBOX Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
The Best of Brainbox
1971
4.00 | 3 ratings
To You
1972
3.00 | 1 ratings
A History
1979
3.15 | 4 ratings
The Very Best Brainbox Album Ever
2002

BRAINBOX Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Down Man / Woman`s Gone
1969
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sea Of Delight
1969
4.00 | 1 ratings
Summertime / Dark Rose
1969
0.00 | 0 ratings
To You / So Helpless
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cruel Train / Between Alpha & Omega
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Doomsday Train / Good Morning Day
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Smile ( Old Friends Have A Right To ) / The Flight
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Virgin / Mobileae
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Dilemma / If You Could Only Feel It
1971

BRAINBOX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 To You by BRAINBOX album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1972
4.00 | 3 ratings

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To You
Brainbox Proto-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Brainbox - To you (compilation) (1972)

In the late sixties and early seventies there were some great blues rock bands in Holland. Most famous are Cuby + Blizzards, The Living Blues and Brainbox. Brainbox started with an amazing line-up with heavy soul/blues singer Kaz Lux, our most famous Dutch guitar player Jan Akkerman (of Focus fame) and - a personal favorite - Pierre van der Linden on drums (Focus, Trace). When asking adults interested in rock, Brainbox is often mentioned as the best Dutch band ever.

When listening to this 2lp compilation it's isn't too hard to understand why. Brainbox has that celebrated 'heavyness' or 'bite' to it, that fanatic playing, that great thick sound with a brutal rhythm section and great subtle or shreddings guitar solo's. The vocals of Kaz Lux (who would later team up with Jan Akkerman on 'Eli') are very strong in period. A nice combination of soul, power (with that slightly distorted low) and some great screams in higher pitches. Over the years the band had some line-up changes, eventually Jan Akkerman and Pierre van der Linden left to join Focus. Luckily both members were replaced by strong musicians that do the job well, though before-mentioned players are of course impossible to replace.

Whilst Brainbox was mainly a blues rock band, the repertoire was expended with folk influences (a brilliant version of Scarborough Fair), hard rock and slightly progressive elements (mainly on the long version of Sea of Delight (unwisely not included on this compilation). Brainbox weren't too keen on song-writing and a lot of material presented consists of standards like 'Summertime' (best rock version!) and Reason to Believe.

On this double album, which was later released on a single cd, one can't find a lot of moments that aren't worthwhile for a serious listener of classic era rock and blues rock. Only the opening track 'Virgin' isn't that good, but I think the alternative recording sound of this specific song is largely to blame. No real favorites here, but a lot of great material that covers a variety of moods but remains powerful throughout.

Conclusion. A very strong compilation of this Dutch blues rock giant, with the absence of the full version of 'Sea of Delight' as only weak point. For vinyl collectors this release is highly recommended, though I must admit it doesn't have any recognizable progressive rock features. Perhaps fan of Focus will be excited to listen to earlier material of Akkerman/van der Linden. For those interested with a cd-player I recommend acquiring the remastered edition of the 'Blue dome' Brainbox debut, which practically has the same tracks and the full version of 'Sea of Delight'. Four stars for this one, great blues rock.

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 The Last Train by BRAINBOX album cover Live, 2004
4.00 | 2 ratings

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The Last Train
Brainbox Proto-Prog

Review by Rolf Bos

4 stars Before the Brainbox reunion started, some members were since 2001 playing in the Dutch bluesband Flavium. The line-up of that formation was Anne Geert Bonder and Rudy de Queljoe on guitar, Eric Bagchus on bass, Pierre van der Linden on drums and Kaz Lux on vocals. They played an exciting combination of Flavium blues and some of the best Brainbox songs.(A mix between blues, psychedelica and powerpop.) At the end of 2002 Kaz Lux introduced singer/blues harp player Jos Veldhuizen on stage, and told the audience about a complete reunion of both groups. Guitarist John Schuursma was willing to play in Brainbox again and Bonders continued Flavium with Veldhuizen and Rob Geboers on piano. Bagchus and van der Linden kept playing in both bands and did two shows the same evening, 'cause they did a tour with each other. Easter 2003 was their first concert. Kaz Lux kicked off the show with a solo act of half a hour, followed by Flavium and Brainbox as headliner. The last train is a valuable live recording which shows what a delightful band Brainbox was at that time. The cd opens with the bluesrock of Baby,with as special guest Rob Geboers on piano. To you and Cruel train belong to the best songs they made without Akkerman and are played longer than the original version.It contains fascinating guitarwork from Schuursma and de Queljoe. Another bluessong is Sinner's prayer, with Jos Veldhuizen on the blues harp. Doomsday train is a faster,more heavy song with Kaz Lux as extra guitarplayer. It's made a little longer and mostly they played it again at the end of the evening. Sea of delight is called a song about makin'love by Kaz Lux and has a jazzy guitarsection and a short drumsolo by masterdrummer van der Linden. Summertime is less powerful than the version with Akkerman.It sounds tame and is not something to call a highlight. The instrumental Mobilea is very pleasant and a pause for the voice of Kaz Lux. Dark rose is a song the audience likes to hear. A faster song with the second drumsolo from van der Linden. Between Alpha and Omega is a restful one with an extra long psychedelic guitarpart by Rudy de Queljoe. The end of the evening is almost reached. Time for a strong version of the all-time favourite Down man. That song really rocks! The last song Gloria is a favourite of Lux and was written by Van Morrison for his band Them. The last train was recorded in july 2004. In september of that year they did their last show. Brainbox was disbanded because Kaz Lux had hearing damage. Still he has, but armed with special hearing protection he decided to re-form Brainbox again. Since january 2010 they appear on stage again with Kees van der Laarsse on bass. Pierre van der Linden is member of Focus and Brainbox. I saw them in january and it was sold out.

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 Summertime / Dark Rose by BRAINBOX album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1969
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Summertime / Dark Rose
Brainbox Proto-Prog

Review by Vibrationbaby

— First review of this album —
4 stars Impossible to find third single ( with 2 other record sleeves that I know of ) released by Dutch prog/blues band Brainbox which is best known as one of Focus guirtarist Jan Akkerman`s first claims to fame. With Akkerman on both guitar and Hammond this superb cover of Gershwin`s classic provides a clear indication of the direction he was going to take with Focus and a testimony to the exceptional quality of early European progressive rock. Pierre van Der Linden, featured on drums here, would also join Focus on their 1972 album Moving Waves. The real passion on the track emanates from vocalist Kaz Lux who was inspired by 20th century American bluesmen on both tracks. The second track is a harder more upbeat bluesy track featuring swirling flute and Akkerman guitar fireworks which also appears on their first self-titled album as well as a few Best Of albums released in the seventies.

Although only of interest to hardcore collectors both tracks are still available on the 2002 CD " The Very Best Brainbox Album Ever " for those interested in exploring early Dutch progrock and pre-Focus Akkerman work.

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 Brainbox by BRAINBOX album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.35 | 26 ratings

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Brainbox
Brainbox Proto-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I just love those early progrecords who did so much for other later progbands. This is one of them. It is'n just a good record, but also an early taste of the best Dutch guitarist of all time: Jan Akkerman, who would later join with Thijs van Leer and startup FOCUS. Also Jan Akkerman - In Profile is a musthave for al progfans. But that aside, going back to Brainbox.

The first side conains only bluessongs with some progressive influences. Side two could be called proto-prog. Singer Kas Lux (who's later work can not compaire to what he does on this album) does a great job on this record. Also drummer Pierre van der Linden (also later to be found in FOCUS) gives te record some great rythmical solo's on side two.

A good album with some great songs and the finest guitarwork - and - some early influence to the dutch progressive scene has been important for the development of it. So, three stars. A great bluesy rock album with progressive edges!

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 Down Man / Woman`s Gone by BRAINBOX album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1969
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Down Man / Woman`s Gone
Brainbox Proto-Prog

Review by Vibrationbaby

— First review of this album —
4 stars Right in your face complainin`blues. This treasure features two of the meanest blues tracks from the late `60s that you`ve never heard. Those who are curious as to what guitar maestro Jan Akkerman was up to before making guitar freaks drool in the early seventies with his fret melting licks with Focus should check this out. These two singles demonstrate how accomplished a player he was in the sixties and combined with singer Kaz Lux`s soul ripping vocals this could easily be mistaken for something from the British blues explosion in the latter half of the sixties. Obviously of interest for die-hard collectors of vintage vinyl a mega rare demo was also released on the Elektra Label in the US in 1969. These tracks, recorded in 1968, were also the first two recordings made by the band before they acquired a bass player ( Akkerman plays bass on both cuts ). A session man is also featured on piano as well as future Focus drummer Pierre van der Linden. Both are also currently available on the CD release " The Very Best Brainbox Album Ever " for those who are not in possession of antiquated audio playback equipment. Classic sixties psychedelic blues from the Netherlands.

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 The Very Best Brainbox Album Ever by BRAINBOX album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2002
3.15 | 4 ratings

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The Very Best Brainbox Album Ever
Brainbox Proto-Prog

Review by Vibrationbaby

3 stars Brainbox were more of a pop band which was part of the Benelux invasion of the late sixties and this is a collection of most of their singles released during their brief existence from 1969 to 1972. Perhaps the biggest misconception surrounding this band is that Jan Akkerman was the guitarist throughout this period when in actual fact he appeared on only 3 singles and one album. Overshadowed by the work that Akkerman contributed to neo-classical rock monolith Focus, Brainbox should be remembered in their own right for their powerful showy blend of rock, folk and electric blues much to the credit of Kaz Lux`s angelic vocals which soar up into the stratosphere. In fact, while including everything Akkerman recorded with the band with the exception of the longer cut of "Sea Of Delight" ( we get to hear the single version here ), the other three guitar players which appear on this anthology with Lux are better suited to his bluesy style and don`t clash as much as Akkerman`s over the top antics which chomp more at the bit as evidenced on Dark Rose which is without question the bands staple. The difference between the guitar players can be clearly discerned on the instrumental Mobilea which has a gentle country feel to it which features Rudy de Queljoe who became the mainstay of the group after Akkerman left along with Hermann Meyer and later John Schuursma. Several exceptionally interpreted cover versions from the Akkerman " era" of well known pieces, most notably George Gershwin`s "Summertime" and Simon and Garfunkel`s "Scarborough Fair" will also surely raise some eyebrows upon first play for listeners with more "progressive" expectations. The final two tracks are performed by a band which was put together by the manager of the band who retained control of the band`s name after Lux departed on a solo career with drummer Frans Smit being the only left over member from the Kaz Lux lineups. Included here are the A sides of two singles taken from the only LP recorded by this lineup entitled " Parts". Perhaps included here to make the package more complete many would argue for the longer version of "Sea Of Delight" with Akkerman from the first album which fortunately is also available in CD format. One can see the predicament the new members were in, and one of the tracks entitled "Dilemma", whether intentionally or not, reflects this sentiment leaning more towards straight-forward rock while the other track the folky ballad, "Part Of Me Is Part Of You" attempts to move closer to the sound of the Lux lineups.

One problem with this compilation ( as with many compilations ) is that the tracks are not presented in chronological order perhaps for reasons of musical flow. However this leads to confusion especially given overlapping personel changes within the band over such a short period of time. One of those big "what ifs" certainly arise here as Akkerman, already with one solo album under his belt at the time this material was released, was literally on fire and at a creative peak with an already established virtuosity on his instrument. Ironically, Akkerman was fired by the band`s manager who wanted a more mainstream sound from the band and it was this that lead ultimately to the downfall of the band in the long run with the art/rock movement taking more precedence for popular music audience ears. Nonetheless the song-oriented music found here is actually superior to a lot of similar bands that appeared during the psychedelic craze of the late sixties. Unfortunately Brainbox arrived just alitle too late at a period where musical tastes were in a transition from music that spoke to the body and emotion to music that spoke more to the intellect. Nonetheless, fans of Bad Company, Spooky Tooth or Rory Gallager who have somehow bypassed Brainbox will have no problem appreciating this exceptional band which seemingly fell victim to changing times with all their important work being rationalized in this excellent anthology.

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 The Best of Brainbox by BRAINBOX album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1971
3.00 | 2 ratings

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The Best of Brainbox
Brainbox Proto-Prog

Review by Vibrationbaby

3 stars Not really a "best of" album per say but a stop-gap 2nd LP from Dutch blues-rockers Brainbox. Plagued with personel problems throughout their short 3½ year existence this album features a collection of singles featuring 3 different line-ups with vocalist Kaz Lux being the central component during the 1969-71 period which is featured here. Howling and crying the blues as well as incorporating folk- rock stylings from the UK Lux`s soul drenched vocals don`t immediately give the impression of an Amsterdam pop band emerging from the tail end of the sixties. Mostly song structured music, the fan of progressive rock nonetheless might find some music here worthy of note. Particularily from the other player of interest here, future Focus axe man Jan Akkerman. Akkerman certainly let`s the listener know that this is definitely a nod towards the future with his less straightforward guitar playing on 5 of the 12 tracks presented here. Unfortunately he was kicked out of the group as a result by their manager who had control of the Brainbox name. Because of Akkerman`s distinctive mor ecclectic style this album has the tendancy to sound like a Kaz Lux solo album with various musicians. The other guitarists, Herman Meyer, Rudy deQueljoe and John Schuurmsa also heard here have a much more "standard" approach and play it safer than Akkerman, although they do have their moments.

The dominant pieces for prog afficiados here are without question are the guitar- laden Dark Rose with Akkerman at the helm in addition to one of the best covers of George Gershwin`s "Summertime". Although Janis Joplin beat Brainbox in psyching it out the version here does the piece justice with Akkerman`s superior guitar treatments as well as his Hammond organ work. The only other cover that beats the Brainbox rendition that I`ve heard is perhaps the Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong collaboration! All the other tracks feature Lux`s emotive lyrics ( with the exception of "To You" and "Doomsday Train" which were penned by temporary guitarist Herman Meyer ) and for the most part it is Lux who is the real centerpiece on all the tracks. Shortly after the release of this album Lux recorded a few more singles with the band in the same blues/rock vein and then hit the road with a solo career, often playing with ex-members of Brainbox including a couple of solo collaborations with Akkerman.

"The Best Of Brainbox" has never been released in CD format and this is not likely to occur as all tracks have been made available by EMI Holland on the more recent 2002 CD compilation " The Very Best Brainbox Album Ever ". But for hunters of rock music artifacts it is signifigant both for the excellent cover artwork ( which actually has something to do with the band! ) and as a classic rock document from the fledgling early seventies rock scene from continental Europe. Definitely worth tracking down if you are a connoissuer of seventies vintage vinyl and haven`t dug up this treasure yet.

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 Brainbox by BRAINBOX album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.35 | 26 ratings

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Brainbox
Brainbox Proto-Prog

Review by Agemo

4 stars The music of Brainbox is best described as progressive blues rock with a psychedelic vibe. The main attraction is of course the guitar playing of Jan Akkerman, but the soulful vocals of Kaz Lux are very distinctive for the music as well. Added with the powerful bass of Andre Reynen and the creative, jazzy drumming of Pierre van der Linden this is a great album.

It opens with one of their most progressive tracks, Dark Rose. This is a sort of proto-Hocus Pocus (the Focus hit). There are some very fast and furious guitar breaks by Akkerman and a wonderful flute solo played by Solution member Tom Barlage. It takes some time to recover from this one, so the next song is a not so interesting cover of a Tim Hardin song. This is followed by a nice blues tune with some typical Akkerman chords. The adaptation of Scarborough Fair has again a progressive flavour. Akkerman plays acoustic guitar and Barlage again adds his beautiful flute. On the album is also a version of the classic Summertime. This is one of the better versions, with again a brilliant guitar solo. Sinner's Prayer is another typical blues song. The b-side of the album is occupied by the psychedelic Sea of Delight with long guitar, bass and drum solos. It starts and ends as an ordinary rock song, but the long middle part is truly a psychedelic trip. The best moments are occupied by Akkerman's guitarwork, but there a also some tedious moments with the inevitable drum and bass solos. Overall a good track though.

On the CD release you can also find the a- and b-sides of their first two 45s. Down Man is a good original song, Woman's Gone is a sad blues song with the piano played by Rob Hoeke and bass by Akkerman, because at that time they didn't have a bass player. The second single is an edit of the long Sea of Delight, paired with a rock song with a wah-wah drenched guitar. This is as good as an interesting album, because soon after this release Akkerman and van der Linden became Focus members and went on for great musical fortune.

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