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Prog Folk • Netherlands

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Flairck biography
Founded in The Netherlands in 1978

FLAIRCK are a Dutch ensemble formed by Erik Visser, an Indonesian-born acoustic instrumentalist with classical training and a strong interest in many forms of world music. The band released their first studio album 'Variaties Op Een Dame' (Variations on a Lady) in 1978, and has issued more than two dozen studio, live and compilation releases since then.

The band incorporates a number of world influences in their work, which has been described as chamber music but which actually features many styles including classical, folk, jazz and blues, as well as Eastern European and Celtic traditional music. The band primarily performs original compositions, and has worked with a number of renowned world music artists including Georges Moustaki, Nelleke Burg and Dimitri van Toren. The group has also recorded and performed with numerous symphony orchestras and has contributed scores for film, stage and ballet.

Visser and the other band members have a strong interest in obscure and exotic acoustic instruments, and have amassed a collection of more than 150 wind, string and percussion instruments, many of which are used in their studio recordings and live performances.

The band celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2002 with the release of a multi-disciplined DVD dedicated to the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. The video features original scores by the band as well acrobatics, detailed views of Bosch's work and interviews of various band members. Visser took advantage of a hiatus by the band in 2003 to release a solo work entitled 'One Man Parade'.

FLAIRCK are a classic example of a progressive musical collective with wide-ranging influences and a constantly evolving sound. They are a logical and welcome addition to the ProgArchives.

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Variaties Op Een Dame / Gevecht Met de EngelVariaties Op Een Dame / Gevecht Met de Engel
The Very Best Of-Diamond CollectionThe Very Best Of-Diamond Collection
$16.95 (used)
Flairck: Sleight Of Hand LP VG++/NM Canada EMI America ST-17220 punchholeFlairck: Sleight Of Hand LP VG++/NM Canada EMI America ST-17220 punchhole
EMI America
$17.99 (used)
Flairck - Circus - Polydor - 2417 353Flairck - Circus - Polydor - 2417 353
$15.99 (used)
Original recording
$6.00 (used)
Bal MasquBal Masqu
$22.90 (used)
$22.90 (used)
Belle Antique 2014
$33.94 (used)
Flairck 10 the EmigrantFlairck 10 the Emigrant
Belle Antique 2014
$16.69 (used)
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FLAIRCK - Emigrant - CD - Import - **Excellent Condition** - RARE USD $51.95 Buy It Now 1h 36m
Flairck Variations on a Lady Dutch Folk Jazz LP NM Vinyl Extras Ship Free USD $5.95 Buy It Now 1 day
FLAIRCK 'Sleight Of Hand' Original US 1st press promo 1986 STILL SEALED LP USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Flairck - Variations On A Lady LP GREEK PRESSING 1979 USD $16.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Flairck - Live In Amsterdam - 2646 103 - 2-LP Vinyl Record USD $13.09 Buy It Now 2 days
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Flairck - Gevecht Met De Engel LP VG+/VG Polydor Import USD $17.50 Buy It Now 6 days
Flairck East West Express / Circus 7" Single EX Vinyl Record POSP 568 P/S USD $10.13 Buy It Now 6 days
TEMPEST Serrated Edge CD OOP Folk PROG (Mercedes Lackey, Jethro Tull, Flairck) USD $26.99 Buy It Now 7 days
FLAIRCK: The Lady's Back (Gevecht Met De Engel) LP Dutch Folk/Prog IMPORT USD $20.00 Buy It Now 7 days
6 European FOLK LP Flairck Tin Whistles Chieftans John Renbourn CLEAN VINYL USD $16.99 Buy It Now 7 days
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Flairck-Alive Dutch folk prog Japanese SHM-CD Mini lp 2 cds USD $34.99 Buy It Now 7 days
FLAIRCK 1st Pressing LP 12" Vinyl 1983 POLD5081 VG+ USD $4.75 Buy It Now 8 days
George Moustaki & Flairck/Self Titled/1982 Polydor LP USD $6.32 Buy It Now 9 days
FLAIRCK: Sleight Of Hand LP (Netherlands, inner, sm EMI library toc, v. sl cw) USD $15.00 Buy It Now 10 days
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FLAIRCK "Variations On A Lady" 1978 (Polydor/PROMO) Fusion EX/EX!!!! USD $5.99 Buy It Now 12 days
Flairck - Variaties Op Een Dame JAZZ CLASSICAL LP NM (Netherlands Import) USD $12.98 Buy It Now 13 days
The Very Best of Flairck (CD, Diamond, AM) The Emigrant, Fur Elise USD $12.95 Buy It Now 13 days
FLAIRCK Self Titled 1983 VINYL LP UK Import Folk Prog Polydor 5081 USD $11.00 Buy It Now 13 days
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Flairck - Variations on a Lady Vinyl LP German 1st Press World Music Neo-Folk USD $18.98 Buy It Now 14 days
Flairck 7" vinyl single record East-West Express UK POSP568 POLYDOR 1980 USD $16.39 Buy It Now 15 days
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LP Vinyl 12" 1978 Flairck Variaties Op Een Dame VG+ Polydor 2925 072 455BA USD $9.75 Buy It Now 16 days
George Moustaki - Moustaki & Flairck LP French Chanson 1982 Erik Visser France USD $19.99 Buy It Now 16 days
Flairck Gevecht Met De Engel 5 Track Vinyl LP USD $17.72 Buy It Now 16 days
LP Vinyl 12" 1980 Flairck Gevecht Met De Engel VG+ Polydor 2925 097 519BA USD $14.50 Buy It Now 16 days
Flairck~Gevecht Met De Engel~1980 Neo-Classical Folk~Netherlands IMPORT~VG++ LP USD $15.96 Buy It Now 16 days
FLAIRCK S/T LP VINYL UK Polydor 1983 9 Track (Pold5081) Sticker On Front Of USD $6.32 Buy It Now 17 days
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Flairck-Gevecht met de engel 1980 Dutch Polydor 2925097 M(-)/M IMMACULATE 2nd LP USD $9.00 Buy It Now 18 days
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FLAIRCK De Gouden Eeuw (Dutch edition of The Golden Age ) ~ CD ~ NEAR MINT USD $19.99 Buy It Now 20 days
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FLAIRCK discography

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

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

3.77 | 43 ratings
Variaties Op Een Dame
3.93 | 33 ratings
Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back]
3.49 | 25 ratings
2.80 | 11 ratings
Moustaki & Flairck
3.20 | 16 ratings
Bal Masqu
3.04 | 16 ratings
Sleight Of Hand
3.31 | 4 ratings
Flairck 10 [Aka: The Emigrant]
4.00 | 11 ratings
De Optocht
2.67 | 9 ratings
Kamers / Chambers
2.83 | 9 ratings
De Gouden Eeuw
1.31 | 4 ratings
Cuerpos Tocados - Music For The Body
4.31 | 26 ratings
Symphony For The Old World

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

4.08 | 12 ratings
Live in Amsterdam
2.18 | 8 ratings
Flairck & Orkest
4.00 | 4 ratings
3.94 | 6 ratings
3.20 | 6 ratings
En Vivo en Chile

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

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

4.00 | 5 ratings
Twee en twintig oeuvre cd box

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Variaties Op Een Dame by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.77 | 43 ratings

Variaties Op Een Dame
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Well, I have never heard of this dutch quartet until my good friend Erik Neuteboom told me about them.Variates Op Een Dame is their first album, released in 1978. It really surprised me a lot, since the music here is totally acoustic and does not even have drums. So it is not rock. In fact, it is hard to label their sound because Flairck is simply too different, even if their influences are easy to tell: folk, classical, jazz, eastern and world music in general, among others. All wrapped up by their sheer musicianship and excellent songwriting abilities. The instrumentation is quite simple: acoustic guitars, violin, flutes and acoustic bass guitar. Some odd instruments like sitar and pan flute are also included, although the booklet does not say exactly who played what.

Although there is no rock, the songs are quite energetic most of the time, showing off both their great technic and fine craftsmanship in penning good tunes. Sometimes they take their virtuosity a little too far, as most 70´s acts did, but that´s forgivable. After all, it was hip then and those moments don´t last too long. And their sound is definitely progressive: just listen to the many variations and mood swings of the title track with its 21:25 running time. Not too many groups can hold anyone´s attention for that long in a purely instrumental basis, with such few instruments and no electronic effects at all. Besides the tunes are quite complex and surely takes time to fully enjoy the music here, but you´ll be reward if you do listen carefully. There are no lows and all the tracks are very strong. I really liked the even flow of the songs, making it a very nice listen all the way through. All is helped by the brilliant recording, that balanced the instruments well and clear. The cover is also great.

Conclusion: quite a debut! it´s hard to believe they started in a year when prog music in general were in such low moment. If you like something original and acoustic, or good music in general, this is a CD you can not miss. I´m looking forward to hear their next works. Recommended!

 Circus by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.49 | 25 ratings

Flairck Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 1980 Flairck released their classic live album ''Live in Amsterdam'', a show that meant to be among the last contributions of Peter Weekers to the band.When he left, his place was taken by Annet Visser, while the new line-up became complete with the addition of Ted de Jong, the man could play various percussions, the xylophone, the sitar, the vibraphone and several other traditional instruments.The new formation of Flairck returned in 1981 with the album ''Circus''.

You should forget about the deep dives of the band into Chamber Folk and Classical Music, because this third album sounds more like World Music mixed with Ethno Prog, borrowing elements from nearly every possible corner of this mighty planet.Four lengthy tracks, all of them clock at over 10 minutes, exhibiting a wide range of acoustic instruments and several traditional musical styles as well as the standard interplays heard in Flairck's musicianship.At this point they sound like a less-focused MANEIGE, they shared the same taste for an affair between Folk Music and Fusion, creating emphatic instrumental interactions with lack of a vocal content and producing rich, all-acoustic soundscapes.On the other hand the material here contains so many national sounds and sights, that becomes a bit directionless at moments, while the music becomes hard to follow due to a very academic approach.These lovely symphonic interludes have been significantly reduced and instead you get a multi-ethnic proposal, which has its own charm, but leaves much to be desired.Echoes of Eastern, Andean, Balkan, Mediterrenean, Country and Spanish Music can be heard at specific moments during this Folk/Fusion orgasm of different colors, but I guess I am among the few people considering that this ends up to be rather messy.The performances are trully virtuosic and flawless, no doubt about it, and Flairck had to be one hell of an all-acoustic mini orchestra back at the time, but ''Circus'' fails to deliver the great feelings of the previous albums.

So, some strange situation here.I think the instrumental execution belongs among the very best ever to be displayed by the Hollanders.I just believe the result is rather chaotic, unfocused and ultra-professional for casual listeners.At least the title of the album was really succesful and the cover art is among the best you can find around.Recommended for lovers of Ethnic Music and Acoustic Prog...2.5 stars.

 Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back] by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.93 | 33 ratings

Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back]
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The first album of Flairck was unique in its own way and quite succesful, receiveing three music awards, among them an Edison one.For their second work the Visser brothers recruited new female violininst Sylvia Houtzager, while they also changed the recording home, heading for the Dureco Studio in Weesp.The second album carried the title ''Gevecht met de engel'' (''Battle with the angel''), although its English version was named ''The lady's back''.Both versions were released in 1980 on Polydor.

Another impressive amalgam of Folk and Chamber Music, resulting a charming acoustic Fusion album, was the proposal of the band, although this time the symphonic references are more pronounced, making Flairck something of a European equivalent to MANEIGE, despite the different traditional references.Flairck sound more romantic and sensitive, performing four mini-suites on the opening side and a 22-min/three-part epic composition on the flipside.The album is a storm of flute/violin interplays with references to Classical and Medieval periods, characterized by nice breaks from dramatic segments to soft soundscapes and sweet melodies.The long title-track sounds like a Classical suite performed on acoustic guitars, flute and violin with absence of drums and focusing on stretched individual executions, sometimes lasting a bit too long.However the instrumental depth and superb, melancholic atmosphere are definitely surprising.The opening side actually sounds more progressive, as most of the pieces contain extended instrumental interactions and plenty of shifting climates with some fantastic executions, while the epic piece is more romantic in nature with a more mellow mood.

This acoustic ensemble was pretty original and ''Gevecht met de engel'' is a beautiful work of Folk/Fusion with dramatic instrumental textures and attractive interplays.Strongly recommended, even if you are not a fan of totally acoustic music...3.5 stars.

 Variaties Op Een Dame by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.77 | 43 ratings

Variaties Op Een Dame
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Acoustic ensemble from Ulvenhout, Holland, performing around guitarist Erik Vesser.The first rehearsals of the band took part in 1976 with Peter Weekers on wind instruments, Erik's brother Hans on bass and female violin player Judy Schomper.Two years of preparation followed before the band signs a deal with Polydor and releases the debut ''Variaties op een Dame'' in 1978.

Flairck were like no other band regarding Holland, they were a band with an all acoustic but very rich sound, somewhat divided between Classical Chamber Music and Folk.The first side of the original LP contains rather laid-back musicianship with many folk references, the guitar playing of Erik Visser remains in the background with no particular surprises and the majority of the instrumental arrangements is led by the talent of Weekers and its dominant work on flutes, pipes and whistles.On ''Oneven wals'' though things become more serious.Plenty of great interplays and beautiful harmonies on an uptempo acoustic piece full of lovely soundscapes and balanced work on bass, flutes, violins and acoustic guitars, sounds a delicate piece stepping both into symphonic and folk territories.Of course the album is mostly known for its almost sidelong eponymous suite, clocking at 21 min. long, and offering all the basic tunes met in the first side.From melancholic passages with crying violins and depressive flutes to energetic Chamber Music with Classical references and some nice, fiery battles between the musicians.A great track, however the middle-based violin solo prevents from being rather great.

The album received some high praise back in the days, winning several awards as a very innovative release.And actually it is, with its deep energy hidden behind the acoustic instrumentation making it almost a must-have for fans of challenging acoustic experiences.But even a more rock-friendly prog fan will met some desired interplays in here.Recommended.

 En Vivo en Chile by FLAIRCK album cover Live, 1995
3.20 | 6 ratings

En Vivo en Chile
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars The so far last (final ?) live album from these Dutch masters of symphonic prog/folk rock.

And a different kettle than their other live albums. This one is much more laid back and somber than the other live albums. The instrumentation is down to the bare basics and the dynamics is on a different level again. Even a great song like Variations on A Lady has lost a lot of it's life.

That is my problem here. Flairck is fantastic and can blow any band - Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Dream Theater, Rush, Metallica & Co - cleanly of the stage with their vitality and musicality. And those who doubts me (or laughs out loud/requires medical attention due to strained tummy muscles) ; check out the other live albums. But they left the pulse and vitality at home. What's left is a band working on 2/3 of their capacity and perhaps creating a new musical expression by that. But I want the good old Flairck back from the other live albums. Maybe that is not possible. But this live album is not Flairck at their best, I am afraid. It is still a good live album though and is recommended. All Flairck albums is recommended, in my humble views. Flairck is a truly fantastic band, in my anything but humble opinion.

3 stars

 Symphony For The Old World by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.31 | 26 ratings

Symphony For The Old World
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

5 stars Flairck exits (??) with their most ambitious project ever.

A double live album full of folk music is not what should entice a symph head like myself. But this album, although live, has a lot in common with the double concept albums from the symph prog scene. Like for example Genesis album Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Then you have a look at the tracklisting here and you think that does not make sense whatsoever. Well, you are wrong.

Symphony For The Old World consist of made up folk music symphonies from east, west, north and south. That and a finale and an encore. I believe all of this is new music too, played live. All symphonies are on average 25 minutes long. And it is easy to detect which symphony you are listening to. The starting symphony The West, all twenty-four minutes of it contains a lot of bluegrass, country and jazz in addition to South American folk music. That off course refers to the Americas, north and south. The twenty-seven minutes long The East symphony have a lot of gypsy, Eastern Europe and further afield folk music. That is the Disc 1.

Disc 2 starts with the twenty-three minutes The North with a good nod to the Swedish folk music scene, Icelandic psalms and in particular; the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. The best symphony on Symphony For The Old World, in my view. But you would not excect anything else from a Scandinavian, would you ? The longest symphony here, clocking in at over thirty minutes, is The South which contains Spanish flamenco and a lot of other influences I am not able to detect due to a large hole in my knowledge base. The five minutes each Finale and Encore ties up the loose ends.

Symphony For The Old World is by all means a symphonic prog album, containing folk music. Period. The musicianship is excellent and Flairck has exceeded themselves here by a solid margin. The quality of the symphonies are excellent and the concept is easy to follow. If this indeed is the final Flairck album, they have given us something the coming generations of music lovers will cherish as the masterpiece it is. And that from one of the best bands this scene has ever witnessed. I cannot recommend this masterpiece highly enough to anyone interested in excellent progressive music. Hence my verdict.

5 stars

 Alive by FLAIRCK album cover Live, 1990
3.94 | 6 ratings

Flairck Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars A truly best of by Flairck.

There is no points of releasing a greatest hits album when you get your band together and give it all in a live setting. In particular; when you take a long and hard look at your impressive long career and choose the best of the best to play that evening/those evenings. Then you fire up the band and tape the result.

The result is given. Flairck has some great albums and songs under their belts in additions to some not-so-greats and one turkey. Well, that's the world according to me and it is therefore a highly subjective opinion. But I really value this band and give many thanx to ProgArchives for pointing me in their direction.

There is not much point of even describing this music. The music is like symphonic prog with all the electric instruments removed and a solid dosage of folk/gypsy music added. The music appeals to a wide variety of prog rock fans. The second CD includes the best music here and the final three tracks is exceptional superb. But before that, we have been taken through some truly great music, performed by a band at their best.

This double album is a superb introduction to this exceptional band and comes highly recommended.

4 stars

 Sleight Of Hand by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.04 | 16 ratings

Sleight Of Hand
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by Theo Verstrael

4 stars This album was quite a shock to me when I first heard it. I loved the intricate acoustic folk music Flairck had produced so far. I was not too impressed by the album they recorded with Georges Moustaki but it fitted their niche quite well. Actually I hoped that they would return to their 'roots' after that one and would write long instrumentals again. But this album was far from that. It opens very nicely with 'At the blacksmith's hand', a well-known folk melody which is very well played, combined with blacksmith's sounds. Then the music shifts towards a more poppy direction, probably caused by Maggie Reilly singing (who was by then already world famous because of her collaboration with Mike Oldfield). Because of this Flairck starts to sound like Mike Oldfield but then a bit more folky. The rest of the album stays on the pop side with distinctive folk influences. And how well it works! For after the shock I came to realize that I really like this album a lot. It is optimistic, it sounds folky, it is of course very well played and the variation between the vocal and the instrumental songs is very nice. Reilly's voice blends beautifully in with the acoustic music. It is totally different from the former instrumental albums like 'Circus' or 'Variaties op een dame' but it stands high in its own right.

Flairck would prove to be brave enough to try very different approaches in their music during the many years of their existence. Most of these were quite experimental. In a sense this was also a very experimental album but than according to their own standards. the result is very pleasant and strongly underrated, both on this site as well as elsewhere.

For me this is one of the best Flairck albums to listen to.

 De Optocht by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.00 | 11 ratings

De Optocht
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars Just when I thought I had heard it all.........

On their 9th album, Flairck has distilled everything they are about into one album. This album. You find plenty of their symphonic prog, folk rock, pop, avant-garde and the jazz stuff they did on their first album on De Optocht. Which makes this album an excellent intro to this incredible band. De Optocht is also a concept album too. Very symphonic prog, in other words. And the symphonic prog lovers will also find a lot of familiar themes on this album. The music though is acoustic with guitars, violins, pan flutes and some obscure instruments replacing the usual symphonic prog instruments (mellotron, electric guitars and Hammond). Besides of that; this is a symphonic prog album. Added to the acoustic instruments, Erik Visser is also contributing with some vocals and narrative spoken words. Dutch vocals, that is. Which is a welcome change from the usual English vocals we get from prog bands.

The quality is great throughout. The rather somber, dynamic and pastoral music is superb. The concept seems to have a purpose. This whole album is simply a great concept album.

If you can get hold of this album, it is a very good introduction to Flairck. I love this album.

4.5 stars

 Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back] by FLAIRCK album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.93 | 33 ratings

Gevecht Met De Engel [Aka: The Lady's Back]
Flairck Prog Folk

Review by Ijon Tichy

4 stars Like on their 1st album, this outstanding acoustic band from Holland once more presents a brilliant mix of classic, folk, rock and prog music with technical mastership. "Gevecht met de Engel" is maybe the best of their three early masterpieces, including the follower "Circus".

East to West Express" features powerful rhythm-work by the Visser brothers on guitar and bass, laying the ground for superb interplay of pan-flute and violin ( A Flairck Trademark). After a romantic middle section it 's getting rocky again, with a great pan-flute solo by Weekers. "Butterfly" starts slow and spacy, with flute, sitar and oriental flair, then it speeds up with violin-shredding by Houtzager (being more than an adequate replacement for Judy Schomper by the way). On intro and outro Peter Weekers shows a trick by blowing a continuous flute phrase without taking air, possible because of a special way of breathing. "For Antoinette" is a short but nice solo piece by Erik Visser on 12-string guitar. "De Stoomwals", a Weekers composition, is my favourite on this album. Again it 's starting slowly but soon builds up with a wonderful flute theme and violin interplay. Then the band goes up-tempo, performing some powerful variations. Once more bass and guitar are really rocking, while Weekers and Houtzager supply staccato melodies before coming back to the main theme. In a tricky middle section all four players combine single notes to weave an almost "Giant-like" arpeggio.

It would go to far for me to go into detail with the last piece, the 23-minute title track, written by mastermind Erik Visser. It just blows away all doubts if Flairck plays progressive music at all. Complex themes, time changes, classic influences, odd rhythms, variations, moods, virtuosity, it 's all there. Besides that, the acoustic sound and the folkish melodies make "Gevecht met de engel" a very unique album, and Flairck a very unique band.

P.S. For reasons nobody will ever understand, Polydor changed the album title on early copies outside Holland to "The Lady 's Back". Maybe they hoped it would sell better in english, maybe they liked the idea to refer to the cover art as well as to the first album. But for me the even bigger sin is to "translate" the title of the center piece into "Some funny symphony"! Angels don 't go with money, or what?

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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