Eddy Christiani the godfather of the electric guitar in Holland
The Dutch story of the electric guitar started in 1940 with Eddy Christiani. That year he came in possession of an Epiphone semi-accoustic electric guitar + six tube amp (15 W) with Goodmans speaker. It was the first electric guitar in Holland (maybe even Europe) and in 1941 he made his first recording of an electric guitar solo The Windmill. Since the late 50s Eddy used an Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins guitar and in the 60s an Gretsch 6122 Country Gentlemen. He was also the first guitarist in Holland who did experiments with an echo-box (Binson). Eddy made a big career as a singer of Dutch songs but we remember him most for his compositions Wild Geese (he even introduced the number in 1962 to The Shadows, but The Jumping Jewels recorded it) and Little Geisha.
The birth of Indo-Rock (1955-1959)
In the mid fifties an unique instrumental music genre raised from Dutch-Indonesian musicians who repatriated to the Netherlands due to their home-lands independence at December 29,1949. They brought their tropical culture and a passionate love for the guitar. The guitar was imported in the Indian Archipel by the Portuguese explorers in the 14th Century. The traditional Portuguese song styles saudade and fado with guitar accompaniment became later krontjong (Malay) music. Krontjong is characterized by guitars which are talking to each other and the guitarists play rhythmic and melodic parts by the feel. Except this musical baggage they had a predilection for Hawaiian-music (also popular in Holland) and they knew the American country & western and the hot rock & roll repertoire from the radio stations in Indonesia via American (AFN) stations from The Philippines and Australia.
The very first Indo bands The (Real) Room Rockers (1955 - since 1959 The Hurricane Rollers), The Hot Jumpers (1958), The Bell Boys (1957 later: The Black Dynamites) and The Rhythm Stars all originated from The Hague. Later followed Rotterdam with Electric Johnny & The Skyrockets, The Rocking Diamonds, Oety & The Real Rockers and The Blue Eagles. Also in Amsterdam, Groningen, Zaandam and Maastricht you could find a scene of Indorock groups. They played on stage a mix of rock & roll, c&w, evergreens, Hawaiian- and Indonesian folksongs and also the well-known instrumentals of that period ( They admired the guitar riffs of Les Paul (in fact one of their biggest influences). The first guitarists started with cheap accoustic guitars + added electric pick-up. Later they could buy real electric guitars which were available on the Dutch market at that time, like Egmond. First of all the Indo guitarists were mad about the German Hofner guitars (Club 40,50,60 models) and the famous violin bass (like Paul McCartney later) was also very in demand. Another popular German guitar was the Framus (model Hollywood) and next to the Italian Eko guitars we had our own Duch Egmond electric guitars.
The Tielman Brothers - Andy Tielman the uncrowned king of Indo-Rock.
In 1957 came the Tielman Brothers to Holland. Andy Tielman and his brothers Reggy, Ponthon and Loulou played already together in Indonesia as The Timor Rhythm Brothers. In Breda they started as The Four T's and in 1958 came their big change on the World Expo at Brussels and it was the start of their club career in Germany (they started in The Sputnik club at Mannheim). They first played on Egmond guitars and also had Egmond amps, but since 1958 they were the first owners of imported Gibson Les Paul models in Holland. Their professional show with speedy light-fingered guitar-tricks, gentle smiling to the girls in the audience and swinging top-down, became the start of the Indorock scene in Germany. Many Dutch Indo groups got contracts in Germany during the early 60s.
1959 Once and Ready to Rock the first Dutch instro recordings.
Lead guitarist Rob Boekholt (ex- Hap Cats) and the group The Hurricane Rollers from The Hague made the first instrumental Indo-Rock recordings late1959 for the Philips label. His own composition Once was build around a very strong original melody and his trademark were the rolling notes. On the B-side a real drivin' number Hurricane Rock. Rob used an Egmond Caledonia guitar during the session. Guitarist/sax player Harry Koster and his Indo band The Black Dynamites recorded their rock instrumental Ready To Rock with an almost American sound for the Delahay label. Just before The Shadows and The Ventures changed the instrumental scene complete, the now classic record Black Eyes Rock c/w Johnny On His Strings was recorded by Electric Johnny & his Skyrockets (CNR) and also released in the US (Felsted), UK (London) and Sweden (Sonet). The same can be said of the first Tielman Brothers instro productions Black Eyes, 18th Century Rock (Mozart!) and A.A.A. ( = Big Guitar) all recorded and released on the Imperial label in 1960.
1960 The Shadows and The Ventures - The beginning of the golden era of the guitar groups.
Because of the success of The Shadows and The Ventures the Dutch record companies were looking for talents to make rockin' guitar instrumentals. The most important groups pass now in review. René (Nodelijk) & his Alligators from The Hague were already active since 1959 and strong inspired by the Indo-rock groups, made their first studio tracks in 1961 for the Fontana label: The Alligator's Dance, Theme From Limelight-Rock, Gipsy Rock and My Happiness. The strong metallic sound of René his Framus Hollywood guitar was also based on the records from Nero & The Gladiators (UK). The Jumping Jewels started in 1960 as Johnny & The Jewels and when lead-guitarist Hans van Eijk heard the records from The Shadows, The Hunters and The Outlaws he knew what he wanted and in 1961 they could make their first covers of well-known instrumental hits in the Philips studio (Wheels, Ghostriders In The Sky, Exodus). The Jumping Jewels became the most important and popular guitar band in Holland and had also some success in France, Singapore and Malaysia. Willy Wissink started in 1959 with The Real Rhythm Rockers (The Hague) and early 1962 he recorded his first instrumentals for Artone records with his new band The Giants (Sarie Marijs, Winnetou). Willy's rockin' version of the Dutch -Indonesian folksong Ajoen Ajoen was released in many countries and sold more than 100.000 copies in Japan. Jan Akkerman became a super guitar hero in the 70s with his group Focus, but he started in a Shadow-group Johnny & his Cellar Rockers (Amsterdam) and made some nice instros on Decca in 1961/62 (Melody In F, Una Aventura Mas, Namrekka, Bonzo). The Torero's from Hilversum with Jan Hollestelle on Fender Stratocaster made some standout tracks in the period 1963/1964 with a very bright sound quality for RCA (Valley Rider, Manha De Carnival, Beatnik Time, Desperado, Sentimental Sunset). ZZ en de Maskers (Masks) with Jan de Hont (Fender Strat) from Amsterdam were responsible for some breathtaking instrumental work on Artone in 1963/1964 with La Comparsa, Ave Maria No Morro, Spanish Tears, Till, Cadillac.
In the meantime the Indo-Rock groups had discovered the work of The Ventures and The String-A-Longs (twin-lead). The style and sound of both groups had everything they wanted and so they mixed it together with their own tropical feeling for rhythm and melody. Andy Tielman discovered the Fender Jazzmaster in 1961 (Ventures LP's !) and this guitar became the status symbol of Indo-Rock. He also used 10 (!) strings on his Jazzmaster and even Leo Fender came to Germany to see the Guitar King of the Jazzmaster. Before the British bands came to Germany (f.e The Beatles in Hamburg) all clubs had Dutch Indo bands on stage. The band members were only interested in doing live concerts and making records was not their main intention. One of the most professional bands was certainly The Javalins, they got a record contract in Germany for EMI/Columbia and made some great instrumentals in their career (Al Capone (guitar fight between the 2 lead guitars), Javalin's Beat, The Loveliest Night Of The Year (live), Foot Patter (live). Another band The Crazy Rockers played for a while in The Hague /Scheveningen and they got the chance to make some records for the Dutch Delta label. They had success with the repertoire that The Tielman Brothers played on stage, but never recorded! Tracks like: The Third Man, Rosita My Love, Twist Watch, Golden Earrings. Electric Johnny & The Skyrockets came with a very special latin instrumental dance-style to the fore - "South American Rock" (Patricia, Siboney, South Of The Border, Begin The Beguine, Should I etc.). Indo groups that also played in this style were The Rollers, Boy & his Rollin' Kids and Tony & his Magic Rhythms. Most copied after all these years are the numbers from The Hap-Cats (1961). Robbie Boekholt (ex - Hurricane Rollers) was responsible for Dardanella and Raindrops. In 1965 it was really over with the rock instrumental music.
1975 Rock instrumental revival of the guitar-groups
Back in the mid 70s, instrumental fans began to emerge from their closets on the strength of The Shadows' revival via 20 Golden Greats. It became almost socially acceptable to admit to a penchant for the good odd rock instrumental, amongst consenting adults at least. As such classic discs began to attract collectors' prices there emerged a new phenomenon, instrumental revival bands making it onto vinyl. (words from Alan Taylor -Pipeline #19). The Playing Rockets from Waalwijk were the first (1975) in Holland and did help pave the way for the rest, with spirited interpretations which attempt to capture the raw excitement of a bygone age. A young public heard for the first time the original Cliff Richard & Shadows early 60s sound, but also the classic Indo-Rock instrumentals from the same era. The next groups after seeing The Playing Rockets that came to live were The Hurricane Rollers (later The Explosion Rockets), with the late ace Jazzmaster guitarist Bart Strik and Johnny & The Rollers all from 's Hertogenbosch/Tilburg, The Shakin' Arrows (Waalwijk) and Dance-On (Alphen a/d Rijn). The first Indo-Rock revival band that played a lot of instrumentals on stage were The Sound Breakers with Robbie Pool (later The Entertainers). The DSR label from record boss Gerard van Dijk spearheaded the rock instrumental revival in Europe. Instrumentals recorded on two track machinery with no overdubs and the edge given to the performances by being effectively live were the strong trademarks of DSR. Hank The Knife & The Jets made in 1975 a hit record with The Guitar King (Negram), a tribute to his idol Jet Harris on his 6 string bass. René & his Alligators (Renee) came also back in the late 70s and a new phenomenon were the revival concerts of original 60s groups, with well-known groups as Willy & his Giants, The Jumping Jewels, The Jets, De Maskers, The Moving Strings and so on. On May 30, 1981 there was a big Indo-Rock revival show in De Houtrusthallen (The Hague) with The Crazy Rockers, The Black Dynamites, The Javalins, The Hurricane Rollers, Boy & his Rollin' Kids, The Valiants, Willy & his Giants and The Hot Jumpers. A milestone was the 1st. International Guitar Festival organized in Amicitia (The Hague) by Gerard van Dijk (DSR) on October 16, 1982. With 1961 (Sweden), The Blue Stars (Denmark), VOX (Belgium), The Shakin' Arrows, FBI, The Desperates, Danny & the Electro Strings, Paul Selier & the Tickets, Big Jeff & the Hurricane Rollers and some more. The small Al Capone label made 2 great Indo-Rock albums with The Entertainers in 1982/1983. In the second half of the 1980s it became quiet on the record front, but in 1990 we saw the start of a new revival label: Rarity Records from Hans van Haarlem. He released old mastertapes from the 60s and the 70s on CD, but also made new productions with instrumental groups like The Classics (Paul Selier), Blue Explosion, East & West Rockers, The Krontjong Devils, The Black Albinos, The Desperates and The Arrows.
© pmouse 1999