Irish Coffee


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1969) as The Voodoos

- Romaine De Smet -- lead guitar

- Dirk Dierickx -- vocals, guitar

- Paul Lambert (RIP 1974) -- keyboards

- Hugo Verhoye -- drums, percussion

- William Souffreau -- vocals, bass

 

  line up 2 (1969-70) as The Voodoos

- Dirk Dierickx -- vocals, guitar

- Paul Lambert  (RIP 1974) -- keyboards

NEW - Jean Van Der Schueren -- lead guitar (replaced Romaine De Smet)

- Hugo Verhoye -- drums, percussion

- William Souffreau -- vocals, bass

 

  line up 3 (1970-71)

NEW - Willy De Bisschop -- bass

- Paul Lambert  (RIP 1974) -- keyboards

- Jean van der Schueren -- lead guitar

- Hugo Verhoye -- drums, percussion

- William Souffreau -- vocals, bass, guitar

  line up 4 (1971-72)

- Willy De Bisschop -- bass

NEW - Raf Lenssens -- drums, percussion (replaced  Hugo Verhoye)

- Paul Lambert (RIP 1974) -- keyboards

- Jean van der Schueren -- lead guitar

- William Souffreau -- vocals, bass, guitar

 

  line up 5 (1972)

- Willy De Bisschop -- bass

- Raf Lenssens -- drums, percussion

- Jean van der Schueren -- lead guitar

- William Souffreau -- vocals, bass, guitar

 

 line up 6 (1972-74)

- Willy De Bisschop -- bass

NEW - Luc De Clus -- lead guitar (replaced 

  Jean van der Schueren)

NEW - Paul Lambert (RIP 1974) -- keyboards

- Raf Lenssens -- drums, percussion

- William Souffreau -- vocals, bass, guitar

 

 line up 7 (1993)

- Luc De Clus -- lead guitar 

NEW - Geert Maesschalk -- bass (replaced 

  Willy De Bisschop)

- Hugo Verhoye -- drums, percussion

- William Souffreau -- vocals, bass, guitar

-NEW  Chris Taerwe -- keyboards (replaced Paul Lambert)

 

 line up 8 (2002)

- Luc De Clus -- lead guitar 

NEW - Geert Maesschalk -- bass (replaced  Willy De Bisschop)

- Hugo Verhoye -- drums, percussion

- William Souffreau -- vocals, bass, guitar

-NEW  Chris Taerwe -- keyboards

 

 line up 9 (2003)

NEW - Franky Cooreman -- bass (replaced  Geert Maesschalk)

- Luc De Clus -- lead guitar 

- Hugo Verhoye -- drums, percussion

- William Souffreau -- vocals, bass, guitar

NEW - Stany Van Veer -- keyboards (replaced Chris Taerwe)

 

 line up 10 (2006)

- Franky Cooreman -- bass

- Luc De Clus -- lead guitar 

- William Souffreau -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Stany Van Veer -- keyboards

NEW - Stef Van Straalen -- drums, percussion (replaced Hugo Verhoye)

 

 

 

- Blinkit (Luc De Clus, Hugo Verhoye, and   William Souffreau)

- Crash Machine

- Demantia Preacox (William Souffreau)

- The Dender Birds (Luc De Clus)

- The Four Rockets (William Souffreau)

- Franky’s Fake Band (Stany Van Veer)

- Dizzy Fingers (Luc De Clus)

- Franky Du Monghs Dizzy Fingers (Luc De Clus and 

  William Souffreau)

- Glass Union (Raf Lenssens)

- Joystick

- Paul Lynde Quintet

- Mc Duff

- Cindy Nelson Band

- The Nighttime Heroes

- Oh Boy (Luc De Clus and William Souffreau)

- Rock Train (Romaine De Smet and William Souffreau)

- The Rocking Stars

- Silver Connection

- Smooth and the Bully Boys (Hugo Verhoye)

- William Souffreau (solo efforts)

- The Sten (Luc De Clus)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 5 stars *****

Title:  Irish Coffee

Company: Guerszen

Catalog: Gues5072
Year:
 2008

Country/State: Aalst, Belgium

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: reissue with inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6383

Price: $40.00

 

Ah, Irish Coffee - One of  Belgium's most famous bands with a debut album that's a sought after collectable which, on those rare occasions an original copy comes on the market, garners some truly stratospheric prices ...  yeap, those out-of-this-world prices are the reasons I own a legitimate reissue of the LP.

 

Irish Coffee was built around the talents of singer/guitarist William Souffreau.  Starting as a teenager in the early 1960s, Soufrreau played in a string of Belgian rock bands including The Blue Jets, The Mings, The Four Rockets, and Demantia Preacox.  1966 saw him join keyboardist Paul Lambert and drummer Hugo Verhoye as members of Belgian singer Rocco Granata's backing band The Cardinal Show Quintet.  When Verhoye was abruptly fired in 1969, the other two quit the band  deciding to continue their partnership as The Voodoos (great name for a Flemish band).  The initial band line-up featured singer/guitarist Dirk Dierickx, keyboardist Lambert, former Mings lead guitarist Romaine De Smet (quickly replaced by Jean Van Der Schueren), Souffreau, and Verhoye.  By 1970 they'd begun to attract some attention via performances at Aalst El Gringo Club while scoring a mentor in the form of manager Louis de Vries (then managing acts such as The Pebbles and Middle of the Road.  de Vries asked the group to try their hand at some original material and helped them score a contract with the small Belgian Pirate label, but not before unilaterally changing their name to Irish Coffee (another great name for a Belgian band).  They subsequently recorded and released their debut single:

 

- 1971's 'Masterpiece' b/w 'The Show' (Pirate catalog number PI 71004)

 

The larger Triangle label promptly acquired rights to the single, re-issuing it throughout Europe where it became a minor hit:

 

- 1971's 'Masterpiece' b/w 'The Show' (Pirate catalog number PI 71004)

 

The single also saw limited American distribution via a deal with Parrot Records:

- 1971's 'Masterpiece' b/w 'The Show' (Parrot catalog number 45-356)

 

top left to right: Verhoye - Lambert

bottom left to right: Van Der Schueren - Souffreau - De Bisschop

 

The band's unexpected success saw Triangle management agree to release a supporting album - 1971's cleverly-titled "Irish Coffee".   Produced by de Vries and reportedly completed in four days, the album featured eight Souffreau - Van Der Schueren originals which, in spite of somewhat lukewarm production, served to showcase the band's considerable talent.  As lead singer Souffreau had a great blues-rock voice - to my ears he sounded a bit like a cross between the late Rory Gallagher and a mid-1970s British band like Deep Purple, or early Uriah Heep.  The rest of the band were equally talented.  De Bisschop and Verhoye made for a dynamic rhythm section that kept everything focused and moving forward, while Lambert displayed a surprisingly tasteful and subtle touch on keyboards.  Even more impressive was 16 year old lead guitarist van der Schueren ...  hard to believe he didn't attract more attention given his phenomenal performances on the album.  Perhaps not the perfect comparison, but at least to my ears the Deep Purple comparison was actually a pretty good baseline.  If you enjoyed early/mid-career Purple, then these guys were probably going to have some appeal to you.

 

- 'Can't Take It' opened up with some stunning van der Schueren fuzz guitar (hard to believe he was only sixteen at the time) and got even better when Souffreau's growling voice kicked in.  A killer slice of driving hard rock, this one was every bit as good as anything better known American and English competitors had on the streets.  In fact, unless you knew these guys were Belgian, you'd have never guessed their nationality.   As mentioned above, for some reason Souffreau's vocal's always reminded me a bit of the late Rory Gallagher.   Amazing way to start an album.   rating: ***** stars

- Opening up with some nice Procol Harum-styled organ from Lambert, 'The Beginning of the End' was a slow, blues-rock number with a fantastic bitterly dark melody and another winning performance from Souffreau.  Elsewhere van der Schueren turned in one of his most impressive solos, though for some reason the mix saw it relegated to the left channel.   rating: **** stars

- Yeah, the spoken word intro was a bit on the pretentous side, but when an der Schueren kicked into action the mid-tempo ballad 'When Winter Comes' took off with a vengence.  Kudos to De Bisschop for providing a killer bass line throughout the song.   rating: **** stars

- So who would have thought a Belgian rock band would be able to pull off a funky rocker?  Not me, but then that was before I heard 'The Show (Part 1)'.    rating: **** stars

- 'The Show (Part 2)' found the band taking aim at heavy metal.  The results were credible, but to my ears Souffreau sounded like he was simply trying too hard.  That said, the rest of the band were top notch with kudos to drummer Verhoye and once again guitarist van der Schueren.   rating: *** stars

- 'Hear Me' found the band adding a touch of jazz-rock fusion to their patented metal sound.  At least on the surface that wouldn't have sounded all that promising, but the results were actually great with Lambert turning in a Hammond solo that would have made Rod Argent proud.    van der Schueren freakout guitar had to be heard ...   rating: **** stars

- An atypical ballad, 'A Day Like Today' initially didn't do a great deal for me, however Souffreau's tortured and impassioned vocal and van der Schueren solo eventually won me over.  rating: **** stars

- With one of the set's most memorable melodies, a fantastic yearning vocal from Souffreau and another killer guitar from van der Schueren this was another winning performance.   rating: ***** stars

 

So here's a real rarity - namely an album that not only lives up to the hype surrounding it, but actually exceeds that hype.  Not only is this the best 1970s album to come out of Belgium, but it's one of the best 1970s albums I've ever heard ... period.  As mentioned earlier, the problem is that an original copy will set you back a minimum of $600 - $1,000.  It's hard for me to justify that price for any album.  You can find a host of reissues though most of the reissues are of doubtful legality (aka the 2002 Italian Arkama pressing).  That leaves you with the band's 1992 self-released CD-format collection on their Voodoo label (catalog number ).  The Voodoo package (1,500 copies were pressed), included seven tracks not found on the original LP (mostly non-LP singles):

 

1.) Carry On 
2.) Child 
3.) Down Down Down
4.) I'm Alive
5.) Witchy Lady
6.) I'm Hers

 

The other option is finding the Guerszen issue which was done with cooperation from William Souffreau.  The Guerszen package is features the original LP without any additional material

 

"Irish Coffee" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Can't Take It   (William Souffreau - Jean Van Der Schueren) - 4:05

2.) The Beginning of the End   (William Souffreau - Jean Van Der Schueren) - 6:18

3.) When Winter Comes   (William Souffreau - Jean Van Der Schueren) - 4:50

4.) The Show (Part 1)   (William Souffreau - Jean Van Der Schueren) -

 

(side 2)
1.) The Show (Part 2)   (William Souffreau - Jean Van Der Schueren) - 2:59

2.) Hear Me  (William Souffreau - Jean Van Der Schueren) - 3:58

3.) A Day Like Today  (William Souffreau - Jean Van Der Schueren) - 6:51

4.) I'm Lost  (William Souffreau - Jean Van Der Schueren) - 4:32

 

 

With numerous personnel changes the band touring extensively in support of the collection, "Irish Coffee" sold several thousand copies in Belgium, but did little elsewhere.  In spite of the lack of sales, the group continued to record sporadic singles over the next couple of years:

 

 

- 1971's 'Carry On' b/w 'Child' (Triangle catalog number BE 61574)

- 1972's 'Down Down Down' b/w 'I Am Alive' (Triangle catalog number BE 61766)

- 1974's 'The Witch' b/w 'I'm Hers' (Barclay catalog number )

 

Sadly returning from a November 1974 show backing Belgian singer Wim De Craene, keyboardist Lambert was killed when a drunk driver slammed into the band's van.  Drummer Lenssens was also seriously injured, while the other band members were shaken up.  The accident essentially spelled the end of Irish Coffee with the survivors subsequently deciding to strike out under the moniker Joystick.

 

Over the next two decades most of the band members remained active on the Belgian music scene.  In November 1993 De Clus, Verhoye, and Souffreau (along with bassist Geert Maesschalk and keyboardist Chris Taerwe), reunited for a one-shot concert.   Nine years later the same line-up regrouped for a couple of Belgian concerts and then began playing occasional club and festival dates.

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Rockpalast

Company: Second Battle

Catalog: SB LP 069
Year:
 2007

Country/State: Aalst, Belgium

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: double LP; gatefold sleeve; German pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6382

Price: $59.00

 

Recorded during a performance for the German Rockpalast (rock palace) television show,  "Rockpalast Harmonie, Bonn 21.12.2005" was a double album, 14 track live set.  Aired by the German WDR television network in January 2006, the set was edited down to thirty minutes or material, but the album restored the missing material (as did an accompanying DVD).  

 

On the surface there wouldn't seem to be all that much to get excited about.  Here you had a band whose last real public exposure had come in the mid-1970s. That exposure had been extremely limited with few people beyond their native Balgium having ever heard their isolated singles and lone studio album. Add to that, singer/guitarist William Souffreau was the only original member still playing in the lineup.  While Souffreau looked in good shape, the man had to be in his mid-60s, while bassist Franky Cooreman, keyboardist Stany Van Veer and drummer Stef Van Straalen looked like they were young enough to be Souffreau's kids.  Yeah, on the surface this would appear to be another one of those comebacks that was more wishful thinking that realism ...    AND HOW WRONG THOSE THOUGHTS WOULD BE !!!!   

 

left to right: 

Stef Van Straalen - William Souffreau (front) - Stany Van Veer (back) - Luc De Clus - Franky Cooreman 

 

Produced by Joachim Borneleitus, this was simply an amazing live set ...  one of the best in-concert performances I've ever heard.  Souffreau and company sounded like they were playing with their collective souls on the line; trying to make up for thirty years of lost time and opportunities; determined to show they were a first-class band that time had not passed by. While Souffreau may not have had the best rock voice you've ever heard, and while he'd clearly lost a bit of vocal flexibility over the years, the man made the most out of his gifts, his growl of a voice perfect for rockers like 'The Show (Part 1)', 'Brand New Day' and 'Can't Take It'. Having an enthusiastic backing band certainly didn't hurt the proceedings.  Special notice to keyboardist Stany Van Veer and lead guitarist De Clus who was one of those rare players who seemed to understand that less-is-more when it came to the spotlight.  Offering up a mixture of old material and four numbers (including, 'Coloured Land', the 2004 single 'Brand New Day' and 'Lovely Lisa'), virtually every one of these 14 tracks was worth hearing.  It was fancy and if you were looking for auto-tuned vocals, gimmicky synthesizers, syndrums, and studio tricks this wasn't the place to come.  On the other hand, any self-respecting '70s FM fan was bound to find this enjoyable.    

 

- Opening up with some pounding Uriah Heep-styled organ, a funky guitar refrain, and one of Souffreau's best vocals, 'The Show (Part 1)' was a perfect concert opener.  Taunt, yet highly melodic, it was one of those songs that you simply couldn't shake out of your head.  YouTube has a clip of the performance at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DPvPiHYMZw   rating: ***** stars

- An engaging blues-rocker, 'Coloured Land' was actually the first song Irish Coffee had ever writte, but they'd never gotten around to completing it until the reunion.  Showcasing Luc De Clus' screaming lead guitar, the track served to showcase the band's less-is-more approach; no rock excesses - just a straight-ahead, barebones serving of classic rock.    rating: **** stars

- Billed as their new single (though I think it was actually released in 2004),, 'Brand New Day' may not have been as impressive as some of their classic material, but       Once again YouTube has a clip of the performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igLvktXoUVg   rating: **** stars

- Built on Van Veer's surging keyboards and De Clus' piercing lead guitar, the first three quarters of 'Apocalypse' was a killer ballad. And then unexpectedly the song morphed into a Uriah Heep styled instrumental jam.   Another track with one of those melodies you couldn't shake out of your head and I've always loved the way Souffreau pronounced the title as a-pa-col-lips).  Another YouTube performance clip can be found at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRPwVslPUp8

- The opener on their classic studio set, 'Can't Take It' lost none of its vigor over the years, or when transferred to a live setting.  As on the original this was simply a killer slice of driving hard rock, with Van Veer's keyboards adding additional texture and De Luc easily replicating original guitarist Jean van der Schueren.  Tthis one was every bit as good as anything better known American and English competitors had on the streets.  In fact, unless you knew these guys were Belgian, you'd have never guessed their nationality.  YouTube performance of the song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zd_Q9A3ru8  rating: **** stars

- 'The Beginning of the End' was another track off the debut.  A slow, blues-rock number with a fantastic bitterly dark melody and another winning performance from Souffreau, Van Veer effortlessly replicated the Procol Harum-styled opening.  De Luc also used the song to really cut loose.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYUglkj-nIs    rating: **** stars

- Yeah, something was lost in the translation, but 'I'm Hers' (their spelling not mine), started out as a subtle, slinky rocker before morphing into an out-and-out rocker with De Luc again cutitng lose like he wasn't going to get another shot at the spotlight. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKlMhkZqZHY    rating: *** stars

- Billed as a new song, technically 'Lovely Lisa' was actually one of the tracks the post-Irish Coffee Joystick line-up had recorded as a demo, though it never saw a release.  Kicked along by De Luc's wah-wah guitar and a snarling Souffreau vocal the song had a very likeable retro-rock feel.     rating: **** stars

- The first mild disappointment, 'Dark Clouds' sounded like it had been stitched together from a mixture of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep leftovers.  Professional and listenable, but other than a tasty De Luc solo, didn't match up to some of their other performances.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW5LlVvV4hI  rating: ** stars

- Switching gears, 'I'm Lost' was an easy-going ballad.  Sporting some pretty acoustic guitar and churchy Van Veer organ, this one's a personal favorite.   rating: **** stars

- As on the studio set, 'The Show (Part II)' was okay, but to my Souffreau and company sounded like they were simply trying too hard.  rating: *** stars

- 'Masterpiece' was one of their non-LP singles and while the live version was enjoyable, the song's rollicking, keyboard-powered melody sounded a lot like a Uriah Heep effort.  A good Uriah Heep effort, but still a Uriah Heep effort ...   You can judge for yourself via this YouTube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1isGUgMommY    rating: *** stars

- Given an extended arrangement, the mid-tempo ballad 'A Day Like Today' was another track off the band's studio album.  The original studio version was one of the few tracks that didn't do a great deal for me, so the live version came as a major surprise.  Way more energetic and effective, this was easily one of Souffreau's most impassion vocals with De Luc's brittle slide guitar simply the icing on the cake.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlIvq84jZBA   rating: **** stars

- Really my only complaint, penned by Souffreau, the encore 'Ain't Takin' No More' was a plodding slice of  boogie rock, made even less enjoyable by what sounded like one of the worst stabs at an Elvis Presley impersonation you've ever heard.   rating: ** stars  

 

Again, taken as a whole this was a totally unexpected treasure.  The results were made even better by fantastic sound quality.  Cranked up on a Rega turntable with some Bose speakers, the results are almost mind numbing.  You were left to wish all comebacks were as good. 

 

 

"Rockkpalast Harmonie, Bonn 21.12.2005" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Show (Part 1)   (Jean van der Schueren - William Souffreau) - 3:10

2.) Coloured Land   (William Souffreau) - 3:24

3.) Brand New Day   ( William Souffreau) - 4:06

4.) Apocalypse   (William Souffreau) - 5:13

 

(side 2)
1.) Can't Take It   ( Jean van der Schueren - William Souffreau) - 4:12

2.) The Beginning of the End   ( Jean van der Schueren - William Souffreau) - 6:24

3.) I'm Hers   ( Jean van der Schueren - William Souffreau) - 4:57

 

(side 3)

1.) Lovely Lisa   (William Souffreau) - 3:52

2.) Dark Clouds   (William Souffreau) - 4:20

3.) I'm Lost   (William Souffreau) - 5:46

4.) The Show (Part II)   ( Jean van der Schueren - William Souffreau) - 3:14

 

(side 4)

1.) Masterpiece   (William Souffreau) - 3:28

2.) A Day Like Today   ( Jean van der Schueren - William Souffreau) - 8:02

3.) Ain't Takin' No More   (William Souffreau) - 3:49

 

 

 

As mentioned earlier, other than isolated clips, I haven't seen it, but Second Battle / Thors Hammer also released the concert in CD format (catalog number THDVD 01).

 

 

For anyone interested, the band has a small and outdated web presence at:

http://users.skynet.be/blinkit/

 

 

 

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