Seemon & Marijke
Band members Related acts
line up 1
- Marijke Koger -- finger cymbals, keybaords
- Seemon Posthuma (RIP 2020) -- keyboards, bagpipe, clarinet
- John Barbata -- drums
- James Bonello -- guitar
King Charles -- steel drums
- Nick DeCarlo -- accordian
- Chris Ethridge -- bass
- Panco Escalantes -- trumpet
- Colleen Fortune -- vocals
- Richard Fortune -- guitar
- Mario James -- steel drums
- Booker T. Jones -- organ
- Charles Lognata -- trumpet
- Gerald Lawrence -- steel drums
- Frank Maynes -- sax
- Graham Nash -- vocals, tambourine
- Mac Niles -- steel drums
- Sneaky Pete - slide guitar
- Kamara Razzazar -- violin, oud
- Alphonzo Rojo -- trumpet
- Louis Sayegh -- percussion
- George St. John -- sax, oboe
- Morreen Thorton -- vocals
- James Velerino - flamenco guitar
- The Fool (Marijke Koger and Seemon Posthuma)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Son of America
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: punch hole top right
Catalog ID: 31205
The fact this album actually saw an American release if pretty amazing. The fact it vanished without a trace is not a surprise.
You can find volumes of biographical material on Marijke Koger and Seemon Posthuma. The pair started their design business in the mid-'60s. Their posters and fashionable clothing made their Amsterdam boutique Trend one of the places to be seen. Photograph Karl Ferris spotted the pair on the Spanish Island of Ibiza. Fascinated by their clothing, he took some photos which subsequently appeared in The Times. The resulting publicity saw the pair relocate to London where they set up shop as a design collective along with Josie Leger and Englishmen Barry Finch. By the mid-'60s they had their creative hands in a wide array of counter-culture projects ranging from designing clothing to creating album covers for The Beatles (their work included inner sleeve graphics for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"), Dutch singer Boudewijn de Groot's debut album, The Hollies' "Evolution:, The Incredible String Band's "5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion" and The Move's self-titled LP. They even took on architectural projects - they designed the exteriors for The Beatles Apple Boutique.
With Graham Nash producing, they even found time to record an album under the name The Fool (1968's "The Fool" Mercury catalog number SR-61178).
The late-'60s saw the pair move to Los Angeles, where they momentarily became part of the "in crowd". A&M Records somehow decided to cash in on their popularity. With Graham Nash again producing, under the name "Seemon & Marijke" they recorded 1970's "Son of America". Over the years I have listened to this one at least a dozen times trying to figure out what I'm missing. I'm clueless what its charms are. In fact, every time I play it I end up liking it less. Neither of the principles had much in the way of voices and their singing efforts weren't helped by heavy accents. Even when they turned the spotlight over to some of their supporting player (Colleen Fortune on 'Vegetable Stew'), the results were dreadful. As producer Nash seemed totally lost with respect to what to do with the pair. That might explain why he brought in a gigantic cast of sessions players and guests - maybe I can just bury the pair in the mix? In spite of his best efforts, it didn't work. Country tinged material like 'It's All There' was outright painful. Throwing in tango influences ('Twinsongs'), Schlager ('I Saw You'), Mexican touches ('Sitting On a Hilltop') and mid-Eastern influences ('Everybody's Dancing) just made it worse. At its best, the title track' and 'Vegetable Stew' sounded like Delaney and Bonnie at their blue-eyed soul worst. In fact the best songs here were a 46 second bagpipe solo "The White Watch" and the throwaway instrumental 'Room 44'.
America" track listing:
1.) The Son of America (Seemon Posthuma - Marijke Kroger - Morreen Thorton) - 3:31 rating: ** stars
The combination of Seemon and Marijke's heavily accented voices coupled with Sneaky Pete's pedal steel guitar and what sounded like hundreds of people made for one strange song. It's actually always reminded me a little of Delaney and Bonnie, had they been born in Holland. The fact the song was dedicated to the late Hollywood stunt man Jack Tyrie was even more bizarre. And then we got to duo's interesting artistic plans:
Son of America' statue is a life-sized fibre-glass model of Hollywood stunt
man Jack TyrieAlternating
coloured lights, pulsating on and off, like a heart beat, constantly change
The Son of America's multicoloured body. This (the inner sleeve photo) is a
model of the 150-foot tall statue we want to put up in the Hollywood Hills,
and we need your support to make this concept into a reality. If you
have any suggestions or would like more information please write to us c/o
A&M Records Inc., P.O. box 782, Beverly Hills, Calif. 90213.'
Needless to say the anatotomically correct statute was never built. Wonder what A&M did with the money the collected for the project?
2.) I Saw You (Seemon Posthuma - Marijke Kroger) - 2:50 rating: ** stars
You have to wonder what producer Nash was thinking on this one - The fact Seemon and Marijke could barely stay in tune should have given Nash a sense this was going to turn out badly. 'I Saw You' was this strange mixture of European Schlager (great tune for drinking a cold beer), Mexican horns and steel drums. For some reason A&M marketing decided to release it as a single in the Benelux and Germany:
- 1970's 'I Saw You' b/w 'The Son of America' (A&M catalog number 10 835 AT)
3.) Keep On Keepin' On (Seemon Posthuma - Marijke Kroger - Barry Finch) - 3:28 rating: ** stars
You'd be hard pressed to come up with a title that screamed '70s more ... Initially just Seemon and piano, the song didn't get any better when you added the female backing singers to the mix. Poor choice for the second single:
- 1971's 'Keep On Keepin' On' b/w 'It's All There' (A&M catalog number 12 056 AT)
4.) Roselie (Seemon Posthuma - Marijke Kroger) - 2:48 rating: * star
Acoustic folk with accordion (Nick DeCarlo) .. painful. Skip it.
5.) Vegetable Stew (Seemon Posthuma - Marijke Kroger - Richard Fortune - Colleen Fortune - Morreen Thorton) - 2:52 rating: * star
As limited a Marijke's voice was, Colleen Fortune was even more grating. Another tune that sounded like Delaney and Bonnie and their blue-eyed soul worst, 'Vegetable Stew' was simply horrible. Maybe it was envisioned as being cute, but it was just outright irritating. A&M actually released it as a promotion single in the States and as a stock 45 in Holland:
- 1971's 'Vegetable Stew' b/w 'The Song of America' (A&M catalog number 1332)
- 1972's 'Vegetable Stew' b/w 'Roselie' (A&M catalog number 12 068 AT)
6.) The White Watch (instrumental) (Seemon Posthuma) - 0:43 rating: ** stars
And just when I thought the album couldn't get any worse, along comes the instrumental 'The White watch'. 43 seconds of Seemon showing that he maybe the only Dutch man who played the bagpipes. Well, I gave it an extra star for being an instrumental.
1.) It Is All There (Seemon Posthuma - Marijke Kroger) - 2:50 rating: no stars
As bad as Seemon and Marijke sounded together, Seemon and Graham Nash proved even more painful. To start with, 'It Is All There' was an awful country song. Add in their caterwauling vocals and this was the kind of song that you can use to clear out a late night party. It's one of a handful of songs that get no stars.
2.) Twinsouls (Seemon Posthuma - Marijke Kroger) - 3:25 rating: ** stars
Please, make it end. Who thought that adding a tango element was going to improve the album? Amazing - the song was released as a Japanese single:
- 1972's "Twinsouls' b/w 'Keep On Keepin' On' (A&M catalog number AM 127)
3.) Room 44 (Seemon Posthuma - George St. John) (instrumental) - 1:45 rating: **** stars
The album's best song (really the only decent performance), 'Room 44' was a funky, Latin-tinged instrumental that showcased some nice Booker J. Jones organ and nice guitar solo from Richard Fortune. On any other album this would have been forgettable, but here it was a true blessing.
4.) Sitting On a Hilltop (Seemon Posthuma - Marijke Kroger - Morreen Thorton) - 3:57 rating: ** stars
Remember how ABBA appropriated Mexican instrumentation for 'Fernando'? Well these guys did the same thing for 'Sitting On a Hilltop'. The difference is 'this performance was awful; made worse by their weird segue way into a '50s-styled rock song.
5.) Everybody's Dancing - 5:58 rating: ** stars
Hard to believe the same guy who wrote 'Marrakresh Express' for Crosby, Stills *& Nash produced this song.
Seemon died in February 2020. There's a small website dedicated to him at: http://www.simonposthuma.com/
Marijke is still active and has a facinating website at: http://www.maryke.com/
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