Wallace Collection

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-71)

- Marc Herouet -- keyboards

- Christian Janssens -- bass

- Jacques Namotte -- cello

- Freddy Nielaund (RIP 2003) -- vocals, drums, percussion

- Sylvain Vanholme (aka Cil Vert) -- vocals,  lead guitar, flute

- Raymond Vincent -- violin


  line up 2 (1988-90)

- Marc Herouet -- keyboards

- Christian Janssens -- bass

- Freddy Nielaund (RIP 2003) -- vocals, drums, percussion

- Sylvain Vanholme (aka Cil Vert) -- vocals,  lead guitar, flute

- Raymond Vincent -- violin


  line up 3 (2005-2008)

-  Marc Herouet -- keyboards

- Christian Janssens -- bass

NEW - Cedric Murath -- violin (replaced Raymond Vincent)

- Freddy Nielaund (RIP 2003) -- vocals, drums, percussion

- Sylvain Vanholme (aka Cil Vert) -- vocals,  lead guitar, flute




- 16th Century

- Esperanto (Raymond Vincent)

- Salix Alba (Marc Herouet)

- Silver Trust (Sylvain Varholme)

- Stradivarius (Jacques Nanotte and Raymond Vincent)

- Sylvester's Team  (Freddy Nielaund and Sylvain Varholme)

- Two Man Sound (Sylvain Varholme)

- Raymond Vincent (solo efforts)

- Waterloo



Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Wallace Collection

Company: Capitol

Catalog: ST 350

Country/State: Belgium

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: US pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1669

Price: $40.00


Belgium's surprisingly overlooked Wallace Collection came together out of an unlikely grouping of musical talents.  Singer/drummer Freddy Nielaund and singer/guitarist Sylvain Varholme had been members of the pop band Sylvester's Team.  When that outfit called it quits, the pair formed the band forming the band 16th Century  with keyboard player  Marc Hérouet, bassist Christian Janssens, Jacques Namotte (cello) and Raymond Vincent (violin). The latter two were members of the Belgian National Philharmonic Orchestra who had been dabbling with rock music in the band Stradivarius.   



promo photo left to right:   Jean Martin ?  -  Christian Janssens (front) - Raymond Vincent - Jacques Namtte - Sylvain Vanholme -  Freddy Nielaund


Band manager Jean Martin invited Australia producer David MacKay to see 16th Century at a Brussels club and within a week he had signed them to a recording contract with EMI/Parlaphone Records.  Shipping the band to London, MacKay wasted no time rushing them into Abbey Road Studios.  He also pushed for a new name, inspired by the name of a private museum located around the corner from EMI's London Headquarters - The Wallace Collection.


Released in 1969, the band debuted with "Laughing Cavalier" (the name taken from Frans Hals' famous painting, which happened to be owned  by The Wallace Collection Museum).  So here's the surprising thing about the album.  It was quite good.  Writing and performing in English (even though none of them spoke English fluently), these guys offered up a surprisingly innovative mixture of conventional pop and classically influences.   Probably their best known tune, the single 'Daydream' served as a good example of their style, mixing dollops of Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' with a 'Hey Jude' styled chorus.   Elsewhere 'Get That Girl', 'The Sea Disappeared', and 'Baby I Don't Mind' were more straightforward pop tunes, while 'Peru' found them shifting gears, pursuing a more lysergic influenced directions.   Sharing lead vocal duties, Nielaund and  Vanholme were both quite good.  While both had heavy accents,  most of the material was strong enough to allow you to overlook the accents.  Some folks have drawn comparisons to early Electric Light Orchestra.   That's not a bad baseline; perhaps a bit more like The Move, but in the same aural neighborhood.   Well worth checking out.


Probably entranced by the international success the group had enjoyed with their debut single 'Daydream', Capitol signed the band to an American distribution agreement, promptly releasing the collection as "Wallace Collection" Capitol also decided to modify the track listing.  Apparently deciding the original album was too long, for short American attention spans, the company dropped four from the original European release.   Lost were 'Natacha', 'Merry-Go-Round', 'Poor Old Sammy', and 'Laughing Cavalier'.   


"Wallace Collection" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Daydream   (David Mackay - Raymond Vincent - Van Holmen) - 5:03 

Even though they blatantly swiped part of Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' (listed to Marc Herouet's piano) and slapped on a 'Hey Jude' ending, 'Daydream' was probably their best know song.  The tune' fit firmly in the late-'60s toy-town genre; namely a highly commercial pop tune with a distinctive lysergic edge.  For what it's worth, Christian Janssens' melodic bass line has always been my favorite part of the song.   I'm apparently not along since Portishead seems to made liberal use of it on their tune 'Glory Box'.   Youtube has a clip of the band lip synching the tune for Dutch television.  The seemingly stoned dancers/chorus are hysterical: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhcHd84eGnw   

A massive international hit ,a heavily edited version of  the tune was even tapped as an instantly obscure US single:



- 1969's 'Daydream' b/w 'Baby I Don't Mind' (Capitol catalog number 2579)






2.) The Sea Disappeared   (David Mackay - Raymond Vincent - Van Holmen) - 2:32

Another one of the album's more commercial tunes, 'The Sea Disappeared' had a boncy, radio friendly melody, but was also one of the tunes sporting a super heavy accent that made it difficult to track the lyrics.   rating: *** stars

3.) Get Back   (Van Holmen) - 4:24

The "cowboy" opening was a bit disconcerting, but then the song settled down into a lightly lysergically tinged ballad with Nielaund and  Vanholme sharing lead vocals.  rating: *** stars

4.) Ragtime Lily   (Marc Herouet - Raymond Vincent - Van Holmen) - 2:35

The first misstep, 'Ragtime Lily' was an old-timy Vaudevillian piece showcasing Marc Herouet on ragtime keyboards.  Thing along the lines of Winchester Cathederal, without that song's pop charm.  rating: ** stars

5.)  Fly Me To the Earth   (David Mackay - Raymond Vincent - Van Holmen) - 2:51

Ah, time to stake out the band's social relevancy ...  Were it not for Sylvain Vanholme's heavily accented voice, you might have mistaken 'Fly Me To the Earth' to the Barqoue-pop stylings of early ELO.   

The song was tapped as a single in Germany, Italy and the UK:

- 1969''s ' Fly Me To The Earth' b/w 'Love' (EMI catalog number R5793) 

Courtesy of YouTube you can see the band performing the song for  Dutch television https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9-PHwaVg3M   rating: *** stars


(side 2)

1.) Get That Girl   (David Mackay - Van Holmen) - 2:41

Play this for someone who's never heard Wallace Collection and ask them what country they band are from.   I guarantee you most folks will say the UK.   There's no way most folks would ever guess these guys were Belgian.   One of the album's most straightforward commercial tunes, this one just had that special mid-'60s pop feel that I find so attractive.   rating: **** stars

2.) Peru    (David Mackay - Van Holmen) - 4:44

Given my old and jaded ears, I have to admit 'Peru' was quite impressive.  The song was actually an old Sylverster's Team number, but who would have ever envisioned a bunch of classically trained Belgian musicians singing in English about a vanished Peruvian culture?   With Sylvain Vanholme handling the lead vocals and Christian Janssens turning in a churning bass line, this acid-tinged rocker was really good ...   One of the album highlights.   YouTube has a brief clip of the band performing the song live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTWK0wKFlLc    rating: **** stars

3.)  Baby I Don't Mind   (David Mackay - Van Holmen) - 3:43

If anyone is skeptical about the band's pre-Electric Light Orchestra sound, then they might want to check out 'Baby I Don't Mind'.   Yeah, it started out on a pretty irritating note, but when it got going the song exhibited a very nice mix of pop and classical moves.  No idea where it was filmed, but YouTube has a high quality flip of the band performing the tune in-concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbEZwgXBs_M     rating: *** stars

5.) Misery   (David Mackay - Van Holmen) -  2:47

'Misery' found the band showcasing some unexpected jazzy chops - kudos to rhythm section with Christian Janssens showing off some hyper-speed bass runs, while Freddy Nielaund aptly demonstrated  he was more than a pretty face.  rating: **** stars

6.) What's Going On   (David Mackay - Van Holmen) - 2:14

No, it wasn't the iconic Marvin Gaye hit (though that would have been an interesting cover), rather it was a '50s-styled slice of blues-rock.  Very ELO-ish.  Not bad, but far from their most original tune.   YouTube has a clip of the band doing a live version of the tune:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUuFe8PDge4    rating; *** stars



As mentioned, 'Daydream' provided the band with an international hit and found the group undertaking concert dates through Europe, Mexico, South American, and the US.  At the same time they came under intense pressure write and record new material.  


Though it apparently has not been updated in a decade, the band has a small website at: http://www.wallacecollection.net/