Earth & Fire

Band members               Related acts

- Manuela Berloth (aka Liesette) -- vocals (1968-)
- Theo Hurts -- bass (replaced Hans Zeich) (1974-78)
- Jerney Kaagman -- vocals (replaced Lisette (1969-)
- Cees Kalis -- drums (1968-69)

- Age Kat --
- Chris Koerts -- vocals, guitar (1968-80)
- Gerard Koerts -- keyboards, woodwinds (1968-)
- Ronnie Meyjes -- vocals, guitar (replaced Chris Koerts)


- Jons Pistoor -- 
- Bert Ruiter -- bass (replaced Theo Hurts) (1978-)

- Ton Scherpenzell -- 

- Johan Slager --
- Ton Van Der Kelij -- drums, percussion, backing vocals

  (replaced Cees Kalis) (1969-78)

- Mark Stoop -- 
- Appie Tamboer -- drums (replaced Ton Van Der Kelij)

- Hans Ziech -- bass (1968-74)





- Brainbox (Ronnie Meyes)
- Focus (Bert Ruiter)




Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Earth and Fire

Company: Perception

Catalog: PRBLP-3000

Year: 1970

Country/State: Voorschoten, Holland

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; US pressing; promo copy w/ DJ stamp on back cover

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: 5099

Price: $75.00


Focus, Golden Earring, Shocking Blue ... all demonstrate that American audiences have repeatedly embraced Dutch bands. Naturally, not all Dutch acts enjoyed the same American success - witness Earth & Fire (not to be confused with Earth, Wind & Fire).

Living in the rock and roll hotbed of Voorschoten, Holland the mid-1960s saw twin brothers Chris and Gerard Koerts playing in a number of local bands including The Swinging Strings. 1968 saw the two decide form their own band. Recruiting drummer Cees Kalis (drums) and bassist Hans Ziech (both had been in the band Soul) and vocalist Liesette (aka Manuela Berloth), as Earth and Fire (the name pulled from the band's astrologic signs), the line up started gigging under the catchy name Opus Gainfull.  A chance to audition for Richard du Bois' Negram label went poorly and within a matter of months problems with her eyes forced Liesette to drop out of the band. She was subsequently replaced by former The Rangers vocalist Jerney Kaagman. 

Continued local successes won the band an opening slot on a Golden Earring 1969 European tour. Following the tour, Golden Earring singer/guitarist George Kooymans offered the band an opportunity to record a song he'd recently written. 'Seasons' quickly attracted the attention of Polydor (coincidently Golden Earrings' label). Released as a single, the track b/w 'Hazy Paradise' (Polydor catalog number S1335) went top-10 in Holland.  



Another personnel change saw Kalis replaced by ex-Summer drummer Ton Van Der Kelij. Penned by Chris Koerts, a follow up 'Ruby Is the One' b/w 'Mechanical Lover' (Polydor catalog number 2050 019) did equally well, convincing all five members to quit school and turn full time musicians.


With the band having enjoyed a pair of European hits, Polydor agreed to finance an album. 1970's "Earth & Fire" offered up a surprisingly impressive set of originals (the lone exception being the inclusion of Kooyman's 'Seasons'). Released as a single, 'Wild and Exciting' b/w 'Vividy Shady Land' provided the band with another top-10 Dutch hit (Polydor catalog number 2050 044). 


Produced by Fred Haayen, the album featured a mix of the earlier singles and new studio material.  So what did this baby sound like?  Well to my ears it sounded a little bit like a tougher/rawer version of The Shocking Blue.  On material like 'Ruby Is the One' and 'Twilight Dreamer' Kaagman's heavily accented English certainly bore more than a passing resemblance to those of Mariska Veres.  Similarly, like The Shocking Blue's Robbie Van Leeuwen, prime Earth and Fire songwriters Chris and Gerald Koerts had a penchant for crafting material that sounded good on FM radio, but retained a commercial undertone.  That said, exemplified by tracks like '21th Century Show' (sic) the Koerts brothers were also willing to take a stab at more progressive moves.  Elsewhere my personnel favorite was the rocker 'Love Quiver'.   Their debut album also served as the only Earth & Fire set to see a formal American release; the small Perception label somehow acquiring domestic distribution rights.  

"Earth & Fire" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Wild and Exciting   (Chris Koerts - Gerard Koerts) - 4:22
2.) Twilight Dreamer   ( Chris Koerts) - 4:10
3.) Ruby Is the One   (Chris Koerts) - 3:20
4.) You Know the Way   (Gerard Koerts) - 3:40
5.) Vivid Shady Land   (Chris Koerts) - 4:08

(side 2)

1.) 21th Century Show   (Chris Koerts) - 
2.) Seasons   (George Kooymans) - 
3.) Love Quiver   (Chris Koerts - Gerard Koerts) - 
4.) What's Your Name   (Chris Koerts - Gerard Koerts) - 


Here's a promotional clip off of YouTube clip showing the band playing 'Seasons':



Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Song of Marching Children

Company: Polydor 

Catalog: 2925 003

Year: 1971

Country/State: Voorschoten, Holland

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; Dutch pressing

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: 5100

Price: $60.00


Produced by Fred Haayan and Jaap Eggermont, 1971's "Song of Marching Children" found the band stretching out in a distinctively progressive mode (check out multi-segmented title suite on the second side). Apparently intended as a concept piece focusing on the notion of rebirth (the plotline was largely lost on me), like the debut the Koerts brothers and Ziech were again responsible for the majority of material. To be honest, the first time I heard the LP it didn't make much of an impression on me. That initial impression changes if you give the collection half a chance. Admittedly, exemplified by tracks such as 'Carnaval of the Animals' and church organ propelled 'Storm and Thunder' (edited down and released as a single, the track provided the band with another Dutch hit), Kaagman's limited little girl voice and labored English delivery took some getting use to. Similarly, as shown on the back cover, the group's English lyrics were frequently bizarre and baffling ("and then the rabbit pricus up it's ears"). On the other hand, the set's dark and measured sound had an odd and soothing appeal (if you doubt me, check out the catchy 'Ebbtide' and 'Affliction'). Apparently deemed too uncommercial for US audiences, the set never saw an American release. 

"Song of Marching Children" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Carnival of the Animals (Gerard Koerts - Hans Ziech - Chris Koerts) - 2:46
2.) Ebbtide (Ton Van Der Kelij - Gerard Koerts - Hans Ziech - Chris Koerts) - 3:15
3.) Storm and Thunder (Gerard Koerts - Hans Ziech - Chris Koerts) - 6:36

(side 2)

1.) Song of the Marching Children
a.) Theme of the Marching Children (instrumental) (Gerard Koerts - Hans Ziech - Chris Koerts) - 2:20
b.) Opening of the Sea (Gerard Koerts - Hans Ziech - Chris Koerts)l - 1:12
c.) Childhood (Gerard Koerts - Hans Ziech - Chris Koerts) - 3:10
d.) Affliction (Gerard Koerts - Hans Ziech - Chris Koerts) - 1:30
e.) Damnation (Gerard Koerts - Hans Ziech - Chris Koerts) - 2:52
f.) Purification (Gerard Koerts - Hans Ziech - Chris Koerts) - 4:23
g.) The March (Gerard Koerts - Hans Ziech - Chris Koerts) - 3:05



Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Atlantis

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 2925 013

Year: 1973

Country/State: Voorschoten, Holland

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: Dutch pressing

Available: SOLD

GEMM Catalog ID: SOLD Price: SOLD


Produced by Jaap Eggermont, 1972's "Atlantis" found the band bitten by the concept album bug. While the Dutch-to-English translations were occasionally clumsy, the album was built on the story of the rise and fall of Atlantis. Certainly not the year's most original concept. Musically the collection wasn't a major change in direction, though material such as "Maybe Tomorrow" and "Memories" sounded like the band had stolen a page out of the Moody Blues catalog - check out Gerald Koerts extensive use of the mellotron.

"Atlantis" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Atlantis:
     a.) Prelude
     b.) Prologue (Don't Know)
2.) The Rise and Fall (Under a Cloudy Sky)
3.) Theme of Atlantis,
4.) The Threat (Suddenly)
5.) Destruction (Rumbling from Inside the Earth)
6.) Epilogue (Don't Know)

(side 2)

1.) Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight
2.) Interlude
3.) Fanfare
4.) Theme from Atlantis
5.) Love Please Close the Door


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