Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1977-79)
- Hans Boeye -- drums, percussion
- Leo Cornelissens -- organ, mellotron, string ensemble, vocals
- Peter Dekeersmaeker -- vocals, bass, vocals
- Jacky van Liesdonck -- piano, electric piano, clavinet, synthesizer
- Hans Marynissen -- percussion
- Lu Rousseau -- vocals, percussion
- Ruud Wortman -- guitar, backing vocals
- none known
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Dawn Dancer
Company: Don Quixote
Country/State: Holland / Belgium
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: Dutch pressing
Catalog ID: 6223
If you poke around the web you'll see this short-lived seven piece progressive outfit listed as being either Belgian, or Dutch. The fact of the matter is Flyte was actually multinational, with both Belgian and Dutch members. At least part of the confusion seems to stem from the fact their sole album "Dawn Dancer" was recorded at Kritz Recording Studios in Kuurne, Belgium, but was distributed by the Dutch Don Quixote label.
Formed in 1972 an initially known as Grace (to avoid a lawsuit from a British band named Grace they decided on a name change), Flyte showcased the talents of drummer Hans Boeye, keyboardist players Leo Cornelissens and Jacky van Liesdonck, bassist Peter Dekeersmaeker, percussionist Hans Marynissen, singer Lu Rousseau, and lead guitarist Ruud Wortman. Formed in the early-1970s the band started out doing progressive and rock covers which generated some local attention on the Benelux club circuit. They attracted more attention when they won a battle-of-the-bands in 1976, which saw them graduate to opening at a couple of large outdoor festivals. That attracted the attention of the small Dutch Don Quixote label. Listening to their sole album there was no doubt that these guys had quite a bit of talent (drummer Boeye and guitarist Wortman were particularly good), but if you were looking for an album full of ground breaking innovation, this probably wasn't the place to start. With four of the seven members contributing to the writing chores (Marynissen handled all of the lyrics - which were written and performed in English), it was pretty obvious these guys had been listening to lots of UK progressive acts (Camel, Genesis, Yes, etc.), which made this kind of a fun exercise in playing spot-the-influence. Besides the lack of originality (not a major crime), their biggest shortcoming came in the realm of singing. In his role as lead singer Rousseau was saddled with a high, thin, and whiny instrument. The fact all of Marynissen's lyrics were in English certainly didn't make matters any easier for Rousseau who really sounded like he was laboring with the lyrics ('course his performance was certainly better then my Flemish).
If your expectations are in the right range, this might not be a bad addition to your collection.
The album's apparently quite rare; their label supposedly went belly-up after pressing 2,000 copies. The band reportedly recorded a follow-up album, though it's apparently never seen the light of day and called it quits in 1981.
Dancer" track listing:
1.) Woman (Leo Cornelissen - Ruud Wortman - Hans Marynissen) - 4:47 rating: *** stars
Opening up with some tasty Rudd guitar, 'Woman' hit a brick wall the minute Rousseau started singing in what almost sounded like a mock operatic voice. Shrill and irritating, this one would have been better served had it been arranged as an instrumental. Luckily, most of the song was instrumental, showcasing some nice keyboard-guitar interface towards the end of the song (there was even a snippet that even reminded me a bit of The Who classic 'Pinball Wizard').
2.) Heavy Like A Child (Ruud Wortman - Jack van Liesdonck) - 5:28 rating: *** stars
'Heavy Like A Child' (yes Marynissen's lyrics were occasionally a bit on the clunky and pretentious side), started out with some tinkling electric keyboards before shifting gears into a more muscular progressive=tinged rocker. While the song lacked a strong melody and Rousseau's voice remained an acquired taste, the song dis sport another first rate performance from Ruff' and towards the end of the song some decent hyperspeed synthesizers.
3.) Grace (instrumental) (Ruud Wortman) - 5:08 rating: **** stars
To my ears the instrumental 'Grace' was the album's highpoint. Critics will probably complain that it happens to be the album's most commercial and mainstream performance, but to be honest I don't see that as a problem. This one simply had the best melody and an excellent performance from the entire band (sans Rousseau). Keyboardist Cornelissen contributed some understated Mellotron while there was a very nice jazz-tinged solo from Rudd.
4.) You're Free I Guess (Leo Cornelissen - Hans Marynissen) - 5:59 rating: ** stars
With a weird mix of martial beat, folk music, and symphonic moves 'You're Free I Guess' found Rousseau trying life in a lower range. Unfortunately the results weren't much better. He still sounded shrill and uncomfortable with the spoken word segment being cringe-inducing. At least on my album this track also suffers from kind of a muddy mix.
'Aim At The Head' started out sounding almost like a slice of mid-1970s AOR (shades of Supertramp), but then Rousseau's voice kicked in (this time around sounding a bit like a constipated Ron Mael). Hum, in spite of the bizarre lyrics (something seemingly got lost in the translation to English), I actually liked the song; just didn't like the vocals. The saving grace was that most of the song was instrumental ...
2.) Your Breath Enjoyer (Jack van Liesdonck - Leo Cornelissen - Hans Marynissen) - 4:14 rating: ** stars
Yeah, the song title makes me smile every time I see it and the lyrics are pretty funny ("your train of truth crashed its death, its birth ..." who knows what it was about. Anyhow, this one found the band at their most progressive - shades of third tier Peter Gabriel and Genesis. The problem with this one is that it was just way too scatter-shot; seldom have I heard so many disjointed ideas crammed into four minutes.
3.) King Of Clouds (Jack van Liesdonck - Hans Marynissen) - 4:43 rating: ** stars
Kicked along by some nice synthesizers, 'King Of Clouds' was a surprisingly pretty and haunting ballad, though the full blown church choir grew irritating as the song progressed.
4.) Brain Damage (Ruud Wortman - Hans Marynissen) - 4:50 rating: **** stars
So, overlooking the sophomoric lyrics, 'Brain Damage' was one of the album's stronger compositions. Great melody with Rudd turning in one of his most interesting solos and the rest of the band finding a nice blend of progressive and rock moves. Nice way to end the album.
Curiosity the debut album's been reissued twice:
- In 1993 by the French Mesea label released it in CD format (catalog number FGBG 4096.AR)
- The South Korean Si-Wan label reissued it on vinyl (catalog number SRML 3018)
Thanks to guitarist Ruud Wortman for the spelling corrections.
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