Think Tank

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1972-73) 

- Robbie de Graaf -- vocals, drums, percussion

- Hans Jansen -- keyboards

- Aad van de Kreeft -- lead guitar

- Jacques Zwart (RIP 2003) -- vocals, bass


- Amsterdam (Jacques Zwart)

- The Band (Hans Jansen)

- Bled (Robbie de Graaf and Jacques Zwart)

- Blue Planet (Aad van der Kreeft)

- Ekseption (Hans Jansen)

- Het (Jacques Zwart)

- The JayJays (Hans Janson)

- The Marks (Hans Jansen)

- Metropole Orchestra (Hans Jansen)

- Penny Wise (Jacques Zwart)

- Pocomania (Jacques Zwart)

- Spin (Hans Jansen)

- Swinging Soul Machine (Hans Jansen)

- Jacques Zwart (solo efforts)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Think Tank

Company: Pink Elephant

Catalog: PE 977.022 G

Country/State: Amsterdam, Holland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve, small piece of tape middle of top seam

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 20370

Price: $125.00


Best time to play:  Sunday morning before you have to start your chores


The internet has quite a few references to the short-lived Dutch band Think Tank, but what you quickly discover is it's the same brief review, regurgitated time after time.  And after checking the album out, judging by that review, you had to wonder if anyone actually listened to the album.


The late singer/bassist Jacque Zwart was the brainchild and creative mainstay behind Think Tank.  Before forming the band in 1972, Zwart had worked in Bled, Het, and Penny Wise.  Likewise, his collaborators had played in a wide array of Dutch groups.  Drummer Robbie de Graaf had also been in Bled and with Zwart.  Keyboardist Hans Jansen had been a member of The JayJays.  Lead guitarist Aad van de Kreeft had worked with Blue Planet.  


Signed by Pink Elephant, 1972 saw the band go into the studios with producer Frans Peters.  With Zwart responsible for most of the twelve tracks, you can ignore any review that attempts to portray "Think Tank" as being a progressive endeavor.  It's not. Not even close.  Perhaps not a major surprise given Zwart's earlier work, but musically the collection featured a mixture of commercial influences including top-40-ish pop ('Hold My Hand'), big ballads (the pretty single 'Together'), and country-rock ('Rolling On The Railroad').  Zwart certainly wasn't a Mariska Veres, but the comparison to The Shocking Blue (who were mentioned in the liner notes), wasn't all that far off.  My general impression was of a band that was quite talented, but didn't have a lot of original ideas.  That made for a fun, spot-the-influences type of collection.  The results will clearly differ among listeners, but in my case those influences included Badfinger ('She´s My Friend'), Charlie ('My Love'), Todd Rundgren ('Pictures Of Youth'), and Status Quo ('Don´t Say Goodbye').


"Think Tank" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Together   (Jacques Zwart) - 3:17   rating: **** stars

It took a moment to get acclimated to drummer De Graaf's accented vocals, but once your ears figured it out, 'Together' turned out to be a surprisingly sweet and enjoyable "big" ballad.  A beautiful solo from guitarist Aad van de Kreeft certainly didn't hurt the song.  The track was released as the leadoff single in Germany, Holland, Japan, Lebanon and as a promo 45 in the US:

- 1972's 'Together' b/w 'Hold My Hand' (MGM catalog number K-14411)
2.) A Man Is A Fool
   (Jacques Zwart) - 2:44   rating: *** stars

I've never understood why so many '70s European bands were fascinated by American country music.  'A Man Is A Fool' was Think Tank's contribution to the genre.  As far as it goes, this upbeat performance wasn't half bad with the song having a catchy melody and serving to underscore the band's sweet harmony vocals.  The song was tapped as the third Dutch single:




- 1972's 'A Man Is a Fool' b/w 'Hey Call My Name' (Pink Elephant catalog number PE 022 062-G)






3.) Rolling On The Railroad   (Jacques Zwart) - 2:52   rating: **** stars

As much as I want to dislike it, there was something enchanting about the goofy country-tinged 'Rolling On The Railroad.'  The song  extended the band's country-rock efforts, mixing a sweet melody, nice harmonies, and a blazing van de Kreeft guitar solo.   One of the album highlights ...  The song was tapped as the second Dutch single:





1972's 'Rolling On the Railroad' b/w 'Pictures of Youth' (Pink Elephant catalog number PE 022 058-G)






4.) My Love
   (Jacques Zwart) - 3:40   rating: *** stars

'My Love' was a pretty, if slightly fey acoustic ballad ...  the tight harmony vocals have always reminded me of the band Charlie.
5.) Keep On Changing
   (Jacques Zwart) - 3:20   rating: ** stars

'Keep On Changing' was a rather bland, by-the-books, blues-rocker.  The van der Kreeft guitar solo helped a little, but ultimately not enough.
6.) Hold My Hand
   (Jacques Zwart) - 3:10   rating: *** stars

With a decent melody, 'Hold My Hand' certainly had promise, but the blatant "na-na-na" chorus totally disrupted the song's flow.


(side 2)

1.) Pictures Of Youth  (J. Jansen - C. Lux) - 4:11   rating: **** stars

It took a long time for the source inspiration to click, but when it did, it made perfect sense.  Perhaps the album's sweetest performance, 'Pictures Of Youth' was a dread ringer for something off of Todd Rundgren's "Something/Anything" album.
2.) She´s My Friend
  (J. Jansen) - 3:50
   rating: *** stars

Second tier Badfinger ballad ...
3.) Don´t Say Goodbye   (
Jacques Zwart) -  3:15
   rating: ** stars

Bland, Status Quo-styled blues rocker.  Again, it wasn't a bad effort; rather lacked anything in the way of originality.
4.) The Door That Stand For Life   (
Jacques Zwart - Robbie de Graaf - 3:40
   rating: *** stars

As mentioned, I've been puzzled by reviews that labeled this album as having progressive designs.  Most of it sounds pretty straightforward commercial to me.  That said, if there was one track that reflected any sort of progressive ambition, it would be the orchestrated ballad 'The Door That Stand For Life'.  I guess the somewhat fractured song title, lyrics, and the flute arrangement all gave the song a shadow oft progressive influence.
5.) What´s Life  (
Aad van de Kreeft) - 4:11
   rating: **** stars

It took a long time for the source inspiration to click, but when it did, it made perfect sense.  Perhaps the album's sweetest performance, 'Pictures Of Youth' was a dread

I was surprised and pleased by the classical-inspired opening that quickly shifted over to kind of an Association-styled ballad. Pretty, '60s-flavored ballad with a touch of activism added to the lyrics.  I will tell you these guys blended their voices together as well as any American, or English band.
6.) For Our Friends   (
Jacques Zwart) - 1:21 
   rating: *** star

The piano-based closer 'For Our Friends' simply underscored the feeling of ballad overload.  Curiously, given the number of times it was repeated, you would have thought the song title was ''Tomorrow'.  Pretty song, but ...  well, how about shaking things up with an up-tempo number.  Whoops, end of the album.  Too late.



With the album proving a commercial failure, the band collapsed.  Zwart went on to record an equally obscure album with the band Amsterdam.  He then shifted his attention of production work.  Suffering a fatal heart attack, he passed on in 2003.