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ARTIST: Zuider Zee
ALBUM: Zuider Zee
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Richard Orange - lead vocals, guitars * John Bonar - bass * Robert Hall - drums * Kim Foreman - keyboards
TRACK LISTING: 01 Listen To The Words * 02 Rubber Men * 03 The Last Song Of It's Kind * 04 Zeebra * 05 You're Not Thinking * 06 Haunter Of The Darkness * 07 She-Swing * 08 Thank You * 09 The Breaks * 10 Magic Fingers * 11 All That Is
According to 'Wikipedia', Zuider Zee is a land locked inlet on the north coast of The Netherlands. An unusual moniker for a band originally formed in Louisiana and based out of Memphis, Tennessee; a city that gave us Elvis and some of the best Barbeque east of the Mississippi. Zuider Zee formed in 1969 and primarily was a vehicle for singer songwriter Richard Orange - an artist we covered here a while back and his superb 'Big Orange Sun' CD. Zuider Zee didn't get much promotion from CBS and scattered support slots with totally incompatible groups like Caravan
and The Tubes
didn't help their cause. Adding insult to injury, bassist John Bonar was nearly stabbed to death during a break-in on the group's tour van which sealed the fate of this criminally overlooked band.
Richard Orange is not only a dead-ringer for Paul McCartney
vocally, but knew the Wings
catalog like the back of his hand. 'Listen To the Words' could have been lifted off a 'Red Rose Speedway' demo and the same goes for 'Rubber Men'. Of course, this kind of music always sets this reviewer off in a tizzy and I'm trying hard to be objective, but it's time to break out the drool cup after playing the epic ballad 'The Last Song Of It's Kind' for the umpteenth time, orchestrated as if Sir George Martin had popped in the studio to help out a bit. Oh yeah, I'd be amiss if I didn't mention a 10cc
influence on cuts like 'Zeebra', 'Thank You' and 'Magic Fingers'. We can also name check Badfinger
here and there, but Orange and band are clever enough to add their own flavour to these very British influences and while the shadow of Macca hovers over Zuider Zee, this is far from a clone band.
I'd love to have Zuider Zee on CD at some point and the Richard Orange web site has a link to Sony, or someone at the company to push such an endeavor. I won't hold my breath since I have more confidence in the Japanese getting to it due to their voracious appetite and track record for American pop reissues. Hope springs eternal.
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