Akkerman And Lux - Eli

EricEric USA
edited August 1 in year-1976

This is not an easy album to recommend even for Focus fans, hard to know what the motives were behind such a project although I think Akkerman's penchant for experimentation might have got the best of him here.

Akkerman And Lux - Eli
ARTIST: Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux
ALBUM: Eli
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: SD 18210
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: 1996, WEA, 2292-42361-2 * 2007, Strange Days (Japan), POCE-1115

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Dutch Flag
LINEUP: Kaz Lux - vocals * Jan Akkerman - guitar, bass * Jasper van't Hof - keyboards * Warwick Reading - bass * Pierre van der Linden, Richard Debois - drums * Neppie Noya - percussion * Margriet Eshuis, Maggie MacNeal, Patricia Paay - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Eli * 02 Guardian Angel * 03 Tranquilizer * 04 Can't Fake A Good Time * 05 There He Still Goes * 06 Strindberg * 07 Wings Of Strings * 08 Naked Access * 09 Fairytale

Background

The name Jan Akkerman should be familiar to followers of both progressive and jazz rock having been the guitarist and founding member of Dutch group Focus. Remember the yodeling on their best known hit 'Hocus Pocus'? Definitely not representative of the band's sound, but by 1976 Akkerman had enough of Focus' hunger for commercial success and left the band to concentrate on a solo career. Enter Kaz Lux, the vocalist best known for his work with Akkerman prior to Focus in the group Brainbox.

One of the great early Dutch bands, the Brainbox sound was a heavy blues based psych rock whose first 1969 self-titled album is a treasured classic among fans of the style. Lux released a few solo albums and singles following the dissolution of Brainbox but 'Eli' reunited the duo with mixed results in my opinion.

The Songs

A hard to follow concept album about an individual named 'Eli' who according to the inside sleeve makes his way out of his home in the woods, meets an angel and finds his way to Amsterdam. Not exactly 'Tommy', but give 'em credit for imagination I guess. What I'm really not too keen on is the pairing of these two on record. Akkerman had moved considerably away from the sledgehammer blues of Brainbox and further into jazz guitar stylistically.

Lux's gravely voice is just a little too rough and tumble for the material and this is especially so on 'Guardian Angel' and there's some really funky stuff going on with 'Can't Fake A Good Time' as well as 'There He Still Goes' both of which I find hard to listen to.

Much better is the lysergic instrumental 'Tranquilizer' and the back to back 'Strindberg' and 'Wings Of Strings' recalling Akkerman's classical influenced work with Focus at their very best. 'Naked Actress' and album closer 'Fairytale' are similar to Akkerman's jazz rock dominated solo albums and here Lux is pretty much left out of the picture, save for a few spoken/half sung lyrics.

In Summary

This is not an easy album to recommend even for Focus fans. Hard to know what the motives were behind such a project although I think Akkerman's penchant for experimentation might have got the best of him here. Next please.


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