Alquin: The Dutch Prog Rock Legends Who Revisited Their Classic Albums
Alquin was a progressive rock band from the Netherlands that formed in 1971 and released four albums before disbanding in 1977. Their second and third albums, Marks (1972) and The Mountain Queen (1973), are widely regarded as their best works, showcasing their eclectic blend of rock, jazz, folk and classical influences. In 2009, Esoteric Recordings reissued these two albums with remastered sound and bonus tracks, giving a new generation of prog fans a chance to discover Alquin's music.
Marks was Alquin's first album to feature English lyrics, written by poet Michel van Dijk, who also joined the band as their lead singer. The album contains seven tracks that range from the hard-rocking opener \"Oriental Journey\" to the epic closing suite \"The Dance\", which features a guest appearance by saxophonist Dick Morrissey. The album also includes the catchy single \"Wheelchair Groupie\", which became a minor hit in Europe and is one of Alquin's most popular songs.
The Mountain Queen was Alquin's third album and their most ambitious one. The album consists of two long compositions, each occupying one side of the vinyl record. The first one, \"The Mountain Queen\", is a concept piece based on a fairy tale about a queen who lives on a mountain and falls in love with a mortal man. The second one, \"Don and Dewey\", is a tribute to the American rock and roll duo Don and Dewey, who influenced Alquin's music. The album showcases Alquin's musical versatility and creativity, as well as their impressive instrumental skills.
Esoteric Recordings reissued Marks and The Mountain Queen in 2009 as part of their series of remastered and expanded editions of classic prog rock albums. The reissues feature improved sound quality, detailed liner notes, rare photos and bonus tracks, including live recordings, demos and alternate versions. The reissues are a must-have for any fan of Alquin or prog rock in general.
Alquin disbanded in 1977 after releasing their fourth and final studio album, Best Kept Secret, which marked a shift towards a more pop-oriented sound. The band members pursued various solo and session careers, but remained in contact with each other. In 2003, they decided to reunite for a series of concerts, which were recorded and released as a live album and DVD titled One More Night. The reunion was well received by fans and critics, and Alquin continued to perform occasionally until 2012.
In 2005, Alquin released their first studio album in 28 years, Blue Planet, which featured new material as well as reworked versions of some old songs. The album was produced by Ferdinand Bakker, who also played guitar, keyboards and violin. The album received positive reviews and showed that Alquin still had their musical flair and creativity. In 2009, Alquin released their sixth and final studio album, Sailors And Sinners, which was also produced by Bakker. The album featured guest appearances by Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and George Kooymans of Golden Earring. The album was a fitting farewell to Alquin's loyal fans, who had followed them for almost four decades.
Alquin was one of the most original and influential bands in the Dutch prog rock scene, and their music deserves to be rediscovered by new generations of listeners. The Esoteric Recordings reissues of Marks and The Mountain Queen are a great way to start exploring Alquin's rich and diverse musical legacy.