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Golden Earring - Golden Earring a.k.a. 'The Wall Of Dolls' (1970)

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by joe, May 19, 2012.

  1. joe

    joe Senior Member

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    Jul 9, 2010

    Golden Earring - Golden Earring a.k.a. 'The Wall Of Dolls'

    2001(originally released 1970) - Red Bullet(Netherlands) CD: remastered

    - Barry Hay / vocals, flute
    - George Kooymans / guitars, vocals
    - Rinus Gerritsen / bass, keyboards
    - Cesar Zuiderwijk / drums, percussion

    1. Yellow And Blue
    2. The Loner
    3. This Is The Time Of The Year
    4. Big Tree, Blue Sea
    5. The Wall Of Dolls
    6. Back Home
    7. See See
    8. I'm Going To Send My Pigeons To The Sky
    9. As Long As The Winds Blows

    Nederbeat is the Dutch equivilent to the English(Mersey) beat and The Golden Earrings along with the Q65 and the Shocking Blue("Venus") were the hipsters of the scene in the Netherlands and The Golden Earrings released their first album, 'Just Earrings' in 1965 and their three subsequent releases basically roll out the same psych-pop formula. Although well renowned in their native homeland the band hadn't broken the barrier of the country's borders. In 1969, the "s" was dropped and the band was simply known now as Golden Earring(GE) and shifted their style and sound to a Zeppelin blues-based, hard rock/heavy psych riffage flavoured with Vanilla Fudge's dark atmospheric progressive leanings mixed with the hazy west-coast psychedlic jams reminescent of some of the San Fran bands. This fusion is exemplified with a improvised and experimental nineteen minute cover of the Byrd's, "Eight Miles High"(1969) from the album of the same title and actually recieved some airplay in the U.S. as the band was simultaneously touring there for the first time.

    The following year, 1970 heard some hard rock artists starting to molt their blues base and psych influences and melting progressive rock elements into their arsenal and Golden Earring's eponymous release, a.k.a. 'The Wall Of Dolls' belongs in the battery with the other artillery that was unleased that year. Though it doesn't carry the payload of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and some of the other big guns, it does implement more ordnance with the diversity and agility of prog precision passages intertwined with acoustic strings wired with eerie atmospheres. 'The Wall Of Dolls' and the single, "Back Home" reached #1 on the Dutch charts and GE started to recieve more attention in Europe and the U.S. and now were advancing with this multi-faceted album.

    The mythical and melancholic, "Yellow And Blue" opens up 'The Wall Of Dolls' and is bewitching with the interlace of fabulous fluting from Barry Hay and George Kooymans' quivering acoustic strings, then missiles into an up-tempo heavy electric riff and is accompianed by a piano and a moody mellotron with the incessent flute soloing throughout the song's time signature shifts. Simply stunning but Hay's vocals tend to wobble from time to time. "The Loner" is baked in a blues-based sauce and comes off as a typical Led Zep/Free guitar riff/solo structure as does, "This Is The Time Of The Year" though it's more melodic and haevy with hook laden harmonies. Both tracks, well done. "Big Tree, Blue Sky" (which was latter re-recorded, extended and released on the original UK/US pressings of 'Moontan' in 1973/74) is staggering with it's steep shifts and the tempo transfers ebb and flood fluently and doesn't stammer the structure of the song and is an accomplishment with the array of intervals within the six minutes which many prog bands would have a hard time to pull off. Again, the fluting with it's harmonizing between the dark & heavy, the swift and slow effortlessly executes and bridges with being in tandem with hard driving riffs, stabbing solos and mellow meloncholy melodies can easily rival anything from Jethro Tull and fellow flying Dutchmen, Focus(two obvious and too easy comparisons). Hay's vocals, at times are dramatic and commanding but can be overpowering and there is one interlude of the song he administers a sinister and a smirking and with a groovy, ghoulish bass line that adds a gloomy doomy ambience. This version is more raw and hard than the 'Moontan' track which is somewhat eclectic, erractic and quirky in places but none the less, outstanding. The title track with it's guitar echo effects casts a heavy psych vibe and a measured creepy cadence as the vocals muscularly slither though the lyrics are off the wall and Kooyman storms in with another searing guitar solo. "Back Home", as stated earlier is an appealing, straight ahead "hit" single. "See See" with it's acoustic celestial spirited strings, outlying electrifying guitar accents and the beating of the bongos precieves a foggy and lumbering atmosphere and the stellar vocals are out of this world. The hardest thud on the album comes from the peculiar title, "I'm Going To Send My Pigeons To The Sky" explodes, re-arms and revamps with sweeping sig shifting riffs, a bludgeoning bass with a long hauling distorted guitar solo galvanized with melodic harmonies is one hell of a slab of classic early '70's hard rock. The album ends with the long-winded but well done bluesy ballad, "As Long As The Wind Blows".

    The preceeding album, 'Seven Tears', a gem in it's own right, hears Barry Hay's vocals formulating his dandy, all exclusive vocal range and the rolling boulder bass is just bruising(some of the most heavy bottom end bass lines I've heard). 'Together' is somewhat inconsistent but still is rock hard. These two albums, with 'Eight Miles High', and of course, 'The Wall Of Dolls' are the stepping stones that crystallise GE's zenith, 'Moontan' with it's massive hit, "Radar Love", and is loaded with so much more can stand shoulder to shoulder with any hard rock album from 1973. The aptly titled, 'Switch', released after 'Moontan' in 1975 is again that enigma(?) of the mid '70's where some, if not most hard rock and prog artists descended and detoriated.

    So, if 'Moontan is 24-karat gold, surely 'The Wall Of Dolls' is a diamond in the rough.

    Rating: 8/10 Excellent

    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  2. Metal Head Mike

    Metal Head Mike Senior Member

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    Dec 23, 2011
    Re: Golden Earring - Golden Earring a.k.a. 'The Wall Of Dolls'(1970)

    my uncle had this on vinyl. I hated this when I was young. But do enjoy Golden Earring's early recordings now more than ever. Nice review
  3. recgord27

    recgord27 Walking down a dusty road

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    Aug 8, 2013
    South Africa
    Golden Earring are very underrated imo. I love the trippy vibe of wall of dolls, really a great underground sound. My parents hated this sort of music, so I was obliged to keep playing it:oyea:
    Excellent review @joe
  4. Old School

    Old School Member

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    Jun 25, 2018
    Tremendous album from one of the greatest yet most overlooked bands in the history of rock.

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