Friday, 8 August 2008
If you are not Dutch, you will probably not know who Andre Hazes is. But he is one of the most popular Dutch singers ever. He died a few years ago, but you cannot enter a bar for half an hour without hearing at least one of his songs.
Andre Hazes started his singing career in the footsteps of Johnny Jordaan and other famous Jordaan singers, but later he became his own genre. I am not going to explain it, but if you are interested, there will be many Andre Hazes video’s on YouTube.
When the man was at the height of his career, he began saying in interviews that he wanted to do more rock’n’roll. He did some rock’n’roll in his shows, but I always prefered to hear him sing his own ballads like ”De vlieger” or ”Eenzame kerst”, because his definitions of what r’n’r is, are pretty different from mine.
In 1989 he recorded a CD with the music that he loved to sing at home: blues, soul and rock’n’roll. He wrote Dutch texts for some songs, but also sang some in English. He asked some of the most famous Dutch rock’n’roll musicians to play something on this CD, like Herman Brood, Kaz Lux and Jan Akkerman.
I once heard Jan Akkerman say in an interview how he reacted to the Dutch lyrics of the songs that Andre wanted to record. Andre had sent him copies of these texts over the mail. He said that he spent a whole night puzzling, trying to find out how on earth these lyrics could be sung to the tunes. He even asked some of his friends. It was a complete mystery to him, and that was an extra reason to visit the studio: to find out how Andre Hazes would do it. And to his surprise, when Andre Hazes sang the lyrics, it all fitted perfectly.
I don’t think it is a very good CD, but there are a handful of songs that are at least interesting. And here and there he sounds like an exotic soul singer from some Caribbean island.