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The Dutch band and the King of Rock and Soul
11 oktober 2010 - Radio Wereldomroep

A down-to-earth Dutch band that can switch with ease between torch songs, chansons and rock numbers and an American singer who had been a soul legend for decades as self-styled King of Rock and Soul. Two apparent musical extremes, but in the case of De Dijk and Solomon Burke, who died on Sunday, the gap was surprisingly narrow.

The death of Solomon Burke was a blow for soul music, but it also hit De Dijk hard. The CD Hold On Tight, on which they play English versions of their Dutch hits with Solomon Burke as lead vocalist, was released less than a week ago.

Sweet soul music
De Dijk and Solomon Burke first met in 2007 when the soul singer joined them on stage for a couple of songs. Its no surprise that the Amsterdam band appealed to Burke. Despite the poetic Dutch lyrics of vocalist Huub van der Lubbe, the influence of US soul and rhythm & blues has been clearly audible in De Dijk's music for many years.

There is a reason the band added a horn section a while back, making the music sound as full-bodied and stirring as the best 1960s soul records. As teenagers, Huub and his brother Hans, who is also a member of De Dijk, were crazy about soul music.

"We had an LP at home called This Is Soul with people like Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Solomon Burke" Huub explained recently on a TV programme "We thought that record was really great and it definitely influenced us musically."

Musical omnivores
Dutch journalists Jan Donkers, who wrote the sleeve notes for Hold On Tight:
"De Dijk was never a pure soul band. Like so many Dutch bands they have always covered a range of genres. Except that they have remained successful with that mixture for all these years, unlike many other Dutch artistes."

"In that respect it's not so strange that De Dijk and Solomon Burke hit it off. Burke was a musical omnivore too. He wasn't a typical soul singer. He was clearly influenced by gospel and his early records were actually country & western songs. And then with one of the numbers on the new CD, My Rose Saved From The Street, he demonstrated how well he can handle a typical European chanson."

Dutch lyrics
Despite the obvious soul and rhythm & blues influences in De Dijk's music, the group has never focused on the United States, the home of soul music. "We're still very much Dutchmen" said Huub van der Lubbe in the 1990s when De Dijk appeared in Austin, Texas for one-off gig. "Like they're waiting to hear our Dutch lyrics."

Indicative of the gulf between the personalities of the Dutchmen and their US soul-drenched music was the title of a collection of lyrics by singer Huub van der Lubbe - "Milkman with the Blues".

International impact?
In late 2009 Solomon Burke travelled to Brussels to record a complete album with De Dijk in six days. "What struck me" says Jan Donkers "was how encouraging and sympathetic Solomon was about the whole process. He made it clear he was genuinely interested in De Dijk's songs and in Huub's lyrics."

The CD has been released internationally. Donkers thinks De Dijk have a good chance of making a real impact abroad. "The record is a surprise for everyone, including Burke's fans. So who knows? It is, of course, the last CD with Solomon to be released, so that will create a great deal of interest. That and the fact that it's a great record!"

Geschreven door: Johan van Slooten

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