Get this crazy baby off my head!




Supersister - Memories Are New-M.A.N. - 2000 - Soss Music [Limited Edition]

Having not been familiar with Supersister prior to this year's Progfest, they have gained another fan because of it. So, whilst there at the fest, I picked up this special, limited edition disc that contained a few live tracks and several previously unreleased tracks. The band had split around 1975 and is only now getting back together. Their Progfest performance was their first in the US; hopefully it will pave the way for more. Whilst their humourous bent might get them thought of as a novelty band, the do have some great jazzy-fusion-like chops. You can read my impressions of their Progfest performance elsewhere, but listening to the first four tracks here, which are the live ones, you can get a sense of the energy they put into their set. There are no dates for when the live tracks were recorded, but a note on the Supersister section of R J Stip's site, it mentions 1971. The album opens with a muscular version of "Present From Nancy" from their album of the same name. This is followed by a very nice version of "Radio" from Pudding En Gisteren, which so seamlessly glides into "Mexico" that if you aren't a Supersister expert, you might think its an extended jam on "Radio." Okay, at least I did, until I actually checked the tracking timing and the CD player. The production is very clear here, allowing the fullness of the arrangement to shine through. "Judy Goes On Holiday" is sharp-edged even with the fuzzed organ; in fact, it is that fuzzed organ that gives it that rough, ragged edge. "Hommage" is the second of the previously unreleased tracks, and is a symphonic, classically influenced piece with beautiful keys and flute, somewhat tinny percussion and barely perceptible bass. This track and those that follow were recorded in 1971 with the Tanz-und Unterhaltungsorchester des NDR. "Sweet Suicide" has a playful feel, with stuttering keys, trilling flute, energetic percussion...and then the swell of the orchestra just opens it open. I'm brought to mind of Moody Blues, actually, and UK pop bands of the late 60's - Herman's Hermits is what springs to mind. "Modest Man" as well, though I couldn't help but think of "The Little Drummer Boy" while hearing this, as it slowly develops. It is a rather dark track, and the orchestra swell a third of the way through made me think of the incident music composed for movies made in the 30's and 40's, used to underscore a melancholy moment. "Nothing Is Real" will sound familiar, as it forms one of the middle parts of "Judy Takes A Holiday," though it has more instrumentation and a lighter feel. Instead of deep bass taking the lead, it is the flute and keys. "Workman's Song" returns to the obvious humour of other tracks - imagine if Shirley Temple sang sweetly about committing violent acts...well, Shirley Temple with a bit too much testosterone singing sweetly about committing violent acts. "House In The Country" also takes that happy feel and twists it with dark lyrics. "Seven Ways To Die" is psychedelic...I'd say almost stereotypically psychedelic, but with Supersister one can't be sure if that's part of the point. "Woods Of Frustrated Men" is psychedelic as well, in the way that The Doors' "The End" was...in fact, I think "The End" is a very good comparison here, at least for part of it, as the track moves in so many directions. Strangest here is "Psalm," where you're not quite sure whether they're laughing or crying through a familiar psalm. Actually I think it's both, one of those "we should be sad, but we can't help giggling" kind of things. And since they're singing in Dutch (I think), I'm not sure if there's more to the joke or not. It's an interesting document, but I'd have to hear more of Supersister to see how the unreleased stuff compares to the released stuff. There are also tracks that date from the 60's, what is refered to in the booklet, cheekily, as their "Dutch period." Although it was compiled for their Progfest appearance, I suspect there are still copies available, either from Greg Walker at Syn-phonic, who seemed to be the only vendor selling it, or from the RJ Stips site. Reviewed by & © Stephanie Sollow, September 2000 © Copyright 2000 ProgressiveWorld.net http://www.progressiveworld.net/supersister2.html

I have two Supersister albums, Present from Nancy and Iskander. I've also heard parts of To the Highest Bidder and Spiral Staircase. To the Highest Bidder and Present from Nancy are generally the recommended starting places. Showing strong Canterbury (e.g., early Soft Machine) and some Wigwam influences in the organ department (lots of organ), Supersister blend their own Dutch ideals and a touch of humor into a unique mixture of progressive rock. Plenty of flute or sax or both can be heard weaving in and out of the varied organ and piano. Sax is very prevalent on Present from Nancy. On this album, and the similar ...Highest Bidder, the music doesn't sit still very long, shifting constantly through different times and keys yet always developing. When the lyrics are present, they seem breezy and carefree, even playful, the melody often echoed by sax or flute. There is no guitar. Iskander steps down a small notch. The sound continues on in the vein of Present from Nancy but the sax is gone. This helps to give the band more of their own unique sound. The flute is much more prevalent now. However, some of the writing is a bit weaker. There are fewer time changes and so forth. There are many excellent moments but a few times I noticed I wasn't "into it' as much as I was with Present from Nancy. It's also more experimental and meditative (i.e., spacy) for about half the album. Based on what I've heard of Spiral Staircase is the weakest of their albums. It seems they ran out of good musical ideas and relied more on the humor. One song is based on a rhumba! Supersister doesn't play the most complex music you might hear, but the first several albums are very good none-the-less. Supersister is a good band for Canterbury/UK fans to break into the Dutch and Scandanavian scenes. Start with the first album and work your way forward. [ from the New Gibraltar Encyclopaedia of Progressive Rock http://www.gepr.net/st.html#SUPERSISTER ]

Absolutely no connection with the British girl band SuperSister, this is a "reunion" CD from the Dutch progressive jazz rock bandSupersister's work from the early 60's and 70's including previously unreleased studio recordings from 1967 plus unique material recorded with the NDR Orchestra in Germany in 1971, and high quality 1973 live recordings from their first and most popular line up. This is a good Canterbury Rock/Progressive jazz rock/fusion style album. If you are familiar with bands like Soft Machine and Robert Wyatt's often eccentric, nonsensical, whimsical, and quirky lyrics and vocals, then you will have some idea of Supersister's brand of music. Much of Daevid Allen and/or Gongs music could fall into the same category. It is worth listening to this album if only for the live tracks. The music on this album is not as complex and inventive as Canterbury Rock artists like Soft Machine, Daevid Allen, Gong, or Hatfield And The North. It is more simplistic and melodic. Try and listen to the band's "Present from Nancy" album which is far more serious and explorative musically, and very enjoyable


1. Present from Nancy - live - Robert Jan Stips (7:23)
2. Radio - live - Ron van Eck, Robert Jan Stips (2:20)
3. Mexico - live - Robert Jan Stips (6:23)
4. Judy goes on holiday - live - Supersister (9:07)
5. (2x3=) 6 Blauwe dwergen - Rob Douw, Robert Jan Stips (1:16)
6. Hommage - Robert Jan Stips (3:35)
7. Sweet suicide - Ron van Eck, Robert Jan Stips (2:32)
8. Modest man - Ron van Eck, Robert Jan Stips (4:12)
9. Wine melody - Ron van Eck, Robert Jan Stips (2:44)
10. Nothing is real - Rob Douw, Robert Jan Stips (3:56)
11. Workman's song - Ron van Eck, Robert Jan Stips (3:10)
12. House in the country - Robert Jan Stips (3:29)
13. Seven ways to die - Robert Jan Stips (3:05)
14. Woods of frustrated men - Rob Douw, Robert Jan Stips (3:41)
15. Corporating comboboys - Robert Jan Stips (0:48)
16. Manke boerenwals - Rob Douw, Robert Jan Stips (1:08)
17. Psalm - Rob Douw(2:13)

Tracks 1-5 are live recordings from 1973. Tracks 6-12 were recorded with the NDR Orchestra in Germany on 4/10/71. Tracks 13-17 are early recordings from the 60's and 70's including previously unreleased studio recordings from 1967


Gerhard Smid - guitar, vocals
Ron van Eck - bass guitar
Robert Jan Stips - keyboards, vocals
Marco Vrolijk - drums
Rob Douw - trumpet, ideas & vocals (lead on tracks 5, 13-17)
Sacha van Geest RIP - flute, vocals


Supersister was a band from The Hague, (the Netherlands), playing progressive rock ranging from jazz to pop. The most predominant band members were Robert Jan Stips (keyboards, vocals), Sacha van Geest (flute), Marco Vrolijk (drums) and Ron van Eck (bass). The band started as Sweet OK Sister in 1968 as a school band with singer and songwriter Rob Douw, who soon thereafter left. The remaining members continued as a more serious musical quartet under the name Supersister. Their style was progressive rock (in Canterbury Scene style) in which Stips' keyboard play played a dominant role. Their debut was the 1970 album "Present from Nancy," hitting the charts with numbers like "She was naked", "A girl named you", and "Radio". After three albums (Present from Nancy - 1970, To the highest bidder - 1971, and Pudding en gisteren - 1972) van Geest and Vrolijk quit. The remaining crew, together with new members Charly Mariano (wind instruments) and Herman van Boeyen (drums) released the album "Iskander" in 1973, which is an even more jazz-rock oriented concept album based upon the life of Alexander the Great. In 1974 Stips and van Geest release a final album "Spiral Staircase" as "Sweet Okay Supersister". This album marks the end of the band. The band reunited in 2000 after a request by the Progfest festival for a performance in Los Angeles. The four 1970-1973 period band members decided to accept and the result was the requested performance, as well as a short tour through the Netherlands in late 2000 and early 2001. To mark the occasion a rarities album was released, called "M.A.N." featuring live and studio recordings from 1969-1973. The reunion abruptly came to an end when Sacha van Geest unexpectedly died in the summer of 2001. The reunion concert at the Paradiso in Amsterdam was recorded and later released on CD ("Supersisterious", 2001) and DVD ("Sweet OK Supersister", 2006), which also features several old and new documentaries, photographs and unreleased audio tracks.


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

ratso said...

Looking forward to getting this one later. A Dutch friend introduced me to this band, and remember being impressed.

You certainly find rare gems.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, ratso. Most of these Canterbury Rock style albums are worth hearing. Arguably the greatest album in the genre is Hatfield An The North's amazing "The Rotter's Club". There's still a few rare gems I'm looking for, but I'm not gonna pay ridiculous import prices. Too many rip-off merchants nowadays. Thanks, & TTU soon

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thank you Thank you Anonymous Anonymous!...Only kidding! I'm glad to receive any comments. ATB!

Anonymous said...


ratso said...

Couldn't agree more about the Rotter's Club, which is desert island music.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,ratso. You're a kindred spirit! What about Caravan's "Cunning Stunts"?...Another musical work of art. Thanks, & TTU soon

A.O.O.F.C said...

You're welcome, Anonymous. Cheers!