Wednesday, September 22, 2010

RO-D-YS - The Complete Collection

Even relative to some other mid- to late-'60s Dutch groups (like the Outsiders, Les Baroques, and Q 65), the Ro-d-y-s [sic] have a fairly low profile beyond their native Holland, even to collectors of 1960s Continental European rock. But the group did release quite a few records on the large Philips label between 1966 and 1969, including nine singles and two LPs.

Stylistically, they favored, like many Dutch groups, a very British-influenced sound with a slightly raw and sardonic edge, though with less distinction than the groups mentioned earlier. At various points, their songs (all written by lead singer and guitarist Harry Rijnbergen) incorporated prominent streaks of mod rock, soul, and late-'60s British pop-psychedelia, the lyrics often informed by archly phrased anti-establishment youth viewpoints. Some idiosyncratic Continental influence also seeps in with some of the unusual choices of instrumentation within rock arrangements, including xylophones, whistles, bicycle bells, bagpipes, and accordions. When the Ro-d-y-s broke up at the end of the 1960s, some of the members, including Rijnbergen, were in another Dutch band, Zen.

1. Ro-D-Ys - You'd Better Take Care Of Yourself (2:25)
2. Ro-D-Ys - Take Her Home (2:35)
3. Ro-D-Ys - Just Fancy (3:01)
4. Ro-D-Ys - Nothing To Change A Mind (2:29)
5. Ro-D-Ys - Sleep Sleep Sleep (3:06)
6. Ro-D-Ys - Anytime (3:12)
7. Ro-D-Ys - Unforgettable Girl (3:05)
8. Ro-D-Ys - Earnest Vocation (4:56)
9. Ro-D-Ys - Winter Woman (4:25)
10. Ro-D-Ys - Hitch-Hiking (2:38)
11. Ro-D-Ys - Bad Babe (2:12)
12. Ro-D-Ys - My Woman Has Got Loose (2:34)
13. Ro-D-Ys - Waiting For A Cloud-Burst (3:35)
14. Ro-D-Ys - When You Hear This Song (3:15)
15. Ro-D-Ys - Just Go On (2:52)
16. Ro-D-Ys - Destination (3:01)
17. Ro-D-Ys - I Still Got You (2:01)
18. Ro-D-Ys - Let's Try (2:26)
19. Ro-D-Ys - Wrong Shoe (2:10)
20. Ro-D-Ys - Get Me Down - Zen (2:55)
21. Ro-D-Ys - Take Me Down To The Riverside - Zen (2:49)
22. Ro-D-Ys - Rosie - Harley Jay (3:07)
23. Ro-D-Ys - Rock & Roller - Harry Rijnbergen (4:32)


1. Ro-D-Ys - Wheels, Wheels, Wheels (2:04)
2. Ro-D-Ys - Only One Week (2:01)
3. Ro-D-Ys - Gods Of Evil (3:06)
4. Ro-D-Ys - Stop Looking On A Deadlock (2:51)
5. Ro-D-Ys - Show Me By Candlelight (2:31)
6. Ro-D-Ys - Dr. Sipher (3:16)
7. Ro-D-Ys - Everytime A Second (3:30)
8. Ro-D-Ys - Isn't It A Good Time (2:12)
9. Ro-D-Ys - Looking For Something Better (2:55)
10. Ro-D-Ys - Love Is Almost Everywhere (3:13)
11. Ro-D-Ys - Robinetta (3:03)
12. Ro-D-Ys - No Place Like Home (4:22)
13. Ro-D-Ys - Easy Come, Easy Go (2:38)
14. Ro-D-Ys - Look For A Windchild (2:36)
15. Ro-D-Ys - Let It Be Tomorrow (2:15)
16. Ro-D-Ys - Peace Ants (3:51)
17. Ro-D-Ys - Flowers Everywhere (2:53)
18. Ro-D-Ys - Tomorrow (2:32)
19. Ro-D-Ys - You'd Better Take Care Of Yourself (Alternative Version) (2:27)
20. Ro-D-Ys - Wayfaring Stranger - Zen (3:28)
21. Ro-D-Ys - Let Me Try To Cry - Zen (4:10)
22. Ro-D-Ys - Lifetime - Harley Jay (3:27)
23. Ro-D-Ys - Mysterious Ways - Harry Rijnbergen (4:23)

All 46 songs released by the Ro-d-ys on their singles and LPs are on this comprehensive two-CD set, which adds four tracks from 1969-1970 by the spin-off band Zen, a couple from 1973 by Harley Jay (another group with Ro-d-ys singer/songwriter Harry Rijnbergen), and a couple Rijnbergen solo tracks with a 2003 date. It's a little hard to know what to make of the Ro-d-ys, as they tried out so many different styles that they didn't have much of a signature sound. Something like "Take Her Home" isn't far off the Spencer Davis Group, but the 1966-1967 singles on either side of that 45 release were somewhat foppish midtempo mod-pop tunes with a "doin' my thing" bounce. Rijnbergen's voice and viewpoints can slightly recall British songwriters like Ray Davies, and the odd tempo changes and twists in the songs can recall some of the work of bands like the 1967-1968-era Kinks, but without anything close to their flair for melodies, cogent lyrical insight, and hooks. Some of the outsider lyrical stances resemble those of another Dutch band of the period, the Zipps, with more fluency in English but less eccentricity. Some freakier psychedelic influences and more mainstream soul-pop make their presence felt too, and sometimes the arrangements take on a faint Continental folk flavor. It's far more quirky than it is great, without particularly outstanding songs, though aficionados of '60s Eurobeat will find some rewards. Most of the Zen/Harley Jay tracks go in a slightly more progressive/hard rock direction, including a good version of the folk standard "Wayfaring Stranger" and the very early-'70s Pink Floyd-ish "Let Me Try to Cry" (both by Zen) and "Lifetime" by Harley Jay, which likewise recalls early-'70s Pink Floyd at their more song-oriented. The two Rijnbergen solo tracks have a far more modern rock sound. Incidentally, while there's no faulting the thoroughness of this compilation, it might have been a better listen had the tracks been sequenced chronologically; instead, all of the A-sides and B-sides are chronologically sequenced on discs one and two respectively, followed by album and spin-off tracks.
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