Year of Release: 1968
The mod movement is regarded by most listeners and pop pickers as being an inherently British phenomenon, and whilst overseas mod acts most certainly did exist, it's curious to see how they presented themselves. The Motions, for example, posed beneath Big Ben for the sleeve of one of their earlier singles "Everything (That's Mine)", complementing the clanging Who-ness of the disc with distinctly familiar Anglo orientated imagery. That they hailed from The Hague in The Netherlands and were at that point produced by Americans Scott Walker and John Walker apparently presented no issues to them.
Despite (or perhaps because of) their rather un-Dutch image, The Motions were a force to be reckoned with in their native land, issuing dozens of singles and containing plenty of national musical legends in their line-up. Singer Rudy Bennett had a successful solo career after The Motions called it a day in 1971, drummer Sieb Warner became sticksman for Golden Earring, and perhaps most notably Robbie Van Leeuwen became one of the founding members of the ridiculously under-rated (in Britain, at least) Shocking Blue.
"Take The Fast Train" perhaps isn't their best single, but its raw, bluesy riff cuts through the sweet vocal harmonies in such a contradictory fashion that it's a compelling listen. The influence on Shocking Blue in particular can clearly be heard here - this is basically late sixties hard rock with a slightly sugary edge. Flip side "Hamburg City" is a lot less jagged (and therefore less interesting) being an almost Manfred Mann styled tribute to the German city.
The Motions are pretty much the Godfathers of the Nederbeat movement, and can even be found on the "Nuggets II" box set issued by Rhino. That they didn't do much business outside of their home country is unfortunate, but in the case of Britain they barely tried (notching up only a few gigs to their name there, despite Scott Walker's encouragement). Some members would, however, get their shot at international fame in other bands, and the Motions must therefore be considered one of the better schools of Rock in Holland, as well as releasing some furiously good singles.
(This blog entry was originally uploaded in November 2011)