Review: Leo Koster Band – Rickies Till Dawn


Leo Koster Band - Rickies Till Dawn

Leo Koster Band – Rickies Till Dawn
Format: CD / Label: Continental Record Services
Release: 2022

Tekst: Bert van Kessel

Country-rock has always been popular in The Netherlands ever since the early 1970s, and it’s wonderful to see numerous Dutch bands picking up  the gauntlet of Americana music. The Leo Koster Band is surely one of the forerunners. After the band’s debut album ‘Train Of Life’ (2015), and Leo Koster’s solo effort ‘Leo Koster Sings Gene Clark’ (2018), this album is another fine token of their craftsmanship.

Leo Koster is an ardent admirer of the Byrds, especially the sound of Roger McGuinn’s Rickenbacker. He brought together his five-man band with friends like BJ Baartmans (guitars), Roel Spanjers (keyboards) and Sjoerd van Bommel (drums). They also  went to Nashville and recorded with Charlie McCoy (bass) and Lloyd Green (steel guitar).

The album title is aptly chosen, pointing at what this album is all about, getting together with a bunch of friends, having a good time and playing music, preferably with Rickenbackers (“Rickies”) . This has led to  an upbeat guitar-album.

Guitarists Leo Koster, Han Bavinck and  Bart-Jan Baartmans used 26 different guitars, mostly vintage, to lay down a wide range of entertaining guitar sound. A lot of time and attention was spent on the vocal harmonies too, with impressive results: move over Crosby Stills Nash! The album features 12 original compositions by Leo Koster. The band displays a varied palette of Americana, with the tracks connected by the guitars and leo Koster’s fine vocals with just a touch of raspiness, sometimes reminiscent of JW Roy.

The opening track The Room illustrates the atmosphere of gaiety perfectly; the chorus is a first-class earworm. It is followed by Collateral Damage, which in spite of its sad WWII theme, manages to continue that upbeat feeling with spirited keyboards.

After two guitar-driven homages to their guitars (That Extra Guitar and  I Love My First Ricky ), the band rightly allows the Rickenbacker to take centre-stage in the Byrds pastiche Stumble And Fall. Walkwoman is a cheerful ditty, recorded in Nashville, with hilarious lyrics that could have been written by Doug Sahm.

One-on-one Teacher is a good-humoured rocker with a rolling bar room piano and some great soloing by BJ on the electric guitar. Excellent musicianship is diplayed by Kees Maat on the accordion in From The Bottom Of The Ocean and by BJ Baartmans on the slide in New Mexico.

So sit back and allow this talented Dutch outfit to take you back to the heydays of country-rock in a most masterful way.

01. The Room
02. Collateral Damage
03. That Extra Guitar
04. I Love My Ricky
05. 18/Stumble and Fall
06. She’s The Devil In Disguise
07. Coeur d’Alene
08. Walkwoman
09. One-On-One Teacher
10. From The Bottom Of The Ocean
11. New Mexico
12. Rickies Till Dawn