Cuby and the Blizzards (mostly referred to as C+B or Cuby +
Blizzards) from Grollo in the province of Drente are one of the longest
lasting Dutch bands and the most successful blues band the country has ever
The band started out in 1962 as The Rocking Strings with Eelco Gelling (g), Nico Schröder (b), Hans Kinds (g) and drummer Wim Kinds. The next year Wim Kinds was replaced by drummer Dick Beekman. In 1964, they changed their name to Cuby and the Blizzards after adding vocalist Harry "Cuby" Muskee (v, h) who had played upright bass in the Old Fashioned Jazz Group. Bassist Willy Middel came in on bass later that year. In 1965, they released their first single for CNR, “Stumble And Fall”, in a raucous R&B style reminiscent of the early Rolling Stones. They were then picked up by Phonogram Records and recorded a couple of R&B/freakbeat singles, some of which reached the lower regions of the charts. Hans Waterman (ex-René Five) had by then joined them on drums when Dick Beekman had left for The Ro-d-ys (apparently over rows over money).
Their breakthrough came when they released their first album, “Desolation”, late 1966, which contained a lot of blues numbers such as Eddie Boyd’s “Five Long Years” and John Lee Hooker’s “Hobo Blues”. Pianist Henk Hilbrandie of the Old Fashioned Jazz Group joined the band for this LP, but shortly afterwards Herman Brood (ex-Moans) became the permanent piano player, replacing rhythm guitarist Hans Kinds, who’d been drafted into the army. However, after two months, Kinds was medically discharged from the army and rejoined the band, who were now a six-piece. After just a few gigs, it became clear that playing as a sextet wasn't going to work out, but nobody had the nerve to tell Kinds he had to leave. According to the legend, Eelco Gelling told Hans Kinds one night in a bar that if he wouldn't buy the next round (for the whole band) right there and then he'd be ousted. Gelling did this knowing Kinds was a miser and never bought rounds at bars. So Kinds snuck out the door and out of C+B. Later he returned as a road manager, but quit when he discovered that the band was always late for concerts.
In March 1967, the Blizzards backed Van Morrison on a tour of
The Netherlands (with C+B opening the show). Morrison would leave for
the USA after this tour and asked Eelco Gelling to join him, but the latter
declined. Rumours abound that
considered Gelling as a replacement for Peter Green in
The line-up of Muskee, Gelling, Brood, Middel and Waterman released the brilliant blues album, “Groeten uit Grollo”(Greetings From Grollo) later that year. The band also recorded an album with blues singer Eddie Boyd, “Praise The Blues”.
When Herman Brood was arrested in a drug bust late 1967, the band fell apart. Eelco Gelling, unhappy with Muskee’s autocratic leadership, started rehearsing with Hans Waterman, Jaap van Eik (b, ex-Blues Dimension) and Full House singer Sjoerd van der Duim. Harry Muskee tried to continue with Middel, Brood (who was in prison at the time) and the reinstated Dick Beekman. When it was announced that “Desolation” had earned C+B an Edison award (the Dutch “Grammy”), the record company coaxed Muskee and Gelling back together. The line-up was completed by Beekman, van Eik and Herman Brood. Willy Middel left the music business and Hans Waterman later emerged in Solution.
Late 1968, Beekman (to join Livin’Blues) and van Eik (to return back to Blues Dimension) were fired for erratic behaviour and replaced by Hans Lafaille (d) and Herman Deinum (b), both from Blues Dimension. The band called themselves Cuby’s Blues Band for a while (although never on records). A few months later, Herman Brood (who was incarcerated again, this time for shoplifting) was replaced by yet another Blues Dimension member, Helmig van der Vegt. This line-up remained stable until 1972. By then the band had changed to a more blues-rock oriented sound with jazzy influences. In 1971, they had been temporarily augmented by a horn section of Ruud van Dijk (s) and Bas Munniksma (f, s). Hans and Herman joined Rob Hoeke’s band in 1972 and Helmig left the rock scene to accompany entertainers. The next year Harry Muskee, Eelco Gelling, Hans Kinds, Willy Middel, Hans Waterman and Herman Brood did a farewell gig, followed in January 1974 by another one, this time televized and recorded for an album release (“Afscheidsconcert”).
Harry and Eelco remained musically active in the 70s with a new project, Red White & Blue. In 1975, when it turned out that Red White & Blue wasn't quite working out, it was decided to reform C+B, albeit with a new line-up: Harry & Eelco and from Red White & Blue: Lou Leeuw (b, ex-Rocking Tigers), Frank Nuyens (g, ex-Q’65) and drummer Mels Bol (ex-Fontessa). Early 1976, Piet de Leeuwe (o, p, ex-Child Of Nature and Toermalijn) completed the group, but he was soon replaced by old timer Herman Brood (ex-Vitesse) who played on the album “Kid Blue”. During the course of that year, Harry and Eelco parted ways: Eelco went on to tour with Golden Earring. Herman Brood then joined manager “Coach” Jansen to start a solo career that would bring him fame with his Wild Romance, bringing to an end the second era of C+B.
Due to legal problems (cancelled concerts because of Gelling’s departure), Harry had to carry on as the Harry Muskee Band with Bernard Reinke (g, ex-Capital C), Jan Groenink (dr, ex-Shamrock and Capital C) and RW&B bassist Lou Leeuw (b) adding Martin van Dijk (ex-Parnassus, later in Werk In Uitvoering) on keyboards. This band stayed together till early 1978 releasing one album (“Love Vendetta”). Prior to its break-up, Bernard joined Phoney & the Hardcore and was replaced by Ruud van As (g). Lou went to the Nina Hagen Band and then Phoney & the Hardcore. Groenink joined Shakey Sam’s Blues Band. For the next two years, Harry Muskee was on the dole with a huge tax debt.
In 1980, Harry started playing again with pick-up bands under the name The Muskee Gang. Former C+B members Eelco Gelling, Hans Lafaille (dr, ex-Sweet d'Buster), Herman Deinum, Ruud van Dijk (s, ex-Flash & Dance Band and Farrago) and Bas Munniksma (s, ex-Human Orchestra) were all members that year as were Jan Holder (tr) and Cees v.d. Laarse (b, ex-Jan Akkerman, to Tao).
When Eelco Gelling permanently joined The Freelance Band, Harry Muskee assembled the following touring band: Hans Lafaille (dr), Lou Leeuw (b), Paul Smeenk (g, ex-Sweet d'Buster), Ruud van Dijk (s) and Jeff Reynolds (tr). The latter tragically died in a traffic accident while touring with the band and was replaced by Peter Kuyt (ex-Massada). The band released the album “The Legend” (dominated by Smeenk’s funky songs) with an accompanying TV documentary.
When in 1984 first Paul Smeenk (who left the music business) and then Hans Lafaille and Lou Leeuw quit, Harry Muskee decided to drop the horn section and get in new musicians. The Gang was joined by Gino Jansen (b, ex-Fox the Fox), Gert-Jan de Valk (d), replaced by Hannes Langkamp (also ex-Fox the Fox), and David Gardeur (kb). The shock surprise was that Eelco Gelling returned to the fold. In 1985, they added Melle-Jan Kleinsma as second guitarist. During the recordings of “Rimshots In The Dark” in the Spring of 1986, Gelling and Kleinsma were fired because of substance abuse in the studio. They then formed The Blues Connection. This was the end of the 25-year collaboration between Muskee and Gelling. Erwin Java (ex-Wild Honey and Wild Romance) was called in as a stand-in, but he has stayed with Harry Muskee to this day. In 1990, the band name was shortened to Muskee with Harry, Erwin, Gino, Hannes and Roy Kushel (kb). The CD “Cut de luxe” was released, from which the single “Brother Booze” got a lot of airplay.
In 1995, journalist and fan Johan Derksen got Harry Muskee in touch with fan and industrial Henk Aa of Beaphar, who was willing to sponsor a reformed Cuby + Blizzards. This enabled Harry to hire the ex-Blizzards Hans Lafaille, Herman Deinum and Helmig van der Vegt again through the Cuby Is Back foundation. With Java staying as lead guitarist, Cuby + Blizzards started touring and recording again. Around the same time Eelco Gelling started playing in a blues duo with singer Rob Krop (El Kroppo). Between 1996 and 1999, blues harpist John Lagrand (ex-Livin’Blues) played with C+B. Lagrand passed away in 2005 at the age of 56. The new millennium saw Eelco Gelling start performing with his eponymous band. Also a Harry Muskee retrospective 4-CD box called "Blues Traveller" was released. This was followed the next year by a live DVD, "The Jubilee Concert", shot at the Amsterdam Paradiso and a live CD called “Hotel Grolloo” with guest stars including Barry Hay of Golden Earring. That same year (2001) Herman Brood dramatically committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the Amsterdam Hilton. In 2005, Cuby’s 40th anniversary was celebrated with a television documentary “40 jaar de blues”, a DVD, a book and a CD with historic live performances. In 2009, C+B surprised their fans with a stunningly good new album, “Cats Lost”, hailed as their best since “Groeten uit Grollo”, released 42 years earlier.
1965 Stumble and fall/I'm so restless CNR UH 9802 1966 LSD got a million dollars/Your body not your soul Philips JF 333512 Back home/Sweet Mary Philips JF 333586 Richard Cory/You don't know Philips JF 333587 LP Desolation Philips XPY 855022 1967 Just for fun/Things I remember Philips JF 333684 Another day another road/Feeling like a suitcase Philips JF 333856 Distant smile/Don't know which way I'm going to Philips JF 333902 The sunshine of your shadow/Crying tears Philips JF 333958 Another land/Somebody will know someday [premiumsingle] Philips 113381 W LP Praise the blues [met Eddie Boyd] Philips XPY 855033 LP Groeten uit Grollo Philips XPY 855040 1968 Window of my eyes/Checkin' up on my baby Philips JF 334543 Nostalgic toilet/116a Queensway Philips JF 334650 LP Trippin' thru a midnight blues Philips XPY 855060 LP Live at Düsseldorf! Philips PY 844087 LP On the road Boek en Plaat/Philips K 101-4 1969 Appleknockers flophouse/Because of illness Philips JF 336071 2LP Cuby's blues [cassette met 2 LP's] Philips H 72 BG 220 LP Appleknockers flophouse Philips PY 849016 1970 Thursday night/Wee wee baby Philips 6012015 LP Too blind to see Philips 6413002 LP King of the world Philips 6413010 1971 Backstreet/Easy to leave hard to forget Philips 6012100 LP Simple man Philips 6413014 1972 Pawnbroker/Straight no chaser Philips 6012179 Sometimes/Every time Philips 6012214 LP Sometimes Philips 6413026 1973 LP Desolation [re] Philips 6440065 LP Live! [re] Philips 6440091 LP Ballads Philips 6440117 LP Appleknockers flophouse [re] Philips 6440158 1974 LP Groeten uit Grolloo [re] Philips 6343227 LP Midnight blues [re] Philips 6343228 LP Afscheidsconcert Philips 6343229 LP The best [dubbelaar] Philips 6677021 LP Cuby's blues [dubbelaar] Philips 6677023 1976 Kid blue/Perfect song CNR 141361 LP Kid blue CNR 660002 LP Groeten uit Grolloo/Desolation [dubbelaar] Philips 6677039 1977 EP Window of my eyes/Appleknockers flophouse/Downhearted woman/Another day another road Philips 6208021 LP Old times good times [outtakes] Philips 6416111 LP Simple man [re] Philips 6440306 LP Appleknockers flophouse [re] Philips 6440307 LP Praise the blues [re] Philips 6440308 LP Desolation [re] Philips 6440309 LP Groeten uit Grolloo [re] Philips 6440310 LP Sometimes [re] Philips 6440311 LP Too blind to see [re] Philips 6440312 1979 LP Forgotten tapes Philips 6401107 LP Featuring Herman Brood live Melody Express 1 LP Live at Düsseldorf! Universe Productions SP 3 LP Old times good times [re] Philips 6416111 1981 Live [unauthorized] K-Tel HN 4301 1988 CD Old times, good times Universe Productions CDLS 42 CD Forgotten tapes Universe Productions CDLS 47 CD Kid Blue Universe Productions CDSP 8792 CD Ballads Universe Productions CDLSP 8801 CD The Legends Universe Productions CDLSP 8802 CD Cuby's Blues Philips 834 088-2 CD Live at Düsseldorf Philips 834 659-2 CD Groeten uit Grollo / Trippin' thru' a midnight blues Philips 834 660-2 CD Too blind to see / Appleknockers flophouse Philips 834 661-2 CD Sometimes / Simple man Philips 834 662-2 CD Desolation Mercury 838 527-2 1990 2CD The singles collection Mercury 842 310-2 CD Praise the blues (with Eddie Boyd) Mercury 846 526-2 1992 CD Afscheidsconcert Varagram VCD 472 097 2 1996 CD Desolation Spectrum 55213-2 1997 CD Travelling with the blues Munich Records MRCD 184 1998 CD Dancing bear Red bullit RB 66161 CD single Dancing bear Red bullit RB 8419 2CD 3 Originals (Desolation, Groeten uit Grollo, Trippin' thru' a midnight blues + BONUS Praise the blues) Mercury 558 122-2 1999 2CD 3 Originals (Appleknockers Flophouse, Too blind to see, Simple man + BONUS: Sometimes) Universal 538 735-2 2000 CD Hotel Grolloo Munich Records MCRD 2005 DVD The Jubilee concert Paradiso Amsterdam ACE 11056F 4 CD box Blues traveller Hunter Music HM 12342 2002 CD The universal masters collection Mercury 586 851-2 CD Appleknockers flophouse + bonus tracks Rotation 064-453-2 CD single Dancing Bear + videoclip Red Bullit RB 8509 2CD Singles A's & B's Universal Hunter Music HM 13982 2003 DVD Mamelodi Live in Zuid-Afrika ACE 11084D CD Ballads Universal / Hunter Music 981 293-5 CD Boom boom bang (In the spirit of John Lee Hooker) Munich Records MRCD 248 2004 CD Groeten uit Grollo Mercury 986857-8 Live at Düsseldorf Universal 834 659-2 2005 2CD Live in het oude Luxor Munich Records MRCD 265 2006 2DVD/1CD Longbox 40 jaar de Blues Double2 / Universal Music 200 607-2 08 CD 50 jaar Nederpop Classic Bands Universal 178 611-6 2009 CD Cats Lost Grey Town Recordings 97059 (digi-pack) / 97060 (jewelcase) CD single Stranger Grey Town Recordings 97063
RED, WHITE & BLUE BAND
1975 Master of planning/Pigeon girl Polydor 2050368 LP Polydor 2925034 1976 Happyville/Country life Polydor 2050386
HARRY MUSKEE BAND
1977 LP Love vendetta Negram NN 3 Devil daisy/Bad news Negram 5C 006-25762 1978 Mr. Cool/Solid sender Negram 5C 006-25894
THE MUSKEE GANG
1983 LP The Legend Nova Zembla NZR 830819 1986 LP Rimshots in the dark Nova Zembla NZR 86006 1991 CD The Muskee Gang (tracks from The legend and Rimshots) Dureco 1152032
1990 CD Cut de luxe North Star Records LL 199006 Tough on me, tough on you / Sleepin' dog North Star Records LL 199007 1991 CD single Brother booze / Help me North Star Records 000 1991-02 CD Live Black & White BW 91001 CD Muskee Live Black 'n White BW 91001 CD single Window of my eyes Black 'n White BW 911201 1992 CD single Goin' down Black 'n White BW 92001 1994 CD Sky songs on the spot Silenz 9070 992 CD Live (re-release) Harbour Records HR 606922 CD single Sky songs on the spot Silenz 9070 995 1998 CD Cut the luxe (special edition) Harbour Records HR 607 912
After the split up of Cuby & Blizzards in 1976 (for the second time), Harry formed his own Harry Muskee Band in 1977. Members: Martin van Dijk (keyboards), Jan Groenink (drums, ex-Cuby), Lou Leeuw (bass, ex-Cuby), Bernard Reinke (guitar, ex-Cuby, already soon replaced by Ruud van As).
CUBY AND THE BLIZZARDS 17-9-66 SINGLE 33 4 BACK HOME 18-3-67 SINGLE 34 4 JUST FOR FUN 15-7-67 SINGLE 20 7 ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER ROAD 16-12-67 SINGLE 20 6 DISTANT SMILE 28-9-68 SINGLE 10 10 WINDOW OF MY EYES 28-12-68 SINGLE 37 2 NOSTALGIC TOILET 15-11-69 SINGLE 12 9 APPLE-KNOCKERS FLOPHOUSE 23-5-70 SINGLE 27 4 THURSDAY NIGHT 8-5-71 SINGLE 34 2 BACK STREET 8-1-72 SINGLE tip PAWN BROKER MUSKEE 9-3-91 SINGLE tip BROTHER BOOZE 23-3-91 ALBUM 64 6 CUT THE LUXE 18-6-94 ALBUM 57 13 SKY SONGS RED, WHITE 'N BLUE 26-4-75 ALBUM 13 10 RED, WHITE 'N BLUE [Album v/d week op 3-5-75]
Please send corrections, additions and comments to: uheep2 at comcast dot net
HARRY MUSKEE & CUBY + BLIZZARDS SITE
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