Monday, November 14, 2016

Billboard Chart Scrapers: Jan Akkerman (1977)

Fourth in a series.  To be considered a "chart scraper" album, an artist must have had only one album make the Billboard 200 album chart during the years 1976-85.  Said album spent no more than two weeks on the chart, placing no higher than 196.  They're all new to me.

Jan Akkerman
Released: 1977 (Atlantic)
Produced by: Richard DeBois

Side One Side Two
Angel Watch

Gate to Europe

April 8, 1978199
April 15, 1978198

click photos to enlarge

Jan Akkerman, Guitars
Joachim Kühn, Keyboards
Cees van der Laarse, Bass
Bruno Castelucci, Drums
Pierre van der Linden, Drums on "Floatin"
Neppie Noya, Percussion

Recorded at the Soundpush Studios - Blaricum - Holland
Recording Engineer : Jan Schuurman
Strings Recorded at the Morgan Studios - London
Strings Conducted by Roger Webb
Mixed by Richard DeBois, Jan Schuurman ("Angel Watch", "Pavane" and "Gate to Europe") and Jay Denson
Mastered at the EMI Studios - Heemstede - Holland
Mastered by Henk Horden and André Leenders
Cover Design : Rens Benerink
Photography : Joost Noordhoek
Retouch : Four Colors - Amsterdam
Jan Akkerman logo : Wim Ballendux
Art-Direction : Rens Benerink & Hans Tonino
Guitars customised by Anno Galema
Executive producer : Hans Tonino

Billboard, February 11, 1978, p. 62
Rolling Stone, May 18, 1978, p. 95
Get Ready to Rock

Akkerman's roots are in the prog-rock band Focus, and here he switches from prog-rock to jazz fusion. And, given that turnaround, this album is better than it deserves to be. It's no Jeff Beck from the same time period, but good nonetheless. The weaknesses are listed in the above Rolling Stone review: no hooks and no structure. In other words, the focus (see what I did there?) is dazzling artistry and technical skills, not writing. I enjoy this music while listening, but immediately forget it afterwards. For my money, the best cut here is the gentle closer, "Gate to Europe." Bonus points for a sweet album cover.


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