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The Well's on Fire

OOR, 8 February 2003

Frans Steensma writes to BtP:

Freek de Jonge is a very well-known stand-up comedian in the Netherlands. Last year he did some shows in Carré (Amsterdam) and recorded a live album with the Metropole Orchestra, in which he played a lot of songs. The album, called Parlando (Cabariolet 43044), contains several covers of songs to which De Jonge (who’s in his late fifties) has added his own lyrics. One of the songs is A Salty Dog. His translation is called Dood Op De Wadden (Death On The Wads’). Before he starts the song, he tells a very funny story in which features a ghost-ship called ‘A Salty Dog’ which picked up dead people from the Dutch beaches, especially the beaches of the (West) Frisian Islands. In the same story he tells he wants ASD to be played at his funeral. His Dutch version is quite impressive, supported by a well known female Dutch session singer called Jody Pijper. A pity only the Dutch understand the interesting lyrics.

The reason I tell all this is that when I reviewed The Well’s On Fire for the Dutch magazine OOR I began with a reference to this stand-up comedian.


Did you pick out the songs to be played at your funeral yet? Freek de Jonge did. In Parlando, his show from last year, he informed us his choice was A Salty Dog by Procol Harum (‘Procol’s best song’). 34 years after A Salty Dog these ‘still going strong strong rockers’ release their eleventh studio album. Compared to predecessor, The Prodigal Stranger, their comeback album from 1991, The Well’s On Fire has more a live feel to it. All songs still have the specific Procol ingredients: Gary Brooker’s powerful voice, the piano/organ dominance and the intriguing lyrics by Keith Reid. Highlights are the subtle The Blink Of An Eye, the up-tempo rocker Shadow Boxed and the ballad-like complaint The World Is Rich. Long ago Brooker and Reid wrote A Robe Of Silk and So Far Behind. Both songs are re-recorded and have stood the test of time remarkably well. Only the Matthew Fisher written instrumental Weisselklenzenacht can’t stand in the shadow of his all-time classic Repent Walpurgis. And Freek, as a fan of Procol ballads, you really should listen to The Emperor’s New Clothes. Spine-chilling.

Frans Steensma 


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