Royal Bed Bouncer, the third album recorded by the Dutch progressive rock band Kayak and originally released in 1975, recently got a proper reissue. However, unlike the earlier re-releases on CD, this time no bonus tracks are included, but instead you get a far better sound thanks to the perfect remastering. A flawless looking CD-booklet has been included as well with great liner notes and pictures from the time the album was recorded.
Royal Bed Bouncer was produced by Gerrit-Jan Leenders and Kayak. At the time the band consisted of Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards, backing vocals, double bass), the late Pim Koopman (drums, backing vocals, lead vocals on Bury The World), Max Werner (lead and backing vocals, percussion, Mellotron), Bert Veldkamp (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Johan Slager (guitars, backing vocals). Special guest on this album was female singer Patricia Paay who did some wordless vocals on Patricia Anglaia.
This third effort is more interesting than the rather pop orientated album Kayak (1974, see review). Their second album certainly contained good progressive rock tunes like the epic piece They Get To Know Me and Trust In The Machine. However, in general it was considered to be a step back compared to their debut See See The Sun (1973, see review). One of the reasons why Royal Bed Bouncer was a step forward could be the fact that nine out of ten songs were written by Ton Scherpenzeel. The songs written by this keyboard layer always contained more prog rock influences than the ones written by Koopman, who only contributed on the short instrumental piece Patricia Anglaia.
While listening to this album almost forty years later I realized that this is a great piece of art! The influences from bands as Yes, Genesis, Electric Light Orchestra and Gentle Giant can be heard throughout the album. The level of musicianship is very high and the production was much better than on their two previous albums. The band had matured over the years, but kept their identity of playing enjoyable prog tunes with many influences of classical music. They were successful in the Dutch charts with the single Chance For A Lifetime, but that didn't mean that they were selling out. Throughout, the album included wonderful Mellotron parts and fantastic guitar and synthesizer solos. Moreover, the album had no fillers and all tracks can be called strong prog rock compositions. What more does a true prog head wish for?
For people who always found the album title a bit weird an explanation is in place. Royal Bed Bouncer refers to a royal wine taster who must jump on the royal family's beds as well to find out whether there were knives under the pillows... Together with their debut, Royal Bed Bouncer always belonged to the best progressive rock albums Kayak recorded in their forty-year existence. As far as I'm concerned this album is one of the many highlights recorded by Dutch prog bands. Therefore it's highly recommended to those who enjoyed the seventies albums of Yes, Genesis, Electric Light Orchestra and Gentle Giant!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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