The Netherlands is known for many things, windmills, for example, tulips and wooden shoes, but blues? And yet one of the most prominent blues musicians of our time comes from there: we are talking about Hans Theessink, who was born on April 5, 1948, in Enschede and who got the blues fever on a school day, after he had Big Bill Broonzey and Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter had heard on the radio.
From then on, there was no holding back, the young Hans started playing the guitar, released his first album “Next Morning At Sunrise” in 1970 and extensively toured Europe. Well, after more than 7,000 concerts over more than 40 years of stage presence as well as more than 30 albums, Hans Theessink is well known in blues and worldwide. The most famous Dutch blues musician and now lives in Vienna.
Here he also plays his traditional (three) “New Year’s Concerts” in the prestigious jazz club “Jazzland”, so it happened at the turn of the year 2011-2012 on December 31, 2011, and on February 1 and 2, 2012. Fortunately, the last of the three concerts were recorded by the couple Dirk Sommer and Birgit Hammer-Sommer from Sommelier du Son.
Listening to Hans Theessink live is a breathtaking experience; only very few artists have a similar presence. Full of fun and energy, he plays ten songs here, just guitar and vocals, occasionally a little harmonica or foot-tapping, creating a denser atmosphere than most bands. He just got it, the blues. In addition to his own compositions and classics, there are also songs from Soul, R & B, or RocknRoll, but Theessink manages in his incomparable way to make their blues roots stand out clearly.
So the concert and thus the album is all about the Delta blues and old heroes like Muddy Waters, Big Bill Broonzy (to whom the song “Big Bills Guitar” is dedicated) or Sonny Boy Williamson. The concert recording itself took place at great expense, ranging from deliberate microphone to a “clean” power supply with special network synchronizers and network conditioners. But it has more than paid off, the sound quality is outstanding and the often-tried phrase from the concert in the living room is really true. The concert atmosphere can be relived in a vivid and nuanced way – not only the audiophile connoisseur will appreciate the efforts of Sommelier du Son here. Thus, this is a real treat in both musical and audiophile respects.
Recorded on Saturday, February 2, 2013, at the wonderful Jazzland Jazz Club in Vienna, Austria.
Total time: 00:43:52
|Analog Tape Recording Equipment||
Studer A810 Tape Recorders
Playback Designs Pinot – Analog to DSD 256 Converter; Signalyst HQ Player 4 Pro "EC" modulators
Christoph Stickel and Dirk Sommer at MSM Studios, Munich, Germany (Original Recording), Dirk Sommer – Direct Analog to DSD 256 Stereo Transfer of the Analog Master Tape; Tom Caulfield at NativeDSD Mastering Lab – DSD 512 Stereo created with Signalyst HQ Player 4 Pro "EC" modulators
AKG D7 (Vocals), Rode NT4 (Guitar), AKG Solid Tube (Front of Guitar Amp), Strand (Harp), Sennheiser MD 421-2 (Foot Tapping)
Grapevine Headamp 4, Beyer Dynamic Headphones, Amphion Two 15 Speakers, Bryson 2B-LP Amplifier, PS Audio Power Plant
|Original Recording Format|
Dirk Sommer and Birgit Hammer-Sommer, Sommelier du Son in Cooperation with Fink Audio Consulting
Dirk Sommer and Birgit Hammer-Sommer
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||November 23, 2018|
As the name of the label suggests, this is a recording for which all the audiophile ducks were set in a row, from microphone choice to cleaning up the power supply for the recording gear using a PS Power Plant.
Five separate microphones were used from three different brands – one just for Theesink’s foot-tapping! It was mixed on location at the Jazzland club in Vienna and recorded to Studer A810 analog tape machines. With monitoring using a dedicated headphone amp to drive Beyer Dynamics headphones, and a Bryston amp powering Amphion speakers. Oh, and the whole thing was produced in association with Fink Audio Consulting – a name which will need no introduction here.
Audiophile enough for you? Good – now forget all that stuff and just listen to the man play, for play he certainly can on this bluesy set of mainly self-penned tracks, most of which bear their inspirations prominently on their sleeve. And when Theesink does cover a classic, as he does with his acoustic take on Chuck Berry’s Maybelline, you’ll find it hard not to smile.
This is a real foot-tapper of a set, but it will leave you in awe of the performer’s technique and sheer talent – or at least it will the second time you listen. The first you’re likely to be enjoying it too much.
Hans Theessink is an international blues treasure. He is one of the world’s pre-eminent Country Pickers and his warm baritone expresses Blues.
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