Earth and Fire - Song of the Marching Children. 1971 Netherlands

Earth and Fire - Song of the Marching Children. 1971 Polydor

CD reissues: 1987 Polydor (with Atlantis); 1991 Polydor (Japan); 2002 Universal; 2004 Universal (Japan mini-LP); 2009 Esoteric (England); 2010 Universal

LP reissue: 1991 Si-Wan (Korea)

Packaging details: Earth and Fire's second album isn't nearly as convoluted as the debut, as far as the variety of covers. I believe there is a different German press, but otherwise the version you see above is what you're likely to run into if in the market for one. The original features embossed lettering and I've also included the inside of the gatefold, because as you can plainly see, it is quite stunning. "Song of the Marching Children" is one of the very few early 1970s Continental European major label releases that is still easy to find an original of and it's not expensive. Though inexplicably I've seen copies go for over a $100 (some ebay sellers, for whatever reason, tend to get exponentially more money than others). But if you're patient, you shouldn't have to pay more than $30 for an original, sometimes half of that. Last month I upgraded my personal copy and paid a whopping $17 for a mint one on ebay. As such, there really isn't a need for a LP reissue, though Si-Wan has had one on the market for over 20 years and it too is easy to find.

--- As for CDs, they are also very easy to find, and you can spot used ones in the $5 range (the budget Universal/Polydor copies most likely). For jewel box editions, no doubt the Esoteric version will be the best considering liner notes and such. Make sure to hear any of the reissues with bonus tracks, as some of Earth & Fire's singles outdo their album material, and weren't issued on any of their LP's originally. Personally I started with the '87 dual release and upgraded to the 2004 Japanese mini-LP since I love the packaging on this one (not to mention the copious number of bonus tracks).

Notes: No one would ever accuse Earth and Fire of being a cutting edge group. However, having missed the psych bus by about two years, they did jump on the progressive rock bandwagon in sufficient time to have some historical impact. "Song of the Marching Children" remains one of the most beautiful of the early 70s symphonic pop infused progressive albums. Kaagman's sweet vocals along with Koerts' copious use of mellotron practically define the term lush.

2 comments:

  1. I used to own the German LP, which has one of their singles, Memories, as a bonus track. In fact it's advertised more prominently on the cover than the actual album name! The cover has what looks like very nice artwork, but sadly some moron decided to put the band in front of it and stick a big fat sticker (again mentioning Memories) on it. Here it is on RYM.

    BTW, Ms Kaagman found renewed fame here in the Netherlands a few years ago as a judge on the X Factor (or Idols or whatever talentless spotting show it was).

    Cheers, Bas

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    Replies
    1. Yep - I saw that German cover prior. I decided it wasn't worth featuring. LOL. That's interesting about Kaagman doing the talent show thing. I'm telling you - Earth and Fire were all about fame and fortune! :-)

      Thanks Bas for the comments, as always!

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