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Rare Finds

May 6, 2019

On the Flipside: Shocking Blue’s “Hot Sand,” the B-side of their hit single “Venus” was a sultry revelation — and a bargain at five bucks!

Venus

BY NICK ARIETANO

Imagine my delight in not only finding the original press of this 45 but discovering it had a U.S. picture sleeve! “Venus” was a huge hit for the “Nederbeat” psychedelic rock group in 1969, and being a flip-side collector I had to indulge in “Hot Sand.” So I fired up (pun intended) my Pro-Ject Music Hall turntable and gave it a spin… and another… and another. It surely helped that I found this gem in very good plus condition for five bucks!

The fidelity on the single version is absolutely astonishing! The mono mix is terrific because it has Mariska’s vocals come right at you at the start of the song and Robbie Van Leeuwen’s sitar (one only has to hear this guy play the Indian instrument as a lead guitar and find out how underrated he is as a musician) brings a bright and brilliant psychedelic-rock feel to the recording.

The instrumental breaks feature Robbie on sitar and guitar, Klassje van der Wal on bass, and Cor Van der Beek on drums, and they rock out so well together. It’s more than just a rock and roll tune, it is a well-crafted work of art. Listen to Mariska belt out the verses: “Summer day over, and darkness comes with mighty wings”/The seagull’s head is tired, and when he’s tired, then he sings..” Robbie van Leeuwen answers each with a tremendous sitar phrasing. Then Mariska bears her soul with the chorus “Hot Sand!” I’m walking in the hot sand! Makin’ love in the hot sand… together with you…” I’m spinning this track as I’m writing and I become more and more enamored with it as I do so.

The lyrics are so well-written and delightfully cryptic and Mariska delivers them with perfection, especially: “If you wonder why baby, if you wonder what you hear”/ “It’s useless to describe, even wonder of what’s in your ear.”

Then comes the sultry, sexy and alluring anticlimactic chorus which finds Mariska reassuring her love interest: “Hot Sand…it’s so good in the hot sand…I’m strollin’ in the hot sand…together with you…yeah yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah…” and then the fade. “Hot Sand” proves that a song can make you appreciate life’s simple pleasures in a little over two-and-a-half minutes.






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