Jan C. Blok, Jr.

June 28, 2006 - Adriaan Sturma - sturma@bellsouth.net

           There seems to be a steady stream of obituaries for original Rock & Roll pioneers. Not all that surprising since they are approaching their seventies and eighties. This morning however I was totally surprised by the sad news of the death of Jan C Blok Jr., a Dutch musician who was very instrumental in keeping Rockabilly, Rock & Roll and also Blues music alive in The Netherlands.
           The news of his death at age 62 makes me extremely sad. I don't recall exactly our first meeting but it was during the late sixties when I was editor of "Rockville-International". We immediately connected, not just because we both were born in the province of Zeeland and were able to carry on conversations in the dialect of that region.
           As I soon discovered there also was a musical connection because like me Jan loved the Blues and especially music from the state of Louisiana. One of my happiest memories is a bus trip with Rocky West & The Humbuggers, for which Jan played lead-guitar at the time, to a concert in Antwerp, Belgium. Rocky West & The Humbuggers played Rock & Roll with a New Orleans edge. The concert was a great success but on the way back Jan literally blew me away by pulling a harmonica from his pocket and leading the whole bus in a sing-a-long of several Slim Harpo and Lazy Lester songs.
           It became obvious to me at that very moment how deep Jan's musical roots ran. I found further proof of those roots in a later concert when Jan in the middle of a Rock & Roll set played a blistering version of "Dust My Broom" including slide guitar licks which would have made Elmore James proud.
           Jan and I talked off and on over the years and when I decided to move to the USA back in 1975 he showed up at my going away/engagement party with his guitar and treated us, dressed in a white suit, to a special ballad. After my departure to the land of Uncle Sam we stayed in contact and for his second album with The Humbuggers I was lucky enough to get Eddie Shuler of Goldband records to write the liner notes. Jan kept busy playing music, for a while as the lead guitarist for Shakin' Stevens & The Sunsets and later just for fun with local bands. In the early seventies he also recorded a solo album called "What Loneliness Can Do" http://members.aol.com/Zeeuw2/BlockR.htm featuring mainly his own compositions, recalling difficult relationships but also some happier moments. Like many other recordings he made during the eighties and nineties, his music always had traces of R&B, Rock and Blues in it and his guitar playing always was sharp. Without the financial support of a record label he stuck to keeping his recordings on tape for himself, sharing bits and pieces with friends. Last year he found a recording engineer who lovingly transferred all his tapes to CD which made it easier for Jan to share his music with friends and family.
           The year 2005 also brought a new official release by Jan C. Blok & The Southern Rockin' Boys called "Nature". Featuring Jan on acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar, harmonica and piano, the CD is the usual mixture of Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues and Blues. The most haunting song from that CD is "The Sound of Water" which relates Jan's memories of the floods of 1953 which killed thousands of people in our native Zeeland. I guess it is only fitting that a musician from The Schelde Delta in The Netherlands had a special love for music from The Mississippi Delta in the USA.
           Jan was found dead in his home on June 21, 2006 after neighbors notified the police he had not been seen for several days. An investigation revealed Jan died of natural causes at the end of the previous week. He was cremated on June 25, 2006 in Middelburg, The Netherlands. The official newspaper obituary is attached to this message.
           I will miss Jan's calls from his home in Zeeland to my home here in Kentucky. The music world in general and the Dutch Rock & Roll world in particular has lost a unique individual and a great musician. I have lost a special friend. May he have found the rest and peace he deserves.

Back to the "Take Note" Main Page


Promotional Products, Discount Labels, Post-it Notes, Rubber Stamps, etc.