Jan C. Blok, Jr.
June 28, 2006 - Adriaan Sturma - firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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