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During their existence, Zuider Zee (bassist John Bonar, drummer Robert Hall, keyboardist Kim Foreman and singer/guitarist Richard Orange) stood as one of Memphis' more talented (if lesser known) contributions to mid-'70s power-pop.Read More...
Foreman and Orange originally met at college in Lafayette, Louisiana, cutting their first record as members of "Thomas Edisun's Electric Light Bulb Band." By 1970 they'd picked up a manager in Leland Russell, along with a new name. Relocating to Memphis, the band started playing local schools and clubs, though most of their touring energies were spent in the midwest.
Signed by Columbia, the quartet's self-titled 1975 debut teamed then manager Russell with Richard Orange in the production role. With Orange responsible for the majority of the 11 tracks, material such as "Listen To the Words", "Rubber Men" and "The Breaks" featured an engaging set of power-pop. While "Zuider Zee" may not have been the year's most successful album, the set had more than it's share of pleasures (the Rickenbacher-propelled rocker "Zeebra", "She-Swing" and "You're Not Thinking" sounded like Badfinger's Pete Ham or 10 C.C.'s Eric Stewart doing their best Paul McCartney impressions. Great melodies and excellent guitar made this a please for anyone who enjoyed Badfinger or The Raspberries catalogs. Unfortunately, in spite of extensive touring, opening for a staggering array of acts ranging from Caravan to The Tubes, in an era of punk aggression and disco madness the album vanished from the mid-seventies scene. (Credit Columbia's art department with coming up wit one of the year's most unimaginative covers.)
The final blow came in December 1976 when bassist Bonar interrupted a group of thieves trying to steal the band's van. Beaten and stabbed, he was lucky to have survived the attack. The band effectively collapsed when the other members refused to continue touring with a replacement while Bonar underwent extensive physical therapy.
Orange subsequently refocused his efforts on song writing, some thirty years later reappearing with Richard Orange and the Eggmen.