The inception of Whitsuntide Easter started in 1973 by founder Nanneke Coumou who were regulars on the coffee bar circuit and Jesus Festivals in the Netherlands. The final fruit of the group came together with multi-instrumentalist Henk van der Werfhorst , ex Credo Jan Van Straalen and drummer Rob van Straalen who made their official debut at England’s 'Green Belt Festival' in 1976. This remarkably rare group released their jazzy Next Time You Play A Wrong Note ...We make It A Short One in 1977 produced by ex Parchment Jan Pac & Pete Yates-Round. (Parchment had a similar sound to Whitsuntide and featured in numerous concerts with Gordon Giltrap in the early seventies) Whitsuntide Easter (Seventh Sunday after Easter, Pentecost or Jewish Shavuot) were outstanding in musicianship and harmony yet remained extremely elusive in the folk nexus.
The groups album was riddled with improvised overtone guitar and spiritual lyrics, superbly layered on “Coming Of The Messiah”, and the high riffing “New World”. The bluesy “Words” has Jan spacing his riffs into a jazzy pattern of eventual psychedelia. In the same space as The Trees the acoustic stealth of “She” dazzles with superb fuzz, a combination of rhythm guitarist Hiskia Coumou and Jan Van Straalen. The eerie “Hills” with Nanneke’s spacey vox hangs like the two thieves on either side of Jesus. Superb guitar angles also spiral through the jazzy “Psalm 355” giving the album a growing experience superbly embraced with brush and snares by drummer Rob Van Straalen. Electric piano and flute shimmers through the entirety of the album via able capable Henk Van De Werfhorst. Jan who actually plays the bass allows the acoustic and electric of Liskia to fill the gaps with a folk incline while he develops on her streamlined rhythm with jazzy acid breaks .Whitsuntide celebrated their album at the 'Kamperland Muziekfestival' in 1978 and then disbanded.
A similar style had zealous release in the US through the group Lamb comprising Rick Levi Cohill & Joel Chernoft with their minor Zion chord structures which often spilled over into Hebrew with very fast guitar and tongues. Lamb were incredible at live concerts with the eyes of Hendrix and his hero, ex Glass Harp three-fingered Phil Keaggy in sheer wonderment. Larry Norman once quoted only John McLaughlin reaches that level where the spirit takes over. (Mind you Ginger Baker once said something took him over?) The closest comparison to Whitsuntide is possibly a 1971 group called RJ Fox comprising Richard Hovey, Joel Siegel and Sherry Fox. Astonishing creations like “Lament #1” or the gospel cloudy “Amanda” and “Night of Rides” have a similar Jesus People lament for the demise of the hippy.
Although their recordings were shelved a more definitive exploration travels through their 1973 spin off group Oasis. David Crosby who was in the studio at the time of their recordings was blown away by their harmonies and tight tempos. Oasis reaches the scanty heights of Joni Mitchell yet sizzles enigmatically on tracks like “High Revs” thanks to John Yager’s strident guitar licks well pierced on “I Didn’t Like To Tell Her.” Kelly Bryan played bass, Carl Tassi drums, Ted Teipel organ with Yager on lead & Spanish guitar. Joel maintained the six -string acoustic and electric while vocalist Sherry played the piano. Elements of early Jefferson or Stillwater come to mind, but the overall entirety of their style has glimpses of Laura Nyro. The opening “Wake” is magnificent in it’s shredding lead and changing tempo very similar to Bob Welch’s Fleetwood Mac. Even the Joni Mitchell influenced “Caught Away” doesn’t fail to please while “Runaways” has the colours of Jefferson with “Indeed Candide” leaning to Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name, ironically he was recording in the studio at the time.