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Kooymans & Carillo – Mirage (a review)

Mirage is the 2nd album released by the partnership of George Kooymans (Golden Earring) and American singer/guitarist/songwriter Frank Carillo. This album was recorded over a number of years, prior to Kooymans ALS diagnosis that has left him unable to play and forcing his band Golden Earring to retire. However, this collection of songs will come as a nice surprise to Kooyman’s fans who assumed they’d not hear anything new from the legendary Dutch guitarist (as well as singer/songwriter). Mirage is also a follow up the duo’s 2010 album On Location. I haven’t got or heard the entire On Location disc (and judging by the availability and prices online – won’t be getting it anytime soon). Frank Carillo has been active releasing music since the late ’60s, his earliest bands being Hot Soup, as well as Doc Holliday along with Bob Mayo. Carillo would also play on the first few Peter Frampton solo albums, (Mayo would play with Frampton for decades).

Anyway, back to Mirage…. Golden Earring fans may know of Frank Carillo from his involvement on the band’s 2003 album Millbrook, USA. and 2012’s Tits N Ass , where he played slide guitar and had a few co-writing credits. Mirage features 11 tracks, 9 of which were co-written by Kooymans & Carillo, and recorded at a few studios in the USA and the Netherlands.

For the most part Mirage is a collection of largely acoustic based, roots rock, a bit of blues, and a bit of a country feel on many tracks as well. The lead off (and) title track is easily likeable, a smooth acoustic based country flavored tune highlighted by slide guitar and lead vocals from George, as well as vocals from Casey Kooymans, along backing vocals from Frank, who also adds piano, and there’s a bit of banjo provided by Paul Orofino. There’s a few good upbeat cuts like “If I Go There”, “Den Of Thieves” and “Crystal Cracking”, which is probably the most ‘classic rock’ track here, with it’s slide guitar and hammond organ, and Frank’s vocals.

The best picks for me tho’ are a few of the ballads, particularly “I Wish You Were Still Here”, which is just a very memorable song – if there was a hit single from this album, this would be it. As well the short “Christmas In Gaza” stands out as well. Mirage also features the light country rock tune “Ticket To Heaven” written by Eddie Seville, this one includes violin. The ‘bonus’ track here is “Seasons”, which is just George and John Sonneveld (who programs the drums and bass, adds flute and hammond organ) . It is a song George wrote decades ago and gave to Dutch band Earth & Fire, who had their first hit with it in 1969.

Lots of excellent lead vocals and shared vocals here that go so well together, great productions, and a few guests – such as Rinus Gerritsen on couple of tracks. Would be curious to know if Kooymans and Carillo might have anything left in the can. For Golden Earring fans that won’t be expecting anything further from the band Mirage is definitely something you’ll want to pick up.

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