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Cuby + Blizzards


1964 - 2011



Cuby + Blizzards

Legendary blues group from the '60s, which puts the village of Grolloo firmly on the map. Harry 'Cuby' Muskee (1941-2011) is often seen as the Dutch soul brother of the UK's main man John Mayall.
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Erwin Raymond Java   gitaar
Helmig van der Vegt   piano
Harry Muskee   zang
Herman Deinum   basgitaar
Hans la Faille   drums

Former members

Willy Middel   basgitaar
Dick Beekman   drums
Hans Waterman   drums
Herman Brood   piano
Eelco Gelling   gitaar
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Mentioned in the biography of

1967   Herman Brood
1968   Boudewijn de Groot
1968   Wim Sonneveld
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Biography Cuby + Blizzards

Legendary blues group from the '60s, which puts the village of Grolloo firmly on the map. Harry 'Cuby' Muskee (1941-2011) is often seen as the Dutch soul brother of the UK's main man John Mayall.

1962 - 1964

Harry Muskee and Eelco Gelling are the foundation of Cuby & The Blizzards. As singer and guitarist of The Mixtures, Harry performs songs of The Everly Brothers and other bands, before playing the contra bass in the Old Fashioned Jazz Group. Harry is first introduced to jazz and blues through listening to army stations like American Forces Network and The Voice of America on an old radio. Eelco Gelling is guitarist in the Rocking Hurricanes, later The Rocking Strings, with Hans Kinds (rhythm guitar), Wim Kinds (Drums) and Nico Schröder (bass). The musicians meet each other on a stage in Drenthe and it is only a matter of time before Harry starts singing Elvis Presley covers with the Rocking Strings. In 1964, Willy Middel (bass, ex-Sinister Silhouettes) replaces Nico Schröder, who is not allowed to play on Sundays. After Dick Beekman (drums) replaces Wim Kinds, Harry Muskee completes the line-up.


Cuby + Blizzards The Rocking Strings become Cuby & The Blizzards. 'Cuby' after the neighbour's dog, and 'Blizzards' is randomly picked out of an English dictionary. It is the start of a legend. Muskee and Gelling take the musical lead and introduce Holland to the blues: music with emotion. One afternoon, Cuby & The Blizzards record 'Stumble and Fall' and 'I'm So Restless' (CNR), live and without any overdubs. The songs do very little, but locally Muskee becomes a hero. The band's hard core of fans paints the band name on walls everywhere, following the band across the northern provinces on motors and bikes. The first international performance of Cuby & The Blizzards is in 1965. They perform at a local dancing in Marderno, near the Garda lake in Italy, mainly for German and Dutch tourists. Italian band Gli Uragani covers the Cuby & The Blizzards song 'Your Body is not Your Soul'. Their version, 'Vuoi arrivare su', reaches the number 6 position in the Italian charts.


Cuby + Blizzards The following single is 'LSD' (Got a Million Dollar), a song by Manfred Mann's Tom McGuiness. NCRV radio boycots the song. The B-side is 'Your Body not Your Soul', one of Harry Muskee's first songs. The single 'Back Home/Sweet Mary' enters the Dutch Top 40. Drummer Dick Beekman joins the Ro-d-ys from Winschoten and is replaced by seventeen-year-old Hans Waterman (The Rene Five). Cuby & The Blizzards record their first album Desolation. The title comes from the book 'Desolation Angels' by Jack Kerouac, one of the leaders of the beat generation, who is very influential on the artistic Dutch youth as well. It is the first Dutch blues album and draws the attention of Willem de Ridder, editor-in-chief of Hitweek.Harry's farm in Grolloo becomes a place of pilgrimage. Ton Sybrands, Simon Vinkenoog, Boudewijn de Groot, Johnny the Selfkicker, John Mayall, Eddie Boyd, and Alexis Korner all sleep at Harry's farm. A 'road to fame' in Grolloo reminds us of the many, often eccentric, visitors. Single 'Just for Fun' is a tribute to the village and its inhabitants. A young piano player called Herman Brood (ex-Moan) joins the band. Moan regularly performs for American soldiers in Germany, always an exhausting experience. To keep it up they swallow pep pills given to them by the Americans, and Brood turns it into a lifestyle.

Boudewijn de Groot Herman Brood Johnny The Selfkicker Simon Vinkenoog


Cuby & The Blizzards reaches the top position in music magazine Hitweek, followed by performances both in and outside Holland, from Oosthesselerbrug to Brussels, from The Hague to West Berlin, from Prague to London. But fame takes its toll: Hans Kinds and Willy Middel leave the band. Jaap van Eik (Blues Dimension) is the only replacement on bass. The legendary album Groeten uit Grollo is released, featuring Herman Brood, Jaap van Eik and Hans Waterman. Eddie Boyd (1914) may be the first black man in Grolloo. This legendary blues singer (coming from the same cotton plantation as Muddy Waters) from the Mississippi Delta is one of the first black American blues singers traveling to Europe. In 1966, during his UK tour with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, both end up at Cuby's farm in Grolloo. This first personal meeting with the black blues singer results in the Eddie Boyd and the Blizzards album Praise the Blues, which is followed by a tour. This is followed by a 3-day Dutch tour (5 gigs) with Irish singer Van Morrison (Them). The arranged recording is cancelled at the last minute. The broadcast museum at the Mediapark in Hilversum still has a black and white comedy capers-like clip of Van Morrison and the Blizzards.

Blues Dimension


The album Desolation is awarded with an Edison at the Grand Gala du Disque, presented to the band by Wim Sonneveld. In November, the band performs at the Jazz and Blues festival in the Rheinhalle in Düsseldorf for 3000 people, a shared performance with The Spencer David Group. Dick Beekman returns and takes over from Hans Waterman. The album Live in Düsseldorf is recorded with a four-track recorder. Alexis Korner, founder of the English blues, is guest performer on two tracks. Alexis lives in London at Paddington 116a, Queensway, hence the single 'Queensway 116a', the B-side of 'Nostalgic Toilet' which enters the Top 40. In December the band performs in Prague.With a line-up featuring Muskee, Gelling, Van Eik, Brood and Beekman, Cuby & The Blizzards record the album Trippin' thru' a Midnight Blues, with the horn section of Eduard Ninck-Blok, Roel Hemmes and Jenne Meinema, their buddies from the northern music scene. The single 'Window of my Eyes' is in the Dutch Top 40 for ten weeks, and is considered to be the band's most important song.


In the spring, Cuby & The Blizzards are on tour in Holland with Fleetwood Mac and in August they visit the UK for the very first time (where they perform at the famous London Marquee Club). At the end of 1969 the band scores with the single 'Appleknockers Flophouse', featuring Helmig van der Vegt (Blues Dimension), who replaces Herman Brood.


Once again there are some changes in the line-up: Jaap van Eik joins Trace, and Dick Beekman joins Livin' Blues (this time leaving for good). Herman Brood quits as well, the reason being his arrest in The Hague for possession of drugs. Exit Herman Brood, and exit the planned trip to the US. The "Zwolle connection", consisting of Herman Deinum, Hans Lafaille and Helmig van de Vegt (all ex-Blues Dimension), joins Cuby & The Blizzards.The album Appleknockers Flophouse is released. The album cover design causes a true media riot. Cees Wessels and Anton Witkamp (label manager and copywriter at Phonogram/Polygram) came up with a publicity stunt. They invited a number of farmers from the area of Wezup at Willem Perkaan's bar ('Vat Op Klomp'n') for a cover photo session with the band. There was free food and drinks for all, and when the farmers were reasonably drunk, Cees Wessels brought in a stripper, who did her strip act on the bar, a sensation in those days. The farmers loved it. But when they sobered up the next day and discovered that the whole thing was photographed and filmed, they panicked. The mayor of Zweelo took up arms "to protect his citizens from a scandal". So, the pictures were not allowed to be used. Thus, the album cover contains only the, very cheerful, band. The film, made by the VARA, has never been broadcast, despite frantic efforts to retrieve it.

Livin' Blues Trace


Cuby & The Blizzards do a two-week tour in Poland with performances in Warsaw, Katowice and Poznan. At the end of the year the band supports BB King at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Following the successful sixties, the early seventies are a bit of a disappointment. Planned tours in the US, the UK and Scandinavia are cancelled, and there are disputes with managers. Harry Muskee and Eelco Gelling withdraw to an apartment in Assen and go back to basic. Cuby & The Blizzards still release the album Simple Man, for which Harry writes all lyrics. It is the story of an ordinary guy from a small town, middle class neighbourhood, who wants to make his own music without having to make any commercial concessions.


Sometimes is released, the band's last and very jazzy studio album. The chemistry between Muskee and Gelling diminishes. Four out of nine songs are written by Helmig van de Vegt, and only two songs by Muskee/Gelling. Shortly after the album is released the band breaks up, right before a gig in Munster. The cause is a minor communication problem, but it is the famous last drop with serious consequences. There are problems at the border with the equipment truck because of a missing passport. Harry and Eelco return home. But the guys from Zwolle, unaware of the situation, continue traveling to the venue. As a consequence, the band falls apart. On June 14th both Muskee and Gelling apply for social benefits in Assen.


The band performs in its original line-up twice, one time on June 9th during a farewell concert in a sold-out Concertzaal Bellevue in Assen, with Harry Muskee, Eelco Gelling, Willy Middel, Hans Kinds, Herman Brood and Jaap van Eik. Guest performers are Wim Ennes, Henk Nahrendorf and Hans Waterman.


On January 15th,the band records a farewell album in the studio where they perform at the VARA TV show Nederpopzien, with Harry Muskee, Eelco Gelling, Hans Kinds, Willy Middel, Hans Waterman and Herman Brood.


After a time of reflection, the band Red, White and Blue is formed, initiated by Willem van Kooten (a.k.a. Joost den Draayer), after current English super bands such as Blind Faith and Humble Pie. The band consists of Harry and Eelco, completed by Frank Nuyens (guitar, ex-Q65), Lou Leeuw (bass, ex-The Rocking Tigers) and Herman van Boeyen (drums, ex-Tee Set and Supersister). Supervised by producer George Kooymans (Golden Earring) they record the self-titled album Red, White and Blue, with guest musician Robert Jan Stips. When van Boeyen leaves the band, Mels Bol (ex-Fontessa) replaces him. Despite successful performances at the Popmeeting Lochem and Pinkpop festival, the band is not very popular. The music of Red, White and Blue is more melodic than the Cuby fans are used to and they get confused. So, within one year, the band name is changed back to Cuby & The Blizzards.

Golden Earring Q65 Red White 'n Blue Supersister Tee-set


Lost son Herman Brood returns and the album Kid Blue is recorded, with Maggie McNeal and Margriet Eshuys as background singers and Neppy Noya on the congas. Herman Brood designs the album cover. Without warning, Eelco Gelling leaves the band to join The Golden Earring, which is hard to swallow for Muskee. Disillusioned, Muskee stays behind in Drenthe, after Herman Brood goes solo as well.

Maggie MacNeal Margriet Eshuijs


With bass player Lou de Leeuw, who remained loyal to Harry, Muskee founds a new band with some local musicians: Martin van Dijk (piano, keyboards), Jan Groenink (drums) and Bernhard Reinke (guitar), all ex-Capital C. For legal reasons they call themselves the Harry Muskee band. Supervised by Loek Willemze of Negram (singer of Roek Williams and the Fighting Cats) they record the album Love Vendetta, which is more rock oriented than blues. One of the more striking songs is 'Victor', about the Lockheed scandal.

Harry Muskee Band

1978 - 1989

The Harry Muskee Band is not very successful, but Muskee doesn't give up. After having lived of social services for two years, he performs again in Assen with Eelco Gelling (who has left the Golden Earring), drummer Hans Lafaille, bass player Cees van der Laarse and a horn section. The show is a big success. This band eventually becomes The Muskee Gang, but Eelco Gelling prefers The Freelance band. Paul Smeenk and Herman Deinum (Sweet d'Buster) are hired. Unfortunately, Scottish trumpet player Jeff Reynolds (Georgie Fame, Johnny Halliday) is killed in an accident. Steve Francovics from San Francisco turns out to be a rather unfortunate choice, but Peter Kuyt (Massada) is perfect.The album The Legend is recorded. Dutch poet Jules Deelder writes the lyrics for two songs. Shortly, Paul Smeenk leaves the band, and at Harry's request, Eelco Gelling joins again, leading to enormous tension. Herman Deinum quits and is replaced by 'good old' Lou Leeuw. When Rudy van Dijk, Peter Kuyt and Hans Lafaille quit as well, it is the end of The Muskee Gang. However, the band still has a contract for a number of performances. They hire various musicians, and the band soon features Harry Muskee (vocals, harmonica), Eelco Gelling (solo guitar), Melle Jan Kleisma (rhythm guitar), the French David Gardeur (piano), Gino Jansen (bass) and Gert-Jan de Valk (rhythm guitar). The latter is soon replaced by Hannes Langkamp, like Gino ex-Fox the Fox. While recording the album Rimshots in the Dark, Muskee and Gelling break up for good, caused by Gelling's drug use during the recording. It breaks Harry's heart but he has to make a firm decision. This marks the end of a long cooperation with Eelco Gelling. Erwin Java, who previously played in Hanneke Kappen's White Honey and Herman Brood's Wild Romance, replaces him.

Fox The Fox Freelance Band Herman Brood Jules Deelder Massada Muskee Gang Sweet d'Buster White Honey


Finally Harry Muskee gets some peace of mind. His new band Muskee features Erwin Java, Gino Jansen, Hannes Langkamp and Roy Kushel, the latter replacing David Gardeur. Muskee celebrates his 25th anniversary as a professional musician with a concert at MCV in Utrecht. Former band members like Herman Brood join the show. The album Muskee Live is recorded a year later during gigs at MCV and Ahoy, with guest musicians Bertus Borgers and John Lagrand.



The album Cut The Luxe is released, recorded at Jannes Meijer's studio in Roderwolde. It is a sober production with singles 'Tough On Me' (1990) and 'Brother Booze' (1991).


The band Muskee travels to Katowice, Poland for a performance at the famous Rawa Blues Festival, accompanied by the Dutch D'Boom Harper Band and the American Lamar Chase Band, singer Wendy Sheridan and Elmo Patterson. That same year, Harry Muskee receives the Cultural Award of Drenthe, presented to him by governor Wim Meijer.

1993 - 1995

The first trip to the US in 1993, in search of the roots of blues for radio Drenthe and the VPRO, provides inspiration and material for the album Sky Songs On the Spot , released in 1994. John Lagrand, one of the founders of Livin' Blues and a talented harmonica player, joins the band.


Cuby is back! The three businessmen and fans Henk Aa (Beaphar-Raalte), Johan Derksen and Jan Lagendijk start the foundation 'Cuby is Back'. A theater tour follows and Harry Muskee, Erwin Java, John Lagrand, completed by ex-Blizzards Hans Lafaille, Herman Deinum and Helmig van der Vergt attract large crowds. 'Cuby is Back' is not just a reunion. The current line-up of Cuby & The Blizzards, formed on the foundation of the old top line-up, continues to perform. It is a tight band of very professional musicians, who are not just playing songs from the past, but also new songs, reflecting the sentiments of the present. Besides performing in clubs and festivals, the band does an annual theater tour.


In March, Traveling with the Blues is recorded live at blues club "The Lantaarn" in Hellendoorn. The songs on this album are an overview of Harry's blues career. At the initiative of a number of blues lovers, Governor Relus ter Beek reveals a statue of Harry Muskee.


The album Dancing Bear is released, a contemporary product on which Cuby & The Blizzards dares to differ from the traditional 12-bar blues. Title song 'Dancing Bear', also released as a single, is about the cruelty to animals in Turkey, something animal lover and WSPA supporter Harry Muskee despises. After a gig in Vlaardingen some of Erwin Java's and Herman Deinum's instruments are stolen, like Erwin's unique 1962 Fender Stratocaster. It was a present from his (deceased) father who bought it from a (sick and deceased) neighbour. It is a guitar with high emotional value, which made Erwin the guitarist he is now. Fortunately, this valuable guitar, and the The Rose guitar made by Ronald Rosenau, are both retrieved.


On Friday June 4th Cuby & The Blizzards plays at Diligentia in The Hague without John Lagrand, who is hospitalized in the Westend hospital with a broken leg. Very special during this gig is a guest performance by Eelco Gelling, who plays two songs. The cooperation with harmonica talent John Lagrand comes to an end due to personal circumstances.Just before the new millennium, a special project takes place. To celebrate the 180th anniversary of the Johan Willem Friso band, five unique millennium concerts are organized. The JWF band performs with Cuby & The Blizzards, Guus Meeuwis & Vagant, het Mannenkoor Albartros, piano player Cor Bakker and violin player Adriaan Stoet. The JWF band and Cuby & The Blizzards perform 'Another Land' (dedicated to the recently deceased Rob Hoeke), 'Window of my Eyes', 'Night Train' and 'Traveling with the Blues' together.

Cor Bakker Guus Meeuwis Rob Hoeke


Harry Muskee's 35th anniversary in music. To celebrate this the CD box Blues Traveller is released. It is proof of the great significance of Harry Muskee for Dutch music. Always going his own way, never taking the easy road. It is a 35th anniversary blues career with ups and downs. Anniversary album Hotel Grollo is recorded at "The Amer" bar in Amen. It is a very special album with Normaal's Bennie Jolink, Barrelhouse's Tineke Schoenmaker, De Dijk's Huub van der Lubbe, Skik's Daniel Lohues and The Golden Earring's Barry Hay performing old songs of Muskee, completed by four new songs. The recording is filmed for a TV documentary called The Last Secret. On September 26th,the album is officially presented to Harry Muskee during a celebratory concert at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. The concert DVD will be released at the end of 2002.

Barrelhouse De Dijk Livin' Blues Normaal Skik


The exhibition "Groeten uit Grollo" is initiated by the foundation for Maintenance of Cultural Heritage Harry Muskee. More than 3000 people visit this exhibition, with Cuby and the Blizzards as its main theme, at the band's former farm (Voorstreek 4). The governor of Drenthe, Relus ter Beek, opens the exhibition.


Cuby + Blizzards 'Dancing Bear' is re-released. Together with the TROS, the Red Bullet studio, Skik and Beaphar, a benefit concert and TV show are organized for the Bear Forest in Rheden. The theater tour is dedicated to John Lee Hooker, who died in 2001. Concerts are also scheduled for Curacao and South Africa.



In April Harry Muskee becomes Companion of the Order of Orange-Nassau. In November the Jeroen Wielaert-written biography about Muskee is published. It's called De Missie: De Kruispunten Van Harry 'Cuby' Muskee ('The Mission: The Crossroads of Harry 'Cuby' Muskee'). Furthermore a DVD featuring live footage of Cuby's South African tour is released. With the John Lee Hooker theatre tour (October 2003-May 2004) Cuby + Blizzards pay tribute to the late great blues man. The album Boom Boom Bang features songs from these shows.



Cuby + Blizzards celebrate their 40th anniversary. The double live CD Live In Het Oude Luxor is a registration of the anniversary concert in Rotterdam's Luxor theatre on January 15. A DVD about the band's history is released in the tail end of the year. Former guitarist Eelco Gelling and his band release the album On The Road.

Eelco Gelling Band


40 Jaar ('Years Of') Cuby And The Blizzards (April) is a boxed set, containing two DVDs plus a CD. DVD 1 is a two-hour documentary by Jan Douwe Kroeske about 40 years of Blizzards. DVD 2 contains a 2 Meter Session recorded at Muskee's home turf Grolloo in September 2005. The CD contains a live show cut in Schiedam in 1970. The box furthermore contains a 100-page picture book.


On February 5 Harry Muskee receives a Gold Harp, essentially a lifetime achievement award. He is also appointed ambassador of the province of Drenthe. On 19 July the band features in the documentary Cuby + Blizzards: 40 Jaar De Blues, broadcast on Dutch TV in a programme called Het Uur Van De Wolf ('The Hour Of The Wolf).


After Boom Boom Bang from 2003, the band's new studio album isn't released until May. Cats Lost reminds of classical albums Desolation (1966) and Groeten Uit Grollo (1967), but Harry Muskee's lyrics have their roots in the present and the band more then often deviates from standard blues chords. The basic tracks on the album are recorded in wine bar Streuer in Grolloo, with the mobile studio owned by technician J.P. Exalto. Vocals are recorded in Studio Zeezicht in Spaarnwoude. The album is produced by Daniël Lohues and the album cover is by Anton Corbijn. On 9 September receives a golden abum for the very first time. Cats Lost has sold over 10.000 copies at that moment.

Daniël Lohues


Photographer and director Anton Corbijn chooses Window Of My Eyes for the end credits of his second movie The American, starring George Clooney and Thekla Reuten. Harry Muskee is asked by Universal tot make the selection for a large blues compilation. The Blues According To Harry Muskee is a box containing six albums with a historical anthology of the blues, from acoustic blues from the Delta made before World War II to contemporary blues.


Harry Muskee is the first musician who is admitted to thee Dutch Blues Hall Of Fame in Nieuw-Vennep. The award is dedicated to Dutch blues musicians who have been of great value to the development of blues music. The farm in Grolloo, where Cuby + Blizzards have recorded their famous sessions in the sixties becomes a museum. The museum is decorated in sixties style, focussing on the work and history of the band. During the opening of the museum in June the first edition of blues festival Groeten Uit Grolloo is organized. Cuby + Blizzard and de seventy year old Muskee perform their last concert ever. Muskee writes new songs with songwriter and producer Daniël Lohues. The album Dogs Found will never be recorded. On the evening of Monday September 26 the legendary blues singer dies of cancer in his residence Rolde. The same night the legacy of Muskee is remembered on national television.

Discography Cuby + Blizzards

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

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