Raymond v/h Groenewoud Bookmark and Share


14 February 1950

Raymond is born in Schaarbeek in a musical family, his father is Nico Gomez who has a career with his Latin-tinted orchestra in the fifties. The album 'Rituals' from Gomez is a still collector’s item amongst breakbeat treasure hunters. Being Dutch however his parents lived an isolated life in Antwerp. In the sixties/seventies Raymond starts performing as pianist and song arranger with Flemish singer/songwriter Johan Verminnen.

After backing up other people (e.g. with Della Bosiers), he forms his own band with Erik Van Neygen called Louisette and records 'Maria, Maria ik hou van jou' and 'Zij houdt van vrijen' ('She loves to make love'). Louisette fails to make it big. He reforms the group, this time as RvhG and Bien Servi, for which the lineup includes Jean-Marie Aerts (see TC Matic) and Jean Blaute. With this band he releases his debut 'Je moest eens weten hoe gelukkig ik was' ('If only you knew how happy I was then'). Allegedly the song was written when Raymond was at a low point in his career. 22 years old, unsuccessful and hungry he wrote the title song. Although not a hit record it does give Raymond the chance to record the follow up ' Nooit meer drinken' ('Never to drink again') in1977. It is the first album on which he operates with his backing group, then called 'The Millionaires', but later on renamed to e.a. 'The Centimeters' and 'De Vlaamse Mustafa's'. On the album is his ode to 'Meisjes' ('Girls') which becomes a huge hit and gains fame through his steamy live-reputation. One of these performances is documented on 'Kamiel in België'.

After the ironic hit 'Vlaanderen boven' ('Flanders on top') from the album 'Ethisch reveil' it is time to spread his wings towards the Netherlands. The single 'Je veux de l'amour' ('I want love') becomes a hit and he performs at the Pinkpop festival. After the second single 'Cha cha cha' Raymond suddenly decides to stop performing live. In his own words: "It was becoming too easy, and most of all: too much.”

Van het Groenewoud becomes interested in acting and writing scores for films. He appears in the movies 'De witte van Sichem' and 'Na de liefde'.  He writes the music for the movie 'Brussels by night' from Marc Didden. In 1984 he retries to pick up his musical career only to find that the landscape has changed. 'Habba' is made together with Henny Vrienten from Doe Maar but is not really a success. He has to wait until 1990 to score a new hit with 'Liefde voor muziek' ('The love for music'), a gospel-ish song featured on a compilation album. Raymond is back just in time to make it as the godfather for a whole new generation of Dutch-singing Belgian artists who emerged in the 90's (Noordkaap, de Mens, Gorky)

In the nineties Raymond starts performing with Dutch singer Frank Boeijen. Together they do an -almost acoustic - concert tour through the theater halls of Belgium and Holland. A report of this tour is released as 'De minister van Ruimtelijke Ordening'. In 2000 he works on another soundtrack of the movie 'Iedereen beroemd' ('Everybody famous') by Dominique Deruddere and the theme song 'Lucky Manuelo'. In 2001, Raymond released a cd with the title 'Een jongen uit Schaarbeek' ('A boy from Schaerbeek'). And in 2005 he is back with a new album 'Meneer Raymond' ('Mister Raymond'). The single of the album 'Weg met Amerika' ('Away with the USA') is an open complaint to the manipulation and abuse of (economic) power by America in the world politics. The single causes a stir after the release but shows that Raymond still is sharp with his lyrics.

On the web:

- Raymonds website: http://www.raymondvanhetgroenewoud.be

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Jacques Higelin (France)

Adriano Celentano (Italy)

Rio Reiser (Germany)

What do we think:

DB: More then his Dutch counterparts who dwingle in the 'Kleinkunst' tradition, Raymond mixes rock and pop with candid observations on human behavior with his own, unique sense of humor. This sometimes results that the theme of a song is deeply tragic but through the way he puts it also very funny. That’s another plus opposite to the 'Kleinkunst' artists, Raymond never takes himself to seriously. He can juggle with words as only Flemish artists can. They rightfully awarded him the title 'His excellence of Belgian Pop'.

PR: Raymond van 't Groenewoud is huge in Belgium and that status is well deserved. He is both a great songwriter and lyricist, even though sometimes the humorous texts do not work out entirely well. If you are in for typical Belgium pop music, go for Raymond and you will not be disapointed.

Recommended albums:

♪♪ - Ik doe niet mee - 1975

♪♪♪♪ - Nooit meer drinken - 1977

♪♪♪ - Kamiel in België - 1979

♪♪♪♪ - Ethisch reveil - 1979

♪♪ - Brussels by night (soundtrack) - 1984

  ♪♪♪ - Habba! - 1985

♪♪ - Ontevreden - 1986

♪♪♪♪ - Meneer Raymond - 2005

Further discography:

Intiem - 1988; Sensatie - 1992; De minister van ruimtelijke ordening - 1994; Walhalla 1995; Ik ben god niet - 1996; Tot morgen - 1998); Iedereen beroemd (soundtrack) - 2000; Een jongen uit Schaarbeek - 2001; Ballades - 2004;

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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