Adieu, sweet Bahnhof Demos (1984)

first published: 17-03-2005

Overview

The Adieu, Sweet Bahnhof album was recorded with an engineer/producer that was hired to make the band sound more commercial. This is obvious on most of the Adieu album and also in the fact that I think most songs sound much better in concert than on the album. The song writing is mixed on this album. Some songs are fantastic and Nits classics (e.g. the title track, Woman Cactus, Mask and The infant King), but some are among the worst in the Nits catalog (in my personal opinion of course) and some fall somewhere in between.

A 45 minute tape with many demos for the Adieu album and some unreleased tracks is already circulating for a long time and this also shows that these songs sound much better before they went into the studio. Later about 30 minutes more of the same tape (presumably the b-side..) also surfaced. More recently some more songs that might be from this period surfaced (work for memory, master my moods), but since it could not yet be determined if they are connected to the Adieu, Sweet Bahnhof album they are not included on this page. Descriptions of these songs can be found on the Other Demos page.

Songs

Abu Dahbi

length: 3.35 / soundquality: excellent

A fun, unreleased instrumental featuring an attractive, upbeat melody played on marimbas and synths over a pleasant synth bass and percussion backing. The melody goes through several variations, sometimes the synth takes over, sometimes the marimba is more prominent. This song is a typical Stips song from that period, that probably was not included on the album because there already was another Stips instrumental (Fanfare). Personally I think that Abu Dahbi is much more catchy. 
The name of the song comes from a later demo tape on which this song was also featured. On the original Adieu demo tapes this song was unnamed and simply referred to by fans as 'instrumental'. 

Adieu, Sweet Bahnhof

length: 5.04 / soundquality: excellent

It's great to hear an early version of this Nits classic. The song is virtually the same as the released version, but has a rougher sound and a very different mix. Michiels'guitar is almost non-audible and he is playing some different things. The synths are much more to the front. The main difference is in the lyrics of the verses, which are almost complete different from the very familiar released ones. 

Lyrics 

I have been waiting for hours on this train
And I [...] back to Brussels in the rain
And the streets of Paris, empty now
I could hear the [..] all around
and the light in the new [..] shines [..]
On this train I [..]

So if you come back to see me here again
I'll be waiting for hours in this train
And the streets of Paris are empty now
If you please if you know it gone to [..]
And the rain back in Brussels is too [..]
Hear this [..] what a feeling

Adieu, adieu sweet Bahnhof
My train of thoughts is leaving

Adieu, adieu sweet Bahnhof
My train of thoughts is leaving tonight

Now I've been sitting at [..] parc in June
And I went to the Centre Pompidou
All the paintings almost are alive
[..] you've seen everything to [...] now
And the light of the morning brings me down
It's a goodbye, Paris shines so bright

Adieu, adieu sweet Bahnhof
My train of thoughts is leaving

Adieu, adieu sweet Bahnhof
My train of thoughts is leaving tonight 

Adieu
Adieu, adieu sweet Bahnhof
My train of thoughts is leaving

Nogmaals
Adieu, adieu sweet Bahnhof
My train of thoughts is leaving 

One more time
Adieu, adieu sweet Bahnhof
My train of thoughts is leaving tonight 

Back To Nowhere - Version 1

length: 4.12 / soundquality: excellent

An unreleased song sung by Robert Jan. It's a piano-led pop tune with a driving rhythm section, some synth parts and a forceful bridge/chorus section in which Henk sings backing vocals. The ending consist of a rather interesting instrumental section. The song sounds somewhat cluttered and the singing is low in the mix and therefore the lyrics are very hard too understand. It seems like this is a live-in-the-studio recording with Michiel playing a bass guitar instead of the synth bass that is heard on most of these demos.

Back To Nowhere - Version 2

length: 3.48 / soundquality: excellent

Another take of this unreleased Robert Jan composition. Almost the same as the first version.

Cold Grey Morning

length: 1.56 / soundquality: excellent

This is of course the original version of the song 'The Train' that was released on Hat. It's an older recording than the version that appeared on Quest. That version, which was combined with Oom-pah-pah' camee from the Dutch Mountains period. This version is much more basic than either released version. It's mainly a slow  simple ticking percussion rhythm over which a single synth line is playing the melody and Henk sings the lyrics. Later on a piano joins in as well playing the familiar 'train' melody. Near the end another accordion synth part plays this melody as well. It sounds like a live-in-the-studio recording.

Lyrics

Out on a cold grey morning
I was walking home alone
A traffic light in the falling rain
Gives us a sign

Out in a cold grey morning
I was talking with some friends
About all [...] 
And what you're doing with your song/soul [?]

Out on a cold grey morning
I was walking home alone
[...]
Hey what you're doing with your life?

England Starts Here

length: 3.56 / soundquality: excellent

This unreleased song starts of with a driving synth bass and straightforward percussion. A prominent guitar melody enters over a synth melody. Michiel sings the song with Henk singing backing vocals. There are a few instrumental sections in which the guitar melody is repeated several times. A long, later instrumental part ends the song and features a variation on the rhythmic percussion and some noodling on the guitar.  Even though the music is a bit monotonous, the singing is more than excellent and I think it's a pretty good tune and would have fitted on the album.

Lyrics

I've been in the desert all alone
oh oh this desert is my home
I've been here stationed all my life (2x)
a flag says England starts here (2x)

England Starts here
England Starts here, oh oh
England Starts here
England Starts here, oh oh

A cricket ground says England's here (2x)
Oh oh the state men's in the sun
Oh oh the state men's on the run

England Starts here
England Starts here, oh oh
England Starts here
England Starts here, oh oh

England Starts here
England Starts here, oh oh
England Starts here
England Starts here, oh oh

Fanfare

length: 2.57 / soundquality: excellent

similar to the album version, but with a drum computer providing the rhythm. This is a solo Robert Jan recording. I doubt that Michiel, Henk or even Rob added something to this song. It sounds almost exactly the same as the released version. After it ends  someone can be heard talking and a few randomly synth notes are played.

The Infant King

length: 4.57 / soundquality: excellent

This absolutely wonderful song is maybe the best Michiel ever wrote. This version has music that's almost the same but the lyrics are completely different. They are someitmes difficult to understand, but are about a war-torn people and I must say that they are equally as fitting as the released lyrics. The music has the same structure, but is an alternate take then the released version. The ending features some extra synth parts and backing vocals that are not on the released version.

Lyrics

Our flags are tethered and our symbols torn
Our feet are tired, our hands are worn
The stripped our land, they took our houses too
They burned our [..], our village [..]
We tiptoe, tiptoe through these foreign lands
we search for somewhere high or low

Our flags are tethered and our symbols torn

Our feet are tired, our hands are [..]

Someone said the other day
The sky is [...] and it's plain to see
[..] your hands [..] to the ground
[.........] army [...]
Ah hah ah hah ah
Ah hah ah hah ah

They took our copper and they took our guns
They took everything that they could get
They took our daughters and our women too
They took our [...]

Someone said the other day
The sky is [.........] 
[...................]
Ah hah ah hah ah
Ah hah ah hah ah

Our feet are tired , our hands are cut and worn
Our faith is headed to the [...]
They tiptoe, tiptoe through the foreign lands
[..........]

Ah hah ah hah ah
Ah hah ah hah ah
Ah hah ah hah ah

Instrumental synth noises

length: 0.09 / soundquality: excellent

Just some seemingly random synth noises for a couple of seconds. First there is the bright synth noise from Infant King, followed by some quick chords using a sound very similar to the Nescio intro.

Mask

length: 5.00 / soundquality: excellent

This version sounds, like many other of these demos, a bit more rough and therefore less slick then the album, version. In structure and instrumentation it doesn't differ too much. The synths sound a bit more synthetic and the tempo seems slightly slower. This song is an absolute masterpiece and it remains so in any of the released versions (demo, Aalbum, piano-only b-side or the Urk version with saxophones).

Poor Man's Pound

length: 5.11 / soundquality: excellent

This varied, but not very 'nitsy' song written and sung by Robert Jan sounds very similar to the released version. There are almost no differences, except for the mix and some keyboard parts that come more to the front. also the ending is slightly longer The song is very loudly recorded on this demo (the only one on the tape for which this is the case).  

Silly Fool

length: 3.48 / soundquality: excellent

Very similar in structure, but a bit less polished sounding than the released version. Especially the synth bass is at some times even more prominent. There are small differences in the singing, but nothing too spectacular. The song continues for a bit longer with a non-changing groove.

Mountains In Minutes

length: 4.21 / soundquality: excellent

This sounds like a live-in-the-studio recording. It's, besides it slightly rougher sound, the little bit more prominent rhythm guitar and longer (instrumental) ending, not very different from the released version.

The Tender Trap

length: 4.04 / soundquality: excellent

A rather basic drum computer beat, a synth bass and the main melodic line on much more synthetic sounding horn keyboard sounds are the main differences with the album version. The horn parts on the album sound much more like real instruments, on the demo there is no doubt that these are coming from a synthesizer. Henk's singing is also a bit different, again less slick than on the album. Overall this makes the song sound a bit more primitive, but at the same time also more charming. I find the album version too slick, while this demo version might be too basic sounding, but in both cases this partly covers up a beautifully structured pop song.

Think It Over

length: 3.25 / soundquality: excellent

This seems like a solo performance by Robert Jan. The song is instrumental, so neiher Henk nor Michiel sings and there is a drum computer instead of the real drums by Rob. All the other instruments are synths, with the exception of one guitar part, which might  have been played by Michiel. This si a very nice insight in how Robert Jan provided an almost musically finished demo which then could be used by the the band as a blueprint and to which they could add or replace their voices or instruments.

Typical Nobody

length: 1.19 / soundquality: excellent

This starts out with some keyboard noises and Henk saying 'vrij rustig' ('rather quiet'). After a while the band starts playing live in the studio and the song starts with some upbeat multiple keyboard parts and a straightforward rhythm. Henk sings the lyrics. The music sounds very warbled though, this seems to be a problem with the original tape. This makes it almost unlistenable and it also quickly cuts of, probably because the tape ended. The title is speculative and very likely wrong because the chorus is not yet sung.

Lyrics

I know it's late but I wanted to talk to you
I have been listening to somebody else
I know the changes will drive us together
I know it's typical nobody

You see it's over and no-one is laughing
I know it's typical no-one can
[tape cut off]

Vah Hollanda Seni Seni - Version 1

length: 0.50 / soundquality: excellent

This is an incomplete version that gets cut of within a minute. What is there is similar to version 2.

Vah Hollanda Seni Seni - Version 2

length: 4.23 / soundquality: excellent

Even though it's a different take, this sounds much the same as the released version. A major exception is the absence of the Turkish lyrics and all the backing vocals. There are several alternate lyrics and extended instrumental parts instead in the song. The ending groove is also slightly extended.

Villa Homesick

length: 4.20 / soundquality: excellent

This is slower and much more synthetic sounding than, but similar in structure to the released version. Especially the synth bass is very much to the front.  Michiel's voice and Henk's backing vocals seem much less polished and the music is a bit static sounding.  This song is one of the few that was improved during the actual album recordings.

Woman Cactus

length: 4.46 / soundquality: excellent

This demo is one of the few that sounds quite different from the album version. It features a fast monotonous keyboard backing, a hesitant beat and some guitar parts in the beginning over which Henk sings the lyrics with a different type of echo effect.  A typical Nits synth bass joins and the choruses sound a bit more as the released version. Henk is ad-libbing through the whole second half of the song. The song remains slightly flat throughout though. While this is a nice version that is fun to hear, the released version is absolutely better and more remarkable.