Buried Treasure: Irish Coffee

Despite remaining relatively obscure, Irish Coffee were arguably the most popular hard rock band in the Belgian underground scene of the early 1970s.

They had minor chart success throughout Europe with their excellent debut single, Masterpiece, and recorded Irish Coffee, their sole album, the following year.

Alongside releases by other Belgian artists of the era, such as Waterloo, Burning Plague, Mad Curry, Doctor Downtrip and Lagger Blues Machine, Irish Coffee has been highly sought after by collectors for many years.

The band were often cited as Belgium’s answer to Deep Purple, and their organ-driven, energetic sound had a proto-metal aggression, comparable also to Uriah Heep and Atomic Rooster. Vocalist/guitarist and main songwriter William Souffreau had an aggressive, powerful yet varied tone to his voice, which suited the heavier tracks, such as killer opener Can’t Take It and Hear Me just fine. But it can also be a bit overbearing in places such as the chorus of The Beginning Of The End, where he comes across like an angry Joe Cocker.

The album’s centerpiece comprises two highly charged funky rock blasters: The Show Part 1 and The Show Part 2, which would have livened up any house party on the continent at the time.

After a car accident in 1974, which claimed the life of organist Paul Lambert, Irish Coffee disbanded. They regrouped to play a reunion show in 1993 and remain active.

Classic Rock 221: News & Regulars

Lee Dorrian

Lee Dorrian is best known as a former member of grindcore band Napalm Death and later frontman of doom metal band Cathedral. Currently a member of stoner metal supergroup With the Dead, he founded his own record label, Rise Above Records, in 1988. They've released albums by Ghost, Twin Temple, Orange Goblin, Pentagram, Sunn O))) and many more. He writes the Buried Treasure column for Classic Rock magazine, about rare underground rock records.