In the middle of the sixties, a few school kids in Groningen, form a band they call The Keys. They are Tom Barlage (sax, flute), Willem Ennes (keyboards), Louis de Vries (vocals), Gijs Jan Loot (drums, who was later replaced by Frits Schmidt), Adje Kooy (bass, who later was replaced by Peter van de Sande ex-Serpentine) and Frits Lagerwerff (trumpet). The name of the band is later changed to Soulution. The music is mainly R&B and of course soul.

By now (1968) the line up is Barlage, Ennes, van de Sande (bass and vocals) and Hans Waterman (drums, ex-Cuby and the Blizzards). The band doesn't have a permanent guitarist among them, but guitarist John Schuursma (later in Brainbox) helps them every now and then. They drop the 'U' and as Solution they record their first album. The contact with record company Catfish (a subdivision of Bovema) is made by John Schuurma. The music is very jazzy or even Canterbury. Just before the album is released Peter van de Sande leaves the band and is replaced by Guus Willemse. With him on bass the second album Divergence is recorded. In 1972 Solution goes to England for the first time and in 1973 for the second time. The band is very successful.

Solution 1968

After those tours, confusing times begin. Willemse leaves the band and joins Beehive, he is replaced by Jaap van Eijk (ex-Livin' Blues, but joins Trace in 1974) and Adri Klohne. Later Ennes and Barlage have to join the army. So after three years another Solution album is released, happily with all the old members returned. This album is Cordon Bleu, recorded in England with producer Gus Dudgeon (he died in a car crash in July 2002) and with Michiel Pos on guitar. After the release the band plays in Holland and England again. In 1977 is Fully Interlocking released, with the help of the same producer and again recorded in England. In 1978 Willemse (under the name Gus Williams) scores a minor hit with a solo single, Canyon to canyon.

The band is not very successful outside the Netherlands and they loose their contract with record company Rocket Records. Just as a few years earlier, it lasts three years before a new album is released. It's Only Just Begun appears on the CBS label. This time master guitarist Jan Akkerman (ex-Brainbox, ex-Focus) joins them on one track. He also joins them on several live occasions. With this album they changed the musical direction. The songs became shorter, the different themes which were always present in the tracks were gone, the left the jazzy feel behind. In short they played pop music.

In 1982 the follow up Runaway is released. This time there are more changes. The music is even more commercial than on the earlier releases. But the band is joined with a fifth member Harry Hardholt on guitar. In previous years they had experienced with several guitarists (John Schuursma, Jan Akkerman and Michiel Pos) but never as a permanent member. The album was produced by Jim Capaldi (ex Traffic). The end of the band is near however. The writing of new songs becomes harder and harder, some of the members have side projects, and so they decide that after the next tour it is over. The tour itself is very successful, but after their last performance in Paradiso they stop the band in 1983. The same year a record, Solution Live, is released with recordings of this final tour.

Willem Ennes, Hans Waterman, Tom Barlage, Guus Willemse

Barlage later turns up in the Muskee Gang, Ennes continues his producer career, Waterman remains a musician in the Akkerman Band and later in The Pretty Things, Willemse played in a band called The Jury and recorded the album "Nothing but the truth". He also played in the Margriet Eshuis Band just as Willem and Harry did before him.

On March 19 and 20, 2006 Solution made a surprising comeback. They played two shows at Panama, Amsterdam. The band that played was the original quartet (Willemse, Ennes, Barlage and Waterman), they were joined by guests like Harry Hardholt and Michiel Pos.

And then September 6, 2012 Willem Ennes died, age 65.

Paradiso 03-08-1974

(sources: Oor Popencyclopedie, Nationaal Pop Instituut, Album sleeves, Nederpop)

Solution Reunion 2006