Review: The Backbones – Two Track Wonders

Posted on: Sunday, Apr 19, 2009


“Two Track Wonders”

(New Road Music: NRM070501)

Here’s a well overdue review for this excellent 7-track mini-album from Holland’s finest, The Backbones – whose profile has risen on these over the last 12 months starting with a storming set at Burnley Blues Festival last year, and subsequent visits to Warrington and Liverpool.

The band are fronted by the immense personality of Pieter ‘Big Pete’ van der Pluijm, with big-toned harmonica and fine vocals; Sander Kooiman (guitar), Julius ‘Lord Julius’ van Brakel (bass) and Joost Tazelaar (drums) with guest keyboards from Govert van der Kolm.

‘Big Pete’ is probably one of Europe’s finest musicians, with the band having backed many visiting American players, such as ‘Monster’ Mike Welch and Alex Schultz, and also been involved in the Lester Butler Tribute Band, with our very own Matt Schofield.

This release came about when their friend, Rob van Boeckel had studio time available at New Road Studios in Wijchen, due to a band splitting, and the resulting album was recorded in just one night – and what a stormer it is!

The songs are all covers, influenced obviously by ‘Big Pete’s’ heroes and influences, kicking off with a storming “I’m In Love With You Baby” from the pen of Otis Spann – as all through the release, just great harmonica work and on this opener the band swing like crazy.

A brace of Junior Wells tunes feature the mid-tempo “Love Me”, with nice piano from Govert van der Kolm and tasty guitar solo from Sander Kooiman; “Come On In This House” rides along on a West Side Chicago groove, again the whole band quite superb.

The boys romp through John Brim’s “Ice Cream Man” and get funky on Lowell Fulson and Jimmy McCracklin’s “Tramp” – a version not unlike Memo Gonzalez and The Bluescasters – another of Europe’s finest operators. Proceedings end with Elmore James’ “Stranger Blues” – nice slide intro from Sander Kooiman on this, and top solo, and possibly the best vocal on the album from ‘Big Pete’.

This comes highly recommended and should be available at all gigs. Apparently the band have signed for the top American label, Delta Groove, with a full length album in the offing for this year – that should be well worth the wait.




April 21st, 2009 at 00:10
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Lovely review, Grahame, for a cracking mini album, which sells for a mere £5 at the band’s gigs. Unbelievable value for money.



April 21st, 2009 at 22:13
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Thanks Lionel . . . very kind of you . . . great band, look forward to the new album!