Review: Big Pete’s Blues Band at Garston Royal British Legion – 3rd February 2012

Posted on: Saturday, Feb 11, 2012

MOCT #2440

Singer/harmonica maestro Pieter ‘Big Pete’ van der Pluijm had already performed twice in Liverpool before this event – first with the Backbones and secondly with MOCT. On this occasion, Big Pete’s band returned to the blues-oriented programme of the former incarnation from the more soul-flavoured basis of the latter. In addition to Pete, the band comprised his long-standing collaborator and fellow Dutchman, guitarist Sander Kooiman, and the Belgian rhythm section of Rene Stock on bass guitar and Willy Maze on drums.

The first set burst into life with an impassioned delivery of “Everything Gonna Be Alright”, which was effectively contrasted with the Junior Wells classic, “Come On In This House” and Charlie Musselwhite’s rumba-rhythmed “I Don’t Play, I’ll Be Your Man Some Day”. There were also terrific versions of “Early In The Morning” and “I’ve Got My Eyes On You” before the splendid set was closed with a spirited version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Rockin’ Daddy”.

At the start of the second set, “My Back Scratcher” made way for a slow blues, which featured a scintillating guitar solo from Sander Kooiman, before a superb rendition of Billy Boy Arnold’s “Rockinitis” allowed Willy Maze to perform a hugely impressive drum solo. “It’s My Life, Baby” led into another slow blues, complete with another helping of magic from Kooiman, and “You Know It Ain’t Right”, a rip-roaring foot-tapper that was brilliantly driven by the top class rhythm section.

To complete the set, Big Pete then delivered a sublime harp solo on Jimmy Rogers’s “If It Ain’t Me (Who Are You Thinking Of?)”. The delight was extended by an energetic rendition of the ever-popular “Shake Your Hips” to sate the loud demands of the highly appreciative audience, confirming the band’s status among the cream of European blues ensembles.

Lionel Ross

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