Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Choice Cuts reviewed by Rick Davis

Choice Cuts
Big Pete
Delta Groove Music, Inc.
13 Tracks

Dutch blues vocalist and harp master Pieter "Big Pete" van der Pluijm may not be a familiar name to American blues fans, but he's already well established in the Netherlands making it his native home base in North-West Europe. Big Pete cites his influences to be Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter, Lester Butler, and William Clarke. He made the decision to purchase his first harmonica after seeing Lester Butler on national television in 1993. At the age of 23, Pete was chosen for a tour to honor the music and memory of legendary harmonica player and vocalist Lester Butler (the Red Devils and Thirteen), backed by Matt Scofield, Eddie Clark, Rick Reed, and Enrico Crivellaro. The project was so successful, that a CD of the Lester Butler Tribute Band was recorded, followed by more tours. This secured Big Pete as premier next generation blues performer in the Benelux region. He went on to form and record with groups like The Strikes, The Backbones,  and M.O.C.T. (Men Of Considerable Taste). His growing reputation led to tours and performances backing many internationally acclaimed blues artists including Alex Schultz, Mitch Kashmar, Monster Mike Welch, Hook Herrera, Matt Schofield, and Ian Siegal. Pete's introduction to the U.S. began in March 2010 with his appearance on The Mannish Boys' 5th anniversary release Shake For Me. Pete closed out the album paying tribute to the late Lester Butler on the New Orleans tune "Way Down South," backed by Kid Ramos, Willie J. Campbell and Jimi Bott along with special guest pianist Andy Kaulkin, who previously recorded with Lester Butler on the  album Thirteen.

Big Pete makes his American solo album debut Choice Cuts with an incredible all-star recording lineup featuring Kim Wilson, Paul Oscher, Al Blake, Johnny Dyer, Alex Schultz, Kirk Fletcher, Kid Ramos, Rusty Zinn, Shawn Pittman, John Marx, Mojo Mark, Rob Rio, Willie J. Campbell and Jimi Bott. Choice Cuts is destined to become a classic blues CD in time. He opens the CD with a tribute to Lester Butler by performing the Butler tune "Driftin'." The legendary tribute continues with "Can't You See What You're Doin' To Me" by Albert King, "Act Like You Love Me" by Jimmy Rogers, "Just To Be With You" by Roth Bernard, "Don't Start Crying Now" by James H. Moore, "I Got My Eyes On You" by "Smoky" Smothers, "I Was Fooled" by Jody Williams, Howlin' Wolf's "Rockin' Daddy," Jimmy Roger's "Left Me With a Broken Heart," Little Water's "Just Your Fool," the William Clark instrumental "Chromatic Crumbs," Willie Dixon's "I'm a Business Man," and the blues classic "Hey Lawdy Mama."

After previewing Choice Cuts, which will soon become a classic, you will agree that Pieter "Big Pete" van der Pluijm sounds more like a seasoned 50 year Chicago harp blues artist than a 33 year old blues performer from the Netherlands. Given the sound of his vocals and harp mastery, he is destined to be one of greatest to play the blues. Never before has group of blues artists of this caliber been assembled like this to record a blues tribute! 

Reviewed by Rick Davis

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