Rob Hoeke

Publicity shot from Phonogram Records of the first line-up of the Rob Hoeke R&B Group
(L-R: Paul Hoeke, John Schuursma, Kees Kuypers, Frans Hoeke, Rob Hoeke)

Pianist Rob Hoeke started his first band in 1957 with his brother Paul (d) and Ed Heck (upright bass). In 1959, they became the Rob Hoeke Boogie Woogie Quartet, adding guitarist Wim Bitter. By the time they got a recording contract with Phonogram's Philips label, Ed Heck had been replaced by a bass guitarist, Kees Kuypers. In October 1963, they released their first record (an EP), followed in 1964 by an LP, "Boogie Hoogie". Early 1965, the band did a stint in Sweden. Upon their return, they recorded the single, "Down South", which would become Hoeke's signature tune. After a second trip to Sweden and sitting in on the piano with The Rolling Stones, Hoeke switched to R&B, renaming his band Rob Hoeke R&B Group and adding cousin Frans Hoeke (v, g). Late 1965, Wim Bitter was replaced by John Schuursma (later in Brainbox). The band had their first hit with "Margio" in mid-1966, after which they were joined by Willem Schoone (b, v, ex-Marks). Schoone sang lead on the next hit, "When People Talk". Shortly after that, Rob’s brother Paul Hoeke quit and was replaced by drummer Martin Rüdelsheim. This line-up recorded the successful album, "Save Our Souls". The band had two more hits in 1967 and by 1968's "Drinking On My Bed" (the last hit of the R&B Group), Schuursma had been replaced with Will de Meyer (g, ex-Alleycats). Not long afterwards, Frans Hoeke quit to pursue a solo career, which would turn out to be quite unsuccessful. For a while he was not replaced. As the single "Down South" from 1965 was still very popular, Rob was asked to do a new boogie-woogie album. So in mid-1968, two Rob Hoeke albums hit the shops: "Celsius 232.8" by The Rob Hoeke R&B Group (Hoeke, Schoone, Rüdelsheim & de Meyer) and the instrumental "Robby's Saloon" by the revived Rob Hoeke Boogie Woogie Quartet (Rob Hoeke, Paul Hoeke, Will de Meyer and Kees Kuypers). Then some more changes took place: shortly after the release of "Celsius" in late 1968, Jan Vennik (o, s, ex-Motions) came in as a fifth member. In the Spring of 1969, Jaap Jan Schermer became the new drummer. After the success of "Robby's Saloon", Hoeke recorded another boogie-woogie album, "Racing The Boogie", in early 1970 (and Phonogram included the 1965 track "Down South" on it to boost sales). This move didn't do Hoeke's reputation much good as there was confusion over what to expect from him: psychedelic bluesy rock or boogie-woogie. The situation would not be helped by "Down South" being re-released as a single and hitting the charts. It effectively meant the end of the Rob Hoeke R&B Group. In March 1970, Schoone left to be replaced by Guus Willlemse (ex-Truce, later in Solution), but the writing was on the wall, especially since Rob Hoeke didn't even play on the next single, "Next World War" (Vennik played the keyboards). The following single, "Everybody Tries", hit the lower regions of the charts, but after that the R&B Group and the Boogie Woogie Quartet would be interchangeable.

In 1971, Hoeke recorded a piano duo album with old friend Hein van der Gaag, assisted by Ben de Bruin (g), Paul Lagaay (d) and Will de Meijer (b). Pim van der Linden (ex-Het and Pocomania) then came in on bass with de Meyer reverting to guitar. The 1972 album, "Full Speed/Ten Years From Countdown", was recorded with Ben de Bruijn, Paul Lagaay and bassist Herman Deinum (ex-Cuby + Blizzards). Hoeke then started fulfilling his contracts with the returned Martin Rüdelsheim and Martin Schoon (b). In the meantime, he started rehearsing with Eelco Gelling and Harry Muskee of the disbanded Cuby + Blizzards, but the project didn't work out. Hoeke then decided to get back his cousin Frans and guitarist Ben de Bruijn, plus the C+B rhythm section - Herman Deinum (b) and Hans Lafaille (d). This line-up recorded the 1973 album (credited to "Rob Hoeke"), "Rockin' The Boogie". Early 1974, Hoeke's band comprised de Bruijn, the returned Pim van der Linden (b, replaced by Ed Swanenberg, ex-Unit Gloria), Will Baltus (d) and Brenny van Rosmalen (v, g). Then tragedy struck: while trying to fix his car, Hoeke injured his left hand (hit by a fan), losing most of his left pinky and ring finger. The days of playing piano seemed to be over.

Yet in 1975 he managed to record another duo album with Hein van der Gaag, called "Fingerprints". Slowly Hoeke managed to get used to playing with "less hand" than before. Later that year, he started touring again with Ben de Bruijn (replacing Eef Albers), Ab de Jong (d, ex-Mantra Energy), Chiel Pos (ex-Beehive, g, s, v) and Fred Snel (b, ex-Solar). In early 1976, Hoeke reverted back to a trio with Pos (now on bass) and (again) Martin Rüdelsheim (d), and the next year - with John Schuursma (b) and Maarten van de Valk (d). In the Summer of 1977, Hoeke recorded an album with Alan Price. In early 1978, he chose bluesers Railway as his backing band, comprised of Rob Goedkoop (g, v), Jacques Groen (d) and Doewe Munk (b). For the next album, "Boogie Woogie Explosion", Hoeke picked ex-Focus-drummer Pierre van der Linden, plus former members Will de Meijer (g, b), John Schuursma (g, b) and Jan Vennik (s). On the 1981 album, "Home Made", Hoeke kept van der Linden and Vennik, adding former members Willlem Schoone (b) and Ben de Bruijn (g). In 1983, Hoeke started playing with a band again as The Rob Hoeke Group (keeping a label in the middle, whether it was R&B or Boogie Woogie). In the 1980s, Hoeke used a kind of floating line-up with interchangeable drummers (Paul Lagaay, Rini Roukema) and bass players (Fred Snel, Jan de Jong, Gerard Biersteker, Willbert de Gooijer) and alternating between trio and quartet line-ups. From mid-1984 on, old soldier Will de Meyer (g, v) was mainly there when the four-piece played, but many guests and old band members appeared in the line-up from time to time, like John Schuursma and Pierre van der Linden. And from 1987 on, he played under the band name of Rob Hoeke's Boogie & Blues Band, while keeping his flexible line-ups. Highlights were four concerts at the North Sea Jazz festival within the space of 10 years.

In the latter days of his career, Hoeke toured with a remarkably stable line-up comprising Paul Lagaay (d), Chiel (Michiel) Pos (v, g, s) and Toon Segers (b), who'd all played with him before. From 1998 and until the very end, Hoeke (apart from his band gigs) toured Dutch theatres with fellow boogie pianists Jaap Dekker and Rob Agerbeek as The Grand Piano Boogie Train. When it was announced Rob Hoeke was terminally ill, he did a farewell concert in August 1999 with many of his former sidemen and his sons Ruben (leader of his own blues-rock band) and Eric sitting in. Rob Hoeke died in late 1999 at the age of 60.


1963	EP Swanee River Boogie + 3 Philips PE 433181
1964	LP Boogie Hoogie Philips PL 12930 
	Screamin' / Tony's Blues Philips JF 327671
	Boogie Woogie Stomp / Swanee River Boogie Philips JF 327826 
1965	Down South Part 1/ Down South Part 2 Philips JF 327863
1966	Oh, Baby Please / So Blue (Because of You) Philips JF 327964 
	Margio / Rigmore Philips JF 333514 
	When People Talk / Rain Snow Misery Philips JF 333 952
1967	What Is Soul / Down Here Philips JF 333833 
	LP Save our souls Philips XPY 855039
	Don't Ask Me What I Say / Baby Don't Go Philips JF 333865
1968	For My Little Gringo / Swinging Clock Boogie Philips JF 334663 
	LP Robbie's saloon Philips XPY 855084 
	Manfred Mann Played by Rob Hoeke R&B Group Jolita VR 125 
	Drinking on My Bed / P-Kick Boogie Philips JF 333956 
	Try to Realize / It Won't Be Long Philips JF 333990 
	LP Celsius 232.8 Philips XPY 855 067
	Lying in the Grass / Don't Feel Ashamed Philips JF 334.564 
1969	Double Cross Woman / Baby I Wanna Leave You Philips JF 336042
1970	Down South Part 1/ Down South Part 2 (re) Philips JF 327863
	LP Racing the boogie Philips LCY 861822
	Racing the Boogie / Laughin' Boogie Philips 6012 025 
	Next World War / Working Down the Railroad Philips 6012 017 
1971	Smalltalk to My Boy / Cuban Woogie Philips 6012 126 
	LP Four Hands Up (with Hein van der Gaag) Philips 6413 013 
	Everybody Tries / Concentration Philips 6012 074 
	LP P-kick Boogie (re of Save our souls) Philips, 6440062
	That's the Boogie / I Feel Free Philips 6012 153 
1972	LP Full Speed Ten Years From Countdown Philips 6413032
1973	Gettin' Higher / Mirror Man Blues Philips 6012 328 
	LP Rockin' The Boogie Philips 6401053
	Rock Around the Clock / Back on the Farm Again Philips 6020 349 
1975	Fingerprints (with Hein van der Gaag) Philips 6401 090
1977	LP Two Of A Kind (with Alan Price) Polydor 2925064
	I Almost Lost My Mind / Leave Me Alone (w. Alan Price) Polydor 2050497 
1979	LP Boogie Woogie Explosion Polydor 2925086
1980	Lucky Lucinda / For Little Eva Polydor 2050592 
1981	Chimes of Freedom / Fool Side Universe BP 50 
	LP Free and easy Universe LS 28 
	Homemade / Fool Side Universe BP 47 
	Silent night / Silent night part 2 Universe BP 89
1984	LP Jumpin' on the 88 Oldie Blues OL 800
1987	LP The real boogie woogie Down South Records DS 92234
	LP Boogie and blues Stiletto RH 9187
1988	LP Rob Hoeke Rhythm & Blues Group (comp.) Philips 822 356-1
	LP 25 years Rhythm & blues and boogie woogie CNR 655.290-1
	CD 25 years Rhythm & blues and boogie woogie + 3 CNR 655.290-2
1991	2CD The single collection (comp.) Mercury 8423 132
1994	CD Rob Hoeke CNR 2001053
	CD Boogie Woogie & Blues: Live Coco Sound CCS 10-1
1997	CD The Grand Piano Boogie Train On the Move Rodero Records RDR 1295 (with Jaap Dekker & Rob Agerbeek)
	CD Boogie Woogie & Blues-live 2 (private pressing) RH 9702
	CD The Grand Piano Boogie Train Movin' On Rodero Records RDR1297 (with Jaap Dekker & Rob Agerbeek)
1998	CD Margio (comp.) Rotation 56511722004 
2001	2CD Down south (comp.) Hunter HM 13032
2004	3CD Singles A's & B's (comp.) Hunter HM 15432

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