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they got a recording contract with Phonogram's Philips label, Ed Heck had been
replaced by a bass guitarist, Kees Kuypers.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
Please send corrections, additions and comments to: uheep2 at comcast dot net
Back to Alex's Home Page
Back to the Nederpop index