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Delta Groove (DGPCD149)

Driftin', Can't You See What You're Doing To Me, Act Like You Love Me, Just To Be With You, Don't Start Crying Now, I Got My Eyes On You, Hey Lawdy Mama, I Was Fooled, Rockin' Daddy, Left Me With A Broken Heart, Just Your Fool, Chromatic Crumbs, I'm A Business Man.

Big Pete is a Dutch blues harp player who has absorbed the blues - especially the styles of William Clarke and George Smith so anyone who loves the sound of West Coast harmonica will be enthralled with this terrific CD.

Last year, Delta Groove label put Big Pete in the studio with guitarist Alex Schultz, bassist Willie J Campbell and drummer Jimi Bott. The four core musicians were augmented with powerful guest harmonica players Al Blake, Kim Wilson and Paul Oscher and guitar stars Kirk Fletcher, John Marx, Shawn Pittman, Kid Ramos and Rusty Zinn who all combine to raise this CD into something extra special as they slam into some killer tracks carefully selected from the likes of Little Walter, Smokey Smothers, Slim Harpo, Jody Williams, Howlin' Wolf, Albert King, Jimmy Rogers, William Clarke and Lester Butler.

Big Pete slips in every trick in the George Smith blues book on the diesel powered instrumental Chromatic Crumbs, then he performs a pulsating tribute to Lester Butler on Driftin' and brings a surprising authenticity and a sledge hammer beat to Slim Harpo's masterwork Don't Start Crying Now. The band thunders into Jody Williams' I Was Fooled which has Pete making his harp scream and shout before Shawn Pittman nails a stupendous buzz-saw guitar solo. Kid Ramos plunges in with some of his nastiest toned guitar licks on Howlin' Wolf's Rockin' Daddy and then lets rip on a solo that could loosen your fillings. Kirk Fletcher provides some scorching anthemic licks on the threatening slow blues Just To Be With You and Paul Oscher's melodica creates an unusual mood on I'm A Business Man which, incidentally, showcases some of Pete's deft Sonny Boy Williamson-esque phrasing.

All the power and excitement of the originators are here with a driving rhythm, building intensity and a vibrant in-the-moment attitude that makes the music come alive. Big Pete's deep, powerful vocals belie his relative youth and add a fresh sense of warmth and dynamics but there's no way that you could consider him an imitator. As it says in the sleeve notes "he stamps his own unique imprint on every note of every performance".

Big Pete's Choice Cuts arrived three days ago and it's been on replay ever since. Delta Groove has found a brand new blues harmonica star and put him with established stars only too ready to endorse his music. This is Big Pete's first full album for a big label and I have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more of him in the future.


Review Date: January 2012

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