A good boogie-woogie-styled pianist, Hoeke led the Rob Hoeke Rhythm & Blues group in the mid-'60s, which had some success in Holland, although they were unknown elsewhere. Hoeke's outfit was probably the most accomplished of the numerous Dutch acts that tried to play blues-rock during the period (such as Cuby & the Blizzards). This was due in large measure to Hoeke's skill as an instrumentalist, and a sense that he had actually familiarized himself with the idiom for a few years, as opposed to some of the sloppier Dutch bands, which seemed to have leaped into R&B after hearing one Rolling Stones hit. Hoeke was also a good singer, with a pinched, hurt phrasing that was less affected than most '60s Continental rock singers performing in English.
Like most blues-rock groups of the time, Dutch or otherwise, Hoeke's band was most interesting when they brought a pop/R&B sensibility to their original material. They did this best on the sullen 1966 single "When People Talk"/"Rain, Snow, Misery," both sides of which have been reissued on compilations of '60s Dutch beat music. Their 1967 album, Save Our Souls, by contrast, was more focused on straight blues than one might have expected, with a few instrumentals showcasing Hoeke's boogie chops. ~ Richie Unterberger