From: (Bert van Oortmarssen)
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 1995 13:37:08 +0100
Subject: Little Walter Tribute (Amsterdam)

Short review of the tribute to Little Walter (Paradiso, Amsterdam 22-11-95):

Six harpers (3 USA, 2 from Holland, 1 from Belgium) paid their tribute to
LW, each with a set of appr. 30 minutes. The show started with Paul Vilvoye
(HOL) who stayed close to the LW-riffs. He used a green bullet & Bassman.
Nice backing band (very fine shuffle-drummer), playing songs like Quarter to
Twelve, Young Fashioned Ways and John Brim's Ice Cream Man. I think he
was technically the best (although I might not be the best judge for that)
although he lacked some of the power of the other players. Next was Werner
Blaas (BEL), who was a little bit disappointing this time. He was the only
one not using a Bassman, but the sound was a little bit distorted (and too
much reverb). His playing reminded me more of Charlie Sayles (btw. check out
his train imitation on 'the raw harmonica blues of CS'!) but not really
suited to play with a full backing band.

Guy Forsyth (with his own band) did a nice set, playing Temperature, Come
back baby, I got to go. His chromatic instrumental was not that good, but he
corrected that with a strong version of the Hoochie Coochie Man.
Kim Snelten (HOL) was better than I expected, although the backing band was
a bit uneven. He played a nice version of Up the Line, other songs:
Temperature (again), Mellow Down Easy, Just Your Fool and Roller Coaster (although much
simpler than LW's version, but at least he knew his limitations).

Best band were the Radio Kings (with Brian Templeton on the harmonica), good
vocals and harp. Songs like Too Late, Boom boom and You Better Watch Yourself
really fit this band because of the vocal/harp combination.

Last set was by Lester Butler, what a disaster !! His backing band was made
up from totally incompetent (Dutch) players, the drummer could not play drums
at all (rumour was that he was actually a steelguitar player), the bass guitar
was (the weakest member) from Kim Sneltens band, who cranked up the volume.
The guitar player could only play heavy chords on his Rickenbacker, he is
famous for playing in one of the few professional Dutch bands (sort of Rap/funk)
band, but totally incapable of playing a single Lockwood/Tucker/Myers riff (not
even a single note!). Most of the audience left during this set, others were
shouting to listen to LW's album first. Maybe Lester Butler is a good player but he
should pick his band more carefully (why didn't he play with the first band?).

Final impression: good idea & nice atmosphere. Good music although none of
the players is (imho) in the same league as (a) Kim Wilson or James Harman ....
or LW himself.

(For other Belgium/Dutch readers: There will be some sort of 'American
harmonica Rumble' on dec 7, including Gary Primich (but NOT with the
rediscovered Little Sam Davis)


Bert van Oortmarssen (

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