Pee Wee & The Specials, I Knew From The Start

Pee Wee & The Specials was a very swinging 8-piece formation from Castricum and surrounding area (The Netherlands), formed in 1978. They existed till 1980. Pee Wee & The Specials originally started as the studio-band of a radio-program, for more then a year the band was a regular participant of a VPRO (Dutch radio and television station) radio-program on the Friday-evening, called "De Suite", where they backed up singer Harco Wind, pseudonym for the wellknown Dutch Wim T. Schippers, a songwriter and performer who is always toying with Dutch lyrics and tunes from foreign top-hits.

The band started to travel through Holland and was very pleased with the big success they had live on stage. In january 1980 the band made several recordings in the Fendal Sound Recording Studio, after which the first single "I Knew From The Start" b/w "Mama Said" came out on the Dutch Rockhouse label (Rockhouse SP 8003). In March 1980 Rockhouse released the debut-album "Pee Wee & The Specials" (Rockhouse LP 8004). On this strong vinyl album you can hear 18 swinging tracks. 13 covers that where chosen with care, like "I Knew From The Start" from The Moonglows, "In The Still Of The Night" from The Five Satins and "Lily Maebelle" from "The Valentines", but also 5 self-penned tunes written by Jakob Klaasse, "Truckstop Cafe Queen", "I'm Still (Not Over You)" and "Love Love Love". Peter Warnier (Mini-Rock) and Erik Mooijman (Mini-Rock and Buying Your Love) are very fine examples of their impressive vocal and musical capacities.

The band succeeded in letting all 18 songs sound spontaneously, fresh, joyful, honest and most of all, really as swinging as possible. In March 1980 the band performed live on stage at the 14th Rockhouse International Rock & Roll-meeting in Eindhoven with Matchbox (UK) and Ronnie Hawkins (USA). What I still can remember from that gig is the fact that it was very special to see a Dutch doo-wop band live on stage at the Rockhouse meeting. The same year Rockhouse released a third record, "Juanita" b/w "Truckstop Cafe Queen" (SP 8007). On the a-side of this single you can hear wellknown Dutch songwriter and sax-player Clous van Mechelen.

Rockhouse also released the two songs "False Alarm" and "Juanita" on a compilationalbum called "Just Go Wild Over Rock 'n' Roll" (LPM 8101) in 1981. This compilationalbum was also released in Germany on the Bellaphon label but with a different title; "Rockabilly Dynamites". In 1980 the band split up through lack of attention from the radio-stations, who rather played commercial singles from English bands like "The Darts" and "Rocky Sharpe And The Replays". That same year Erik Mooijman, Rini Oudhuis (for a while), Jakob Klaasse, Peter Warnier and Franc Hendriks joined the famous Dutch performer Bram Vermeulen to form a band that became known as "De Toekomst".

The style of Pee Wee & The Specials is fresh Doo-Wop, a collective term for a style of singing from many American vocal-groups in the fifties and a kind of rock 'n' roll in which the leadvocals are accompanied by high-class lyrics like "doo-wop doo-wop, shoo-wop, ding-a-ling". Characteristic for Doo-Wop is the vocal harmony singing and that's why it's essential for this music that the members of the band have excellent vocal capabillities. Doo-Wop became very wellknown in the fifties through vocal-groups like The Crows, The Drifters, The Clovers, The Platters, The Moonglows. The Five Keys and The Coasters.

In the seventies and eighties Doo-Wop was in the charts through the very commercial style from famous English bands like "The Darts", "Showaddywaddy" and "Rocky Sharps And The Replays". I personally think it's very striking that Rarity Records released the cd-version from this original vinyl album, 20 years after this record came out on Rockhouse Records. In this way the CD is a worthy tribute to a band that deserves everybody's respect, because Pee Wee & The Specials was the only Dutch band that dared to record an authentic Doo-Wop album. And for this, the band was mentioned in the Encyclopaedia of Dutch Popmusic released in 1990.

Rarity Records:

Rockhouse Records:

Story by Frank Nelissen for:
Rebel Rock R&R Promotions
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