Review: The Stumble at Buckley Academy – 18 April 2009
Posted on: Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009
The Academy, located in Buckley, Flintshire, is a venue that caters for dance instruction, fitness and entertainment. One of its strands of entertainment is a regular blues gig, which has been attracting an increasingly large audience. The Stumble was the latest band to grace the Academy, which gives some indication of the high level that organiser, Ellie Jones, is targeting.
The pride of Preston certainly lived up to their ever-rising reputation with a beautifully balanced programme of blues, much of which can be found on their two excellent albums, The World is Tough and Houngan. They opened their account with the upbeat shuffle, “Small World, Baby” and “You Upset Me, Baby” before delivering their first rumba of the evening, “Saturday Night”. The slow blues, “All Over Again” was, as ever, particularly well-received, featuring the superb vocals of Paul Melville and fine solos from Colin Black on guitar and Simon Anthony on sax. The rest of the first set comprised a splendid mix of mood and tempo, which included a brilliant version of the Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talkin’” and culminated in a superb performance of the aforementioned “Houngan”.
The second set began with “Bus Stop” and a terrific rendition of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”, complete with another belting guitar solo. “Your Love For Me” introduced a Bo Diddley beat into the proceedings, which was followed by a taste of rock and roll in the shape of “Little Maudie”. Rumbas and shuffles vied for prominence while drummer, Boyd Tonner, assumed lead vocals on Chuck Berry’s “Oh, Carol” drifting seamlessly into “Bee-Bop-A-Lula”. “The World Is Tough” completed the set and the magnificent show was concluded with the rousing “Gimme Back My Wig” by way of an encore.
A standing ovation appropriately hailed the quality of the performance and indicated that the Academy is well on the way to establishing itself as a serious blues venue.