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.

The Stumble Website
Buckley Academy Website

Lionel Ross



April 22nd, 2009 at 22:08
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I’m glad that it all went well. I was full of cold so unfortunately I could not make it. Watch this space for details of the all the other forthcoming Buckley Academy gigs.

Thanks for the review Lionel.



April 22nd, 2009 at 23:35
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Good review Lionel, The Stumble were excellant, and it is nice to see someone making an effort with a newish venue, sadly it doesn’t seem to be the locals who are attending though, talking to people it seems the admission price is putting people off,, which I find alarming, I think £10 for a band like the Stumble is pretty amazing !

The next two gigs are ::

Blues State UK Friday 21st May
Tommy Allen Band Saturday 20th June



April 23rd, 2009 at 12:01
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Nice work as ever Lionel – glad it went well. Interesting to see Tommy Allen coming up on 20th June. Is Trafficker no more . . . and will the fantastic Johny Hewitt be in the band . . . over to you Pete?


Pete Evans

April 23rd, 2009 at 19:05
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Grahame – a lot of thought has gone into this. Trafficker has always been synonymous with Tommy and the music that he produced which was all self-penned.

Unfortunately some people have been quite critical in the past stating that he had sold out to rock and indeed his last release “Fade To Black” was a very rocky album, and was deliberately meant to be. He wanted to do it and needed to do it and in the end it was a damn fine release. Indeed, Lionel reviewed it for Blues in Britain and gave it a 9. A lot of well known musicians go through this phase – Eddie Martin readily admits that his latest cd is a rocky one.

However, Tom’s live set always contained a good 40% blues numbers which was usually more than many of his contemporaries and Tom’s knowledge and love of the blues often amazes me and so he is quite at ease with the fact that his current set is now 80+% blues.He is also doing vey well indeed with the acoustic blues duo work with Jonny Hewitt and they have landed some great gigs and festivals.

So with this swing back to a much bluesier set it seemed logical to call the band a different name and as Tom is the composer, guitarist and vocalist, why not call it The Tommy Allen Band. It will be interesting to see whether it has a detrimental effect – I personally doubt it.

And yes Grahame – Johny is officially now a member of The Tommy Allen Band and will be playing at Buckley.
Please note though that Smokehouse will still be playing regularly, with each of the band’s gigs fastidiously noted on a big wall chart to maximise the number of gigs for everyone.



April 23rd, 2009 at 19:51
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Cool! An electric show with Tommy and Johny together. I might be away on the 20th – only time will tell. If not then I’ll see you there.