Review: The Warrington Blues Festival – 23 May 2009

Posted on: Wednesday, May 27, 2009

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Peter Price and The Stumble at Warrington RnB Festival – 23rd May 2009

Both headlining acts at the Warrington Rhythm and Blues Festival delivered further Contributions from within the North West region: Peter Price (acoustic stage) and The Stumble (main stage). Peter Price was his usual, whimsical self and delivered an entertaining set that included a humorously enhanced version of “Hot Tomales” and a splendid selection of works by, amongst others, the two Johnsons (Lonnie and Robert), Leadbelly and Mississippi Fred McDowell. His powerful vocals were nicely augmented by his dexterous finger-picking, and both were embellished by his amusing asides. One observation that was particularly well-received was that, in the current climate, there was really only one house of ill repute. The whoops and hollers emanating from the audience in sympathetic response said it all.

Following The Cadillac Kings is never an easy task, and it takes another member of the country’s Blues Premier League to rise to that challenge. Needless to say, The Stumble fall comfortably into that category. Fronted by the superb Paul Melville on vocals, they conjured up yet another magical performance. They immediately leapt into action with the bouncing “It’s A Lie”. “Bus Stop” featured a vibrant sax solo from Simon Anthony and the rumba-rhythmed “Sugar Don’t Taste So Sweet” maintained the upbeat mood. A terrific version of “Who’s Been Talkin’?” was blessed with tasty guitar solos from both Johnny Spencer and Colin Black.

The set was full of the band’s customary verve and the dance floor was soon thronging with eager participants, some clearly emboldened by copious quantities from the real ale bar at the back of the room. Paul Melville was at his best, particularly on the slow blues, “All Over Again”, and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”. The former inspired Simon Anthony to venture into the crowd, while both were substantially graced by the wonderful guitar work of Colin Black. In contrast, “Meet Me At The Bottom” maintained a frantic pace, thanks to the brilliant foundation provided by Boyd Tonner and Dave Heath, on drums and bass guitar respectively.

The set was completed with “Back To Louisiana” and the title song of the band’s most recent album, “Houngan”, before Johnny Spencer led the charge on slide guitar on the ever-popular “Gimme Back My Wig” to climax a fabulous set and an equally marvellous festival. Dave and Shirley Sawyer, Warrington Council and The Pyramid organisation all deserve praise for presenting such a memorable event.

Lionel Ross

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