Des Henly's Rock and Roll Circus

Gig reviews - uk music papers

Melody Maker
7 October 1972

concert review:
27 Sept 1972 - London, Speakeasy

Most "rock revival" bands draw their material from the late fifties stars - Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, etc.
Fumble is a band who have set their sights on the early sixties period drawing their material from a "poppier" era featuring Bobby Vee, Rick Nelson and Neil Sedaka songs in their show.
At London's Speakeasy last Wednesday the four-piece band did a couple of sets full of lively nostalgia. But the most impressive part of their act were two songs they'd written themselves which capture the atmosphere of a Sedaka/Vee/Nelson melody with a fair accuracy. When they've honed their writing technique in that direction we'll be hearing some fair old tunes.
Lead guitarist Des Henly has a perfect voice for that period's songs - "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes," "Oh Carol," and so on - but his guitar work is sometimes short of James Burton's legendary licks.
Des has also seem fit to adopt that unfortunate aggressive nature on stage that many rock festival bands have. They think that the "hip" crowd one gets down the Speakeasy has to be bludgeoned with insults before they'll take notice. That isn't always true. Anyway, Fumble had crowded the dance floor with enough fans not to have to hake that defensively sneering posture. They'd have done well to go on, play the set and let the songs speak for themselves.
Sean Mayes' piano was out of tune, which tuined "Nut Rocker" and nearly did the same to "Night Has A Thousand Eyes,"
Barry Pike (drums) and basist Mario Ferrari (what a great name) are a sound, unspectacular rhythm section of the type that used to be the foundation of mid-sixties British groups - Tremeloes, Freddie and the Dreamers.
There was a moment or two during their performance when I ot the impression that maybe Fumble had been working too much in cabardt there was that sort of aura to their act - but it could be that I've grown unused to seeing groups smiling on stage. Give them a month or two, and a tuned piano and tehy'll be well worth catching up with.
- Geoff Brown -