Des Henly's Rock and Roll Circus

Gig reviews - uk music papers

New Musical Express
9 March 1974

concert review: Fumble / Marquee

FUMBLE: yes, please! Whereas some oldies – and – occasionally-goodies bands (Reg Presley, are you listening?) are so bad they’re bad, last week Fumble were very, very good.

The major trick – besides knowing how to play better than the originals so you can take the mick, suss the real emotion and extend the style – to revivals is glooming on to a sense of show. Rock’n’Roll is / was good clean fun. But you gotta have that showman’s sense of pace, of building numbers into an entire show-stopping climax and, brother, Fumble sure do.

No bunch of puerile "watch my fingers on this goodie" ersatz punk-rockers here, this is Da Grease, and a ‚fumble gig is complete entertainment. Augmenting the truly Philly Dago-Wop bassman, M. Ferrari. Were Des Henly on lead guitar and vocals. Fetchingly done up in pompadour, flowering white jacket and redolent of "Da Gang Sticks Together as he dedicated "this one" to his mate Arold in ‚ospital.

The pretty-boy with the quiff, Sean Mayes, rolled in lots of points on his fold-up piano, stomping the hell out of that old Tschaichovsky Shuffle, "The Nutrocker" and showing a berserk audience how to boogie on the second encore, "Bye Bye Johnny B. Goode."

Underpinning the whole affair on three drums plus a dustbin lid was the affable Barry Pike, whild old-buddy Dave Christopher was propped against the wall to help out on second guitar. Fumble got it so together you’d never have realised this evening’s five-piece was anything new – the whole show was so tight they could have been an outfit for years. Choreography and all.

Anyhow "Hello Mary Lou" progressed through "Jailhouse Rock" (with a bow to Jeff Beck), and we saw how down pat Fumble have got their styles. They write nifty stuff, too. Good on you fellows, for proving a "revival band" isn’t just its 1966 hit over and over again.
- Beth Lester