Blues In Britain Review
Stompin' Dave's Rockin' Outfit: Rock n Roll & Rockabilly
This is the third new release from one man music industry Stompin' Dave in various guises over the recent months. Now we have a good old slice of rock n roll and rockabilly with a fair bit of blues for good measure.
For this release of ten glorious covers, which has the sound of the old Sun Studios, was actually recorded in Farnham at the Mayfair Studios. He is joined by Mark Feld on bass and, changing from his regular bass duties to drums Earl Jackson. This title little unit give it that authentic feel and make for a highly enjoyable thirty minutes of truly classic music. Dave's an amazing musician - I've yet to see an instrument he can't play - but here he limits himself to guitar and piano and achieves the sound of the originals, which is quite a feat in itself.
Dave switches between instruments throughout from a full sounding piano style of Jerry Lee Lewis to some great guitar on songs like "I'm Ready", through a really funky groove for Slim Harpo's 'Shake Your Hips', and from Elvis's early sessions in 'That's All Right Mama'. The Band drive things along nicely and being uncluttered produce a nice lean rhythm full of the sound we all know from those legendary Sun sessions.
Songs like 'Great Balls Of Fire'. 'Midnight Special' and 'Wreck Of The Old Ninety Seven' are included here, but for a real taste of great guitar playing listen to Dave's take on 'Brown Ferry Blues' and you'll soon be pushing that replay button. Stompin' Dave's albums in whatever format are an absolute treat and this latest line up will be touring so watch out for them, not only for the great music but add Dave's wonderful sense of humour and your in for a treat as Dave's band bring rock n roll to town.
Blues In Britain Review
Stompin' Dave's Blues3: The Mayfair Studio
This album was recorded at studios in Farnham. Blues3 has Earl Jackson on bass and Sam Kelly on drums. This album contains ten new songs by Dave and the forty five minutes here prove why they are such a popular live band.
The opening 'Sell Your Soul' sets thing off with a nice mid paced blues, before a tasty boogie with a Jimmy Reed type groove on 'Darling Girl'. Track three 'Innocent Man' is one of the outstanding songs on this album of many delights. This is an uplifting slice of Dorset blues with some very fine guitar on 'My Heart Belongs To You.' 'Hoodoo Hole' is a deep down blues, which includes a deliverance call from the life he leads.
One song that will surely be a crowd favourite is the somewhat humourous 'Stuck Behind A Big Fat Truck', the one you're blocked behind when all you want to do is get home. It may be a blues but it's an uplifting slice of music. Dave, Earl, and Sam are masters of their craft and together they are tight and funky as 'Money Makes the World' proves. The only twelve bar is found in 'Ride This Train' with it's railroad grove. Join the ride, it's a great little track. The closing 'Raging And A Moaning' opens with Earl's bass for another song the dancers will rise up to; a perfect close to what is a hugely enjoyable and superbly played album. Stompin' Dave has the ideal voice for his music and together these three certainly do make some great blues.
Blues In Britain Review
Stompin Dave: Acoustic Blues
Stompin' Dave Allen is one of the most totally unique musicians anywhere on the music scene today and there seems to be no limit to the instruments he plays. For this release he's solo and it's blues right from the opening 'About My Lady', one of those that reminds you of the singing brakeman Jimmie Rodgers, through the Delta for 'A Little Disposition' and onto a song that could have come from Charlie Patton in 'You Snake' featuring Dave's beautiful slide guitar. On 'Fool Me Round' Dave adds another element to the mix; his backing band or in this case his tap dancing. Yes, live he dances while he plays and never misses a beat. A real up beat joyful blues.
He certainly knows how to write a great blues song and here 'Blues This Morning' has the quality of songs like 'Careless Love'. The voice and the guitar make a perfect match and it's one of the album's truly outstanding songs. By the time we reach 'Change My World' we have both the strumming guitar and the tap dancing - he taps out the rhythm with his feet and plays guitar over it.
This album show Dave's full range to full effect, from the superb slide of 'Still Some Wonder', a song about English country life to 'Super Rich Man' sums up this whole album, it was one that he had to do. This a totally enjoyable slice of the best in acoustic blues.
STOMPIN' DAVE'S BLUES3
Blues In The South (March 2018)
In other parts of the world they have cyclones, tornados and hurricanes, in the UK we have Stompin' Dave. Dave is a phenomenal artist. A great guitar player and vocalist, an accomplished songwriter and an excellent traditional fiddler, a boogie/blues piano player and a competition standard five-string banjo picker. As if that's not enough, he is also an outstanding dancer using a combination of flatfoot and clogging styles often when playing one of his stringed instruments. It is an often electrifying acoustic experience.
Here, Dave is working with ace drummer Sam Kelly and bass man Earl Jackson. Dave has produced something that is both traitional and fresh. The best example is his interpretation of the old, old song Careless Love. Commonly delivered as an 8 or 16 bar blues here it is performed as a 12 bar with a finger-picked accompaniment in the style of Scotty More or Merle Travis. The remainder of the 11 tracks on the album range in style from a restrained (i.e. no stacks of amps) power trio on Space Blues to a riff driven Political Man and including some delicate Americana slide playing on Trust Enough with some nice harmonies by Earl (and a bit of a drum solo by Sam). I Can Tell is a seriously funky piece which would go down well in New Orlins.
All in all a delight which I am delighted to report adds a new arrow to Dave's already bulging quiver.
Ian K McKenzie
Stompin' Dave: American Roots
Old Time News (2018)
Dorset-based Stompin Dave Allen sings and plays guitar, banjo, fiddle, harmonica and flatfoot/tap dances at the same time! Stompin Dave provides a very entertaining show as many of you have been lucky enough to experience at his appearances at UK festivals including FOAOTMAD’s own Gainsborough. Dave has some respectable credentials in old-time music and is well known on the UK old-time scene having been a proud winner of Gainsborough’s old time banjo competition in 2011 and 2013 and runner up for dancing in 2012.
Dave’s album output has been productive with just over one CD per year since 2006. This latest release is in fact his 23rd album. It represents a fine selection of traditional songs and tunes all played at a foot-stomping tempo. The CD was recorded partly at his home outside Bridport in 2014, and also recorded live during his recent tour in 2017.
Dave has included a wide range of tunes providing contrast by featuring either his banjo, guitar or fiddle. They are mostly traditional numbers with the exception of an impressive guitar picked version of Scott Joplin's The Entertainer and Benjamin Hanby's Darling Nellie Gray. Thirteen of the tracks were recorded live at gigs and the atmosphere of the live gig is captured here very well, complete with applause and “thank-yous”. The live recordings are my favourite tracks as they burst with energy. I particularly enjoyed the classic ragtime tune The Entertainer and other highlights for me were his versions of John Henry and Greasy String. The repertoire does include some banjo picking and “crossover” standards which may not appeal to old-time purists.
Many of the tracks include his rhythmic percussive dancing and up-tempo musicianship and should be of great interest to Appalachian clogging and flatfoooting groups as well as their musicians. Dancers may find this CD useful for practise sessions and the breadth of material will appeal to a wide range of musicians as well as a broader Americana audience. The impressive display of driving musicianship and clear vocals throughout this album provides great entertainment and 20 tracks is good value to boot!
STOMPIN' DAVE & SAM KELLY
Live From The Sticks
Blues In Britain (September 2015)
Stompin Dave is a multi-instrumentalist of the highest quality along with his trademark stomp, whether on guitar, banjo, keys, fiddle or harp. This live release sees him join forces with the ubiquitous and far more widely known talent of Sam Kelly on drums, for a rampaging set of electric blues which amazingly is merely a single dimension of his incredible versatility.
Opening on bar room piano and then joined by Sam on drums, ‘Every Day I Have The Blues’ shows Dave’s powerful sharp edged metallic timbre vocals to the fore with a really authentic vibe. He turns to fluid and articulate guitar on the self-penned ‘Breaking Down’ before reverting to piano and harp for another original, ‘I Love You Baby’, a lovely boogie with some attractive deft touches from Sam.
Building in intensity, a scintillating and electrifying ‘Stomping Guitar Boogie’ does exactly that, and you can sense the dancers in the crowd reacting accordingly. His trademark stomp precedes a fast handed to pin drop guitar fade out. Dave’s drawling vocal and rolling piano sees him ‘Do A Little Boogie Today’ with super little vignettes of drum solos and riffs from the urbane Mr Kelly.
Another cover ‘Matchbox’ is a vehicle for that stonking honkytonk piano with a salacious “I’ll be your little dog when your big dog comes” refrain, complete with the appropriate canine impersonations from the band, clearly enjoying every minute. An original ‘Back Door Man’, not the standard cover, features compulsive and frenetic guitar work before Sam joins in with a cleverly synchronised section before first drums and then stomp precede vibrant chiming guitar.
One of Dave’s favourite pieces, ‘Mother Earth’ closes out the set with lovely piano and harp and the satisfied sardonic lyric “No matter who you are, we all go back to mother earth”. With no overdubs and minimal chatter between tracks this is a very worthwhile 50 minute listen and a splendid souvenir of just one facet of Dave’s diverse and myriad talents. It is also abundantly clear as to the rapport and sheer enjoyment of these two fine musicians operating in tandem.
STOMPIN' DAVE & SAM KELLY
Live From The Sticks
Blues Matters(December 2015)
Eight tracks recorded live at the turn of the year in Dorset, released as picked-up and without overdubs. The energy here is always positive with Stompin' Dave's keyboard skills well to the fore while Sam Kelly lends his magisterial presence on drums with support from Jules Bushell on bass guitar. Both Kelly and Bushell ensure a rock-solid backbone to the album giving Dave (Allen) plenty of room to enjoy himself on vocals, guitar, keys and, on a number of takes, harp; track three I Love You Baby, is a barn-stormer with Bushell's bass work solid and Kelly ripping it up good-style while Dave moves effortlessly from keys to harp and back throughout.
The album opens with a fine, down-low version of the old Memphis Slim standard Every Day I Have The Blues, one of BB's personal trademark tracks, here covered with passion and punch, Kelly clearly enjoying laying down an appropriately stomping rhythm while Dave's keys are barrel-house, honky-tonk at its best. Anything featuring the wonderful Sam Kelly on skins is bound inevitably to have a screaming, pounding backbeat that soars along with bags of guts.
Live From The Sticks could well be a direct, albeit slightly sly, reference to Kelly's input here or more prosaically the Wessex village hall where the album was recorded. Whatever, mostly twelve-bar driven the overall result cruises through a couple of Memphis Slim's old favourites with the addition of Mother Earth giving Chatman the credits to both top and tail this offering. In the mix, Carl Perkins' old early rocker Matchbox fair romps along with the remaining tracks in similar vein all written by Stompin' Dave Allen himself. This is nothing short of classic juke-joint blues from the sticks.
Blues Matters (Feb/Mar 2013)
Stompin' Dave is a man for all occasions and a popular attraction on the live scene. He is a multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, fiddle, mandolin, piano, harmonica, banjo and much more. He has his own electric Blues band and has also previously played with top British Blues band The Producers. For this latest solo album Dave features traditional American songs with fingerstyle guitar accompaniment and he kicks off with that old chestnut 'Rising Sun Blues'.
This old favourite is played in an old time country Blues style and comes up sounding as fresh as a daisy - lovely jubbly. Another old Blues classic 'St. James Infirmary' gets similar treatment and then we get 'Great Big Dog' which is a gentle, lilting lullaby with Dave crooning to rolling guitar accompaniment. For the England rugby fans amongst us we get a swift run through of that old spiritual 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot'. It's a great song but how it ever came to be sung at Twickenham beats me. The sound quality is excellent and recording was done just as it should be for this sort of music - live with no overdubs.
As always with Dave he manages to instil his bubbly personality into the music and this is particularly evident on my favourite track, the oft covered, 'Bottle Up And Go'. There is a touch of country, a smidgeon of bluegrass, a dollop of Blues, a hint of gospel and it all comes together in a tasty stew. The jaunty tale of 'Railroad Bill' is accompanied by some nifty picking and is followed by the swinging 'Down By The Riverside'. This lovely album closes with the story of 'Old Dan Tucker' who was a "fine old man, washed his face in the frying pan". As you do! I really did enjoy this album and can thoroughly recommend it to all lovers of acoustic Blues and Americana. It will bring a smile to your face.