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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fumble - s/t

Name: Fumble
Album: s/t
Year: 1972
Style: Oldies
Similar Bands: Wedding Cover Bands, The Blasters
"One-Word" Review: Dug-Up-Oldie-Recreation-Attempts
Based Out Of: Bristol, England
Label: Sovereign, Capitol,
Fumble - Cover, Record
Fumble - Back, Record

Fumble (1979)
  1. It Might As Well Rain Until September - 2:25
  2. One Night - 2:20
  3. Rave On - 1:53
  4. Ebony Eyes - 2:47
  5. Oh Carol - 2:04
  6. The Girl Can't Help It - 3:01 /
  7. Hello Mary Lou - 2:13
  8. Take Good Care of My Baby - 2:37
  9. Nut Rocket - 2:00
  10. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear - 1:57
  11. Let It Rock - 3:48
  12. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do - 2:32
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
John Sherry - Producer
Rod Lynton - Producer
Des Henley - Vox, Guitar (Atomic 5, Strollers, Baloons, Iveys
Sean Mayes - Piano, Vox (Wildie Beasies, Soul Benders, David Bowie, Tom Robinson Band, Baloons)
Mario Ferrari - Bass, Vox (Baloons, DelRays)
Barry Pike - Drums (Wildie Beasies, Soul Benders, Baloons, DelRays)
Mike Weighell - Engineer
Mick Glossop - Engineer
Hipgnosis - Cover Design & Photography

Unknown-ness: I never heard of this band. Really, I had no idea what to expect. The cover is a very very suggestive portrait of a young, attractive couple, with the guy casually proceeding to second base, as the girl looks unsure. Is this a comedy album? Looking at all the familiar titles on the back, it could be funny takes on the classic oldies. Either way, this cover, band name (obviously, he “fumbles” his opportunity with the girl), and the song listing should hold something uniquely interesting.

Album Review: Fumble recorded an all-covers album of oldies and pop songs from years before. Their first cover is “It Might As Well Rain until September” (Carol King). It sounds like the Monkees with a Hawaiian, swaying style. It is smooth and care free, featuring harmonizing chorus vocals. “One Night” (Elvis Presley) is a try-to heard attempt at mimicking Presley’s vocal style. It is flemmy, rolling, and it changes pitch too drastically and too much. It comes off as a drunken karaoke tune, unsure what to stick with while singing. The music consists of a tinkling piano in the background along with typical drum & bass rhythm. “Rave On” (Buddy Holly) sounds pretty good in comparison. The vocal range is more comfortable for Fumble. There is no real style difference from the original, amazing song. “Ebony Eyes” (Everly Bros) begins with the haunting harmony of dual layered vocals, with a waltz-swaying melody. It is gospel, with chanting voices behind the spoken word lyrics. “Oh Carol” (Neil Sedaka) is a rollicking crooning song, with bop-bops in the background, and dual layered vocals. And the spoken lyric section stands out like all good 50’s male pop vocal songs have. “The Girl Can’t Help It” (Little Richard) is the rock-a-billy, rolling piano style famously Little Richard’s. The vocals are strained and are tying to mimic Richard, without sounding too out of place, like with Presley.

“Hello Mary Lou” (Ricky Nelson) captures Nelson’s rock n’’ roll on verge of country style pretty well. The musical interlude emphasizes the electric guitar, emphasizing the country aspect, since country was a full fledged genre by 1972. “Take Good Care of My Baby” (Bobby Vee) is another crooning male vocalist single. The production is very echoy and as in the original, the music picks up after the intro. It is presented as the whiny sad rock ballad that Vee recorded, but mayhap not quite as whiny. “Nut Rocker” (B Bumble & The Stingers) is the rock version of the instrumental Nut Cracker with a quickened pace and near disco drum beat. “(Let me be your) Teddy Bear” (Elvis Presley) sounds more like the Blasters than Presley. The vocals are still trying to find their interpretation, if a little closer here; they still miss the mark, and come off, again, a little inebriated-sounding. But it was not as bad as the first song. “Let It Rock” (Chuck Berry) musically captures the Chuck Berry Rock N’ Roll insanity. The vocals are strained but in control for the most part. The bass and drum groove still illustrate original rn’r. “Breaking up is Hard to Do” (Neil Sedaka) feels like the Manhattan Transfer’s Do-Wha-Diddy. Again there are multiple vocals incorporated together making a complex musical landscape. And the bouncy groove is pretty standard. The song winds down with the repetitive non-sense hook repeating to fade-out.

The hits and standards are not really challenged here. They are not made Fumble’s own, rather they are honest and respected recreations of how the songs sound recorded to the best of their ability. There’s nothing wrong with this, except that it makes for a better wedding band, rather than an original act. The vocals are listenable and true; the music is accurate, and the vibe is energetic. Just go get the originals.

Stand-Out Track: Rave On

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