Blues In Britain Review
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.
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 Allen. 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 (usually) 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
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.
STOMPIN' DAVE'S ELECTRIC BAND
Live At The RPA
Maverick Magazine (March 2011)
Stellar performances by all involved. To use the word ‘extraordinary’ about the British talent which comes in the form of Stompin’ Dave would be the understatement of the century. Joined here by Graham Bundy on drums and Chris Lonergan on bass, the sound which this trio creates is something I recommend to many having personally seen this band perform before to a packed house at the 2010 Southsea Folk & Roots Festival.
Recorded live at both the Royal Portland Arms and the Ship in Dorset, it always strikes me that no matter what recording is released under the name of this band, the album does not last nearly as long enough as it should do. One tune in particular which personifies this quality perfectly is Matchbox. A cover of the well-known Carl Perkins song, it is a rendition which I’m sure the great man wouldn’t have objected to being around. Stompin’ Dave’s harmonica sets the track alight and it is a damn fine tune to bop along to.
The opening track of the album, Stranger Blues, also impresses. With a smooth-as-silk beginning, Stompin’ Dave’s harmonica is more than capable of running the show by itself. It sets the record up so well that it gives a clear indication of the musical ecstasy the audience’s ears will soon be experiencing. A cracker of an album once more; I raise my hat to this band for music like this can only be met with rapturous applause.
STOMPIN' DAVE'S ELECTRIC BAND
Live At The RPA
Blues In Britain (May 2010)
The RPA is the Royal Portland Arms in Dorset (although one track was recorded at The Ship in Upwey, a few miles up the road). Stompin’ Dave Allen has graced these pages before but for newbies, he sings, plays guitar, banjo, fiddle, piano and harmonica - and tap dances too! Here he restricts himself to vocals, electric guitar & harmonica, accompanied by Grahma Bundy on drums and Chris Lonergan on bass.
There is a strong DIY feel about this project. Simple direct cover artwork hints at the musical content, which is straightforward three-chord blues. Dave’s approach owes much to the folk tradition with its backroom, homemade atmosphere.
That’s not to say he’s not worthy of your attention, though. On the contary, he goes for it with the fire and enthusiasm of a bi-polar wizard who’s just discovered a new book of spells. His licks and solos are mainly fast and ambitious. So what if occasionally he doesn’t quite pull off a particulary frantic phrase? He’s never afraid to try and the evidence is here. No overdubs or digital manipulation for Stompin’ Dave! The tracks are mainly medium or up-tempo, with the only the original “Ain’t No Reason” and the cover of “Mother Earth” taking a relaxed pace. “What Am I Supposed To Do?” recalls early John Lee Hooker, setting up a vamp and letting it lead where it may. A homegrown original. Rating 7 - Kit Packman
STOMPIN' DAVE & DAVE SAUNDERS
Maverick Magazine (Jan 2010)
I don't know how he does it but Stompin' Dave strikes gold once more. There is something marvellous about Stompin' Dave having the ability to play the guitar, harmonica, banjo, and slide guitar whilst tap dancing at the same time is a skill which not many others around the world possess other than him. He is from Dorset but he has played all over the world including this years Maverick Festival in Suffolk and the National Banjo and Guitar Championships at The Walnut Valley Festival in Kansas. Stompin' Dave also plays around a dozen gigs every month, which I'm sure are brilliant.
Although there isn't much tap dancing here, what this album demonstrates is his remarkable ability to play his trade on a number of instruments whilst being ably assisted by Dave Saunders on guitar (who is also a member of Stompin' Dave's Electric Band alongside Graham V. Bundy) There is an astonishing fifteen songs which sees traditional tunes being played to perfection alongside Stompin' Dave's own compositions. Leiber & Stollers Kansas City Blues is given a distinctive treatment as Stompin' Dave brings a country feel to this otherwise rock roll tune.
It is the banjo playing which made me sit up and pay further attention as it shows his evolution into perhaps the finest banjo picker of his generation. The guitar work by Dave Saunders also impresses as it more than matches the banjo picking. Like it's title suggests, Sliding South includes in it's short duration a lot of slide guitar which again impresses. This isn't your simple picking here, but complex material performed with such ease that it makes other look on with envy due to the smooth and perfect way in which this track is played.
Although I didn't think it was possible Stompin' Dave keeps getting better with the release of one record after another. His hectic gig schedule is something to check out, for if you haven't seen him perform already on a you really are missing out on a spectacular artist - one of the world's best.
STOMPIN' DAVE & DAVE SAUNDERS
Blues Matters (Oct/Nov 2010)
Stompin' Dave is nothing if not hard working and prolific and should be well known to readers of this mag for reviews of his CDs and many live gigs on the south coast.
For his latest project he is accompanied on acoustic guitar by stalwart Dave Saunders from The Producers. The album opens with 'There's Still Some Wonder' which is unusually restrained for Dave being a beautiful ballad featuring double tracked vocals and a pretty slide guitar riff. Next up is the fiddle powered instrumental 'Carrol County Blues' with DS, as ever, providing an acoustic guitar backdrop. There are a number of old favourites here and Jimmy Reed's 'Baby What You Want Me To Do' is given a sprightly seeing to complete with harmonica fills.
Dave is an accomplished player of many instruments and 'The Victim' features banjo enjoyed this one. A cover of Muddy Water's 'You're gonna miss me' features driving slide guitar and then Dave switches back to fiddle for a lively romp through the instrumental 'Salty Dog'. If you've seen this man perform live then you'll know that he never lets up and happily his enthusiastic approach is all over this highly enjoyable album. The self penned 'Must Of Been An Angel' finds Dave back on banjo(actually its on guitar) which is also featured on a speedy and highly original cover of 'Going Upside Your Head'.
The pace is relentless and the instrumental 'Sliding South' features chiming guitar. 'Pig Ankle Rag' is a traditional fiddle piece with fine bowing and scraping form Dave. The old Lieber/Stoller favourite 'Kansas City Blues' is turned into a banjo fuelled country blues stomp and then the pace drops for 'Corina, Corina' The traditional 'Jackson Stomp' does what it says on the tin, before a full frontal attack on 'Big Black Train' closes out a fine album. The man's enthusiasm is infectious and his live shows sometimes border on the manic and he generates enough energy to light up any gig. Go and see him and then buy this album to take home with you.
One Foot Across The PondMaverick Magazine (July 2010)
(5 stars out of 5)
Awe-inspiring album from one of the world’s great performers. I simply do not know how he does it, but Stompin’ Dave has the remarkable ability of being able to play the guitar, banjo or fiddle whilst tap dancing and singing at the same time. This nineteen-track collection is outrageously brilliant and doesn’t it let its guard down at any time.
Astonishingly all instruments are played by Stompin’ Dave; the dancing and fiddling is just too good to be believed. Every note is hit in tune and percussive shuffles made to time which demonstrates what an excellent act he is to see live. His multi-skills are highly evident on songs like Double File. The concluding tune, My Own Home Waltz is an incredible way to end this album. It possesses some expert fiddling and is a tune which I hope to see performed live in the not too distant future.
This is an album that I have listened to time after time and is something I suspect many others will do as well. With appearances coming up at the Maverick Festival in July, Glastonbury and the Southsea Folk & Roots Festival in August along with performing at the National Banjo & Guitar Championships at the Walnut Valley Festival in Kansas in to several UK gigs every month, I cannot recommend Stompin’ Dave too highly. RH