RAKISH – Rakish (OWN LABEL)

RakishSometimes you hear something so fresh that it makes you stop and think about the music. So it is with Rakish who make their recording debut with this mini-album: six tracks, each combining a song and a tune. At first glance I thought they might be Scottish, probably taken in by the opening ‘Queen Of All Argyll/Martin Wynne’s No.2’ with its delicate piano and fiddle intro, but Rakish are from York and are members or former members of a number of bands including Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Steam Radio and Fiddlers Wreck – a wealth of experience.

At a time when the fashion seems to be for over-complicating traditional music it’s good to catch sight of the fundamentals. Rakish do that. The songs are generally well-known – in the case of ‘Spanish Lady’ you might say over-familiar – but the tunes less so. Paul Davies plays the piano continuo well-known in Scotland, Dan Hands has a light touch on the fiddle, Paul Young provides the foundation with guitar and melodeon and lead vocalist Kirsten Mercer plays flugel horn but not often enough.

There isn’t a bad track. A bright and jaunty ‘Spanish Lady’ is paired with John McCusker’s ‘Pur The Orangutan’ and the melding of ‘Tom Paine’s Bones’ with a set of hornpipes is particularly good. In fact, the only thing lacking is another six tracks.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website: facebook


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