Dai Woosnam of Dai Woosnam
reviews Furze Cat by HeketyThis is the debut album from a five-piece ceilidh band, based in the Sheffield area of Northern England. Three of the five members also make up three-quarters of the complement of Crucible: a band that has established itself on the UK folk scene, and are rapidly gaining a justified reputation for delivering quality product.
My TLT colleague Gordon Potts says in his thoughtful liner notes that Hekety “believe that if the music isn’t good enough and interesting enough to sit and listen to, [then] why should anybody want to dance to it?” A sound point, methinks.
And trust me, speaking as someone with two left feet, this CD happily withstands repeated plays. The tunes are mainly penned by band members, but there is the occasional traditional piece included. The band play with real brio, and can clearly master their instruments. Just as with the Crucible CD, I found myself hoping for a vocal track to add that bit of chiaroscuro to the whole thing: I take the old-fashioned view that the “singing voice” is an instrument too.
But it was not to be.
However, that said, there was a good deal of variety in the choice of material, and this time (unlike with Crucible) we had a fifth member: and one who most assuredly was NOT a “fifth wheel on a wagon! I refer to clarinettist Jo Veal.
Had Gordon Potts not told us in his notes that Jo’s “other music is that of the low caste Jewish travelling musicians, the Klezmorim”, one could have immediately guessed. The sheer demented SWING of the girl was quite exhilarating: it sounded like she had been told by the others that no, she could not play a turbo-charged version of “Oi Tate!”, and so, in an effort to get even, she subversively weaved the klezmer sound into all of her contributions on this album.
And by golly, isn’t the album all the better for it.
I think I can recommend this CD to all folkies (whether dancers or not) who appreciate fine musicianship that gives the appearance of true spontaneity (even though you a