Derek Gifford of Folk Northwest
reviews Sounding Now by The ClaqueThe Claque comprise of Dave Lowry, Barry Lister (both sang with Isca Fair over 30 years ago!), Tom Addison (ex Songwainer member 30 years ago!) and Sean O'Shea (who sang with Barry in Hollinmor 30 years ago!) As you can see from my remarks in parenthesis they're all 'mature' seasoned performers! Their maturity and experience comes through too in this excellent recording by Doug Bailey at Wild Goose.
All the songs are a cappella and arranged with some splendid four part harmonies. Although they only finally got together as a group a couple of years ago their voices blend very well both in terms of timing and harmony.
The list of songs contains versions of some well known ones including The Devil's Questions, to a tune written by Sean, Drink, Puppy Drink, Tom of Bedlam and The Miller and His Three Sons.
Less well known are Devoran Smugglers, a Devonian song as the title implies, Once a Farmer learned from Dave Robbins and The Goose and the Common which the late Martin Bloomer put together from original verse. The song I found most interesting however was Salt Horse (yes it's a sea song, of course!) which tells of the practice of selling horse meat to sailors.
If you like unaccompanied four part harmony singing of interesting songs then I strongly recommend this CD; if you are a little reluctant then I would still suggest you push the boat out and get it as you will be hard pushed to find a better sound.
'And where did the name of the group come from?', I hear you ask. Well, Claque (prononunced 'Klak') is 'an institution for securing the success of a public performance by bestowing upon it preconcerted applause' ... no I didn't look it up, it's in the sleeve notes!
So that explains the tumultuous applause at the end of this recording! Available from Wild Goose or through Proper Music Distribution.