A Review of the Hekety CD
"Furze Cat"

"Furze Cat"
by Hekety

(WildGoose Studios: WGS 319 CD)
Copyright: WildGoose Studios 2004.

This review was originally written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 8/04

This 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 and I know for music to appear that free, and still be that GOOD, well, a heck of a lot of rehearsal time must have been put in!)

Any caveats? Well, a piffling one, perhaps. If you suffer from migraines do not read the liner notes. Oh no, there is nothing headache-inducing in the words, per se: on the contrary, in the finest tradition of WildGoose, they are a cut above many of the liner notes produced by their competition.

No it's the current trendy habit of printing the words over art images. I think they think it adds some gravitas to the whole product. It doesn't.

Quite the opposite. It simply identifies believers in such nonsense as DUFFERS.

And as if to remind us, in the middle of the liner booklet we briefly see white words on a plain black background. Ah, bliss!

Oh, and I nearly forgot: there is one sweet moment in the liner notes. They refer to the origins of “Trip to the Observatory”. The notes say: “Gav wrote the first half of ‘Trip' at Richard & Jess's house, and Rich helped finish it off”.

Shades of “I was not complete until I got married, but now I am finished”?!

No, amusing though the double entendre is, there was no danger that “Trip to the Observatory” would fail to deliver. It, like the rest of the album, succeeds in sounding fresh and never delivers stale mental food to the listener.

Buy it in the UK from Proper Music Distribution www.proper.uk.com
Buy it in Europe from www.musikfolk.com
Buy it in North America from www.elderly.com

Dai Woosnam
Grimsby, England

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