“Before I heard Earthly Joys, I wasn’t sure how well Rapsquillion’s irresistible charm in a live session or workshop would transfer to CD. But it works very well, regaining their vocal depth and dynamic subtlety. The group’s many fans will certainly not be disappointed, and I suspect that the CD will make them more than a few more fans.” David Harley, Folking.com
“‘Broadside Man’ and ‘Time Ashore’ – I like them both very much – interesting, original and well-performed arrangements” John Connolly
Onwards and upwards (in years at least), Rapsquillion continue to hang around on street corners with attitude, wearing red and hurling four-part harmonies at unsuspecting passers-by. They stalk the Welsh Marches with their eclectic mix of songs that range from medieval love ballads, through Breton folk tunes to contemporary songs of social comment.
This latest collection sees the band mixing seemingly disparate elements into original and creative performances. Add to that the group’s easygoing comfort in their own skin, the rich harmonies for which Rapsquillion are renowned, throw in some truly awful puns and what you get is a unique evening of musical entertainment.
Trevor Hedges -vocals, guitar
Kay Hedges -vocals, flute
Jenny Wright -vocals, recorder
Dave Wright -vocals, harmonica
Andy Ketchen -vocals, guitar, concertina
Sue Lawrence -vocals, flute, violin
Nancy Ketchen -vocals, bodhran
Thanks also to Susie Stockton-Link (lead vocals, track 6) and Jon Bell (concertina, track 10)
‘Earthly Joys’ was recorded, mixed and mastered by Paul Cobbold in Hereford, October-December 2016.
The classic anti-apartheid anthem from South Africa is so much a part of our repertoire that, even when we leave it out of a set, we still find that we have sung it by the end of the evening. Spooky!
- The Broadside Man (Connolly/Meek)
The bustle of the eighteenth century city streets and the cries of the broadside sellers hustling for business with their lurid tales of scandal and disaster are brilliantly brought to life in this colourful recreation.
- Street Calls (Ravenscroft) / Sea Coal (Miles)Graeme Miles’ memorable song is based around the cries of the coal seller who painstakingly collects bits of coal washed up on the beach in order to scratch a living. We have added it to a medley of other street calls, taken from the round composed by Thomas Ravenscroft in 1609 – an Elizabethan sales jingle!
- Raffa (Ketchen)
Based on an old anecdote from Hyssington in the Welsh borders this story describes the special relationship that can develop between corvids and humans. Featuring the gorgeous Rapsquillettes!
- King Cotton (Harding)
The hardship of life in the nineteenth century mill towns of Lancashire is vividly brought to life here in Mike Harding’s heartfelt description.
- Ar Gyfer Heddiw’r Bore
This plygain carol from Denbighshire is still a firm Xmas favourite in the area. Please forgive our accents. Trevor is still putting his teeth back in.
- John Barleycorn
The story of John Barleycorn is one of the staples of the British folk tradition. This version has one of our favourite choruses.
- An Dro St Patrick / An Dro Pharaoh
Who doesn’t have their favourite memories of holidays in France? We all do. These two classic Breton dance tunes bring summers of sun and Sauvignon Blanc flooding back.
- The Lyke Wake Dirge
Dating from medieval times this unsettling atmospheric song is saying “be generous to the poor or you’ll regret it when your time comes”. In those days acts of common humanity were often the only buffer between hard times and death, a situation libertarian politicians are working hard to recreate.
- Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmates
This traditional shanty, made famous in Master and Commander, has just the sort of jaunty chorus that Rapsquillion like to get their teeth into. A real belter.
- Quand Je Bois
They are all drinking. They are all talking over each other. They are all French. So what did you expect? This beguiling arrangement is followed by Gilles Chabenat’s classic bourrée La Poule Huppée.
- Singing Out The Days (Chumbawumba)
A reminder, if we needed it, that war isn’t the great adventure it’s cracked up to be – just frightened young men who want their mums. This song bridges the personal and the political.
- Time Ashore Is Over (Meek, arr. Rapsquillion)
The effects that long periods at sea are having on a trawlerman’s marriage have been dealt with in both male and female versions of this song. We have merged the two into a dialogue. Get your hankies out.
- Unison In Harmony (Boyes)
Fill your lungs, gyrate your tonsils, open your mouth and let rip. You’ll feel a lot better for it.
Thanks to all the friends who’ve encouraged, supported and helped us over the years. It’s a cliché, but we couldn’t have made ‘Earthly Joys’ without you – nor would we have wanted to. Love from us…