Switter Swatter

Oxford Waits

CD only BEJOCD-44

 

A lusty romp through the 17th-century tradition, with a repertoire that extends from bawdy street ballads to Playford dances and Purcell rounds.

Superb singing voices are matched by instrumentation that includes lute, fiddle, smallpipes, pipe and tabor, shawm, orpharion and hurdy-gurdy.
Here is early music played with all the zest of a contemporary folk band and - with 29 tracks and over 60 minutes of playing time - a very generous offering.

What the critics have said...
If the sometimes cheeky songs and dance tunes of 17th-century England are your cup of tea, then the period quintet called The Oxford Waits is what you're looking after. Switter Swatter takes it's name from a phrase in the very politically incorrect, but delightfully salacious, round 'Sir Walter Enjoying his Damsel' which, along with the 1660s song 'The Ranting Whore's Resolution' that comes three tracks later, demonstrates that folks got right to the point in those days. These randy but good-natured songs and broadside ballads are thankfully sung in natural voices with minimal 'early music' affectation. The group also offers contemporaneous dance tunes from the Playford collections, like Stanes Morris and Mayden Lane, enthusiastically rendered on combinations of shawm, smallpipes, fiddle, lute, hurdy-gurdy and more.
Tom Nelligan, Dirty Linen (USA)

'There's a perfect consonance between style and form, inspiration and contents... an album of rare beauty'
L'Ovadese (Italy)

'English band Oxford Waits digs up some of the best pop music of the 17th and 18th centuries, reminding us once again that bawdy lyrics are nothing new... All folk albums should be this much fucking fun.'
Sing Out! (USA)

'All dispatched briskly and with gusto - none of the 'classical' early-music group preciousness here... If you're interested in the type of music that captivated Samuel Pepys and saw him regularly hurrying to buy armfuls of broadside ballads, and enjoy the bawdy, this album will not disappoint.'
Paul Burgess, The Living Tradition

Their first album surveyed Christmas Past; this follow-up takes a broader look at 16th and 17th century popular song and dance music with particular emphasis on bawdy balladry - all performed with appropriate enthusiasm and commitment. The best singing is by Caroline Butler, but the group singing is also very effective both in round and in harmony. It is clear that a lot of efforts have been put into the research as well as the arrangements and performance. The sources of the songs are various with a large proportion culled 'Pills to Purge Melancholy'. The tunes that effectively intersperse the songs are mainly taken from Playford documents and the instrumentation is very interesting encompassing hurdy-gurdy, lute, shawn and other period instruments that give clues to what these familiar tunes might have sounded like at that time.
Vic Smith, THE FOLK DIARY

'A panoramic view of 16th and 17th century popular music. In a similar vein to Hey for Christmas which I had the pleasure of reviewing a couple of Christmas's ago, the group have likewise put a lot of effort into researching this material which has been carefully and excitingly arranged and performed on instruments evocative of the period, such as the hurdy-gurdy, shawm and lute. The songs, which often lean towards the bawdy, are presented in a spirited manner, whilst the blend of voices is ideally suited to the choral examples, especially the round by Purcell "Sir Walter Enjoying his Damsel" which gives the CD its title. The tunes, many of which have been taken from Playford's Dancing Master, and the balance between song and instrumental, have been considered with care to provide an enjoyable period piece.'
Brian Cope, Folk London

Track Listing
1 Portsmouth/ Newcastle
2 'Sir Walter Enjoying his Damsel'
3 The Beggar's Chorus
4 Stanes Morris
5 The Ranting Whore's Resolution
6 'Remember O thou Man'
7 Oxford Waits
8 The Lusty Young Blacksmith/ Mal Peatly
9 The Poore Man Payes For All
10 Alman
11 Cavy Lillyman/ Sawney and Jockey
12 Pillycock
13 Mayden Lane
14 The Doleful Dance, and Song of Death
15 Belle qui Tiens ma Vie/ Parson upon Dorothy/ Hunting Song
16 Had She Not Care Enough
17 Put in All/ Childgrove
18 Joan's Ale is New
19 Stingo/ Bobbing Joe
20 'Good Morrow 'tis St Valentine's Day'
21 The Maiden's Complaint
22 Argeers, or the Wedding Night
23 Christchurch Bells
24 Duke of York's March/ The Garter
25 The Comical Dreamer
26 'Gather ye Rosebuds'
27 A Rebus upon Mr Anthony Hall
28 'Whether Men do Laugh or Weep'
29 A New Rigadoon

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