York-based four piece Rakish comprise Paul Davis (piano, hurdy gurdy, whistle), Dan Hands (fiddle), Kirsten Mercer (vocals) together with former member of Blackbeard’s Tea Party Paul Young (guitar).
This eponymous first release is very good value for an EP, indeed with six tracks it’s almost the length of a short album. The material comprises well known songs, such as Blackleg Miner and Spanish Lady, given a fresh and engaging feel with some original arrangements. The band gel together very well indeed and a vibrant sense of fun pervades the music.
Queen of all Argyll is the standout track with some lovely vocals from Kirsten Mercer, while Spanish Lady has a fast paced fiddle-based introduction that really gets the feet moving.
Tom Paine’s Bones again has strong vocals paired well with the fiddle, while A Blacksmith Courted Me sets a more contemplative and melancholy tone.
Maid of Coolmore is perhaps a little anonymous in comparison to the other excellent work, but the final track, Blackleg Miner hits back with a vibrant fiddle and guitar introduction leading into a well balanced vocal duet. An excellent debut.Mike Hough
1. Queen of All Argyll / Martin Wynne’s no.2
2. Spanish Lady / Pur the Orangutan
3. Tom Paine’s Bones / Malthouse Hornpipe
4. Maid of Coolmore / Tom Clark’s Trip to Russia
5. A Blacksmith Courted Me / Jop Pippery
6. Blackleg Miner / Lads of Laois