At The Racket - "Mirth Making Heroes" - RR003

At the Racket play unpretentious Irish music, with banjo, piano, saxophone, flute and guitar, with occasional bursts of fiddle and some vocal tracks, and a fine job they do of it too.

Their inspiration centres on the Irish-American recordings of the Flanagan Brothers in the 1930s, and, no doubt considerably to do with their use of the piano, they can produce that between-the-wars swing. It's the Jimmy Shand style that by the time of the Lloyd/MacColl folk revival we thought of as old hat, but in a historical context can be seen to be a ground-breaking fusion between the contemporary popular music and tunes of/or in the tradition.

They whack away at a medley of polka and reel named after the dominant tune 'Turkey in the Straw', the hornpipes of 'Where Would the World Be Without Women', or the military two-step 'Dancing Dustman', which is as reminiscent of the work of the New Victory Band as of anything specifically Irish.

Sometimes groups of this kind can go down a storm at festivals and ceilidhs and not translate elsewhere, but there is enough subtlety in their playing to make this a rewarding home alone experience as well.

Bob Harragan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 46 of The Living Tradition magazine.