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They in fact aren't out of bed on the CD cover, but I won't spoil it for you -see for yourself. I was going to refer to them as the Cheeky Girls of folk, but that might give readers who haven't seen them the wrong idea. Certainly there aren't silver hot pants involved, but nevertheless there is cheek aplenty in live performance, and their irreverence is borne out here with a few deft touches such as the inclusion - alongside the usual 'thanks to' acknowledgements - of a 'no thanks to' list.

All this is good crack, but the real strength of the WitcheS lies in their singing. They are four young women who deliver excellent unaccompanied harmony singing, which is reminiscent of the heyday of groups such as the Young Tradition, Cockersdale etc. They aren't on any nostalgia trip though and offer fresh but never gimmicky arrangements on such durable trad items as 'Lord Randal','The Blue Cockade' and 'Maids at 18', alongside Peter Bellamy's 'Soldier Soldier'(a particularly convincing performance where Bryony takes the lead) and Lal and Mike Waterson's 'The Scarecrow'. Gravitas, guts and good times - that's the WitcheS, and that's what the CD captures, and is all the more welcome because of the relative dearth of such groups on today's scene.

Hector Christie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 54 of The Living Tradition magazine.