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Bazimakoo by Dante Ferrara

Purcell, Blow, Playford, Isum,Ellis, Jackson, Savile et al – the ‘Restoration Rat Pack’

Dante Ferrara (voices and antique instruments)

Gargantua Records GRGCD 07055

Bazimakoo (Shakespearean franglais), Dante Ferrara's latest CD, offers earthy humour from the Catch Club which met in 1690s London to sing bawdy song (sometimes sexual, sometimes lavatorial) whilst consuming as much beer as possible. It is, you won't quickly believe, a one-man show, but with technical backing by a gifted team, both artistically and historically expert. The first hint that it was something exceptional came before opening the envelope, addressed in beautiful calligraphy that has well nigh disappeared (the calligrapher is included in the credits) ! *

Dante Ferrara sings all the parts (over-dubbed) and plays an array of accompanying instruments, all identified and desribed in the scholarly notes. There are a renaissance-style cittern, hurdy-gurdy, Milanese mandolin, English guittar, bass colascione and Jew's harp, and lusty sounds they make in combination and with percussion (which I guess Ferrara plays with his feet...). * Between the songs, which betray their dirty jokes by an interlocking device which reveals double entendre, there are accomplished performances of instrumental dance tunes, some of which perhaps go on too long?

Do not expect Purcell or Blow at their greatest ! The main content and raison d'etre of this entertainment is a selection of 'catches' which were popular in the Restoration after the cultural aridity of England under the Puritans.

It's all clean dirty fun and the CD deserves success with a wide range of collectors.

This disc satisfies my first criterion when review copies arrive for consideration; uniquity of one type or another. It is not possible for us to cover more than a few of the numerous proliferating re-recordings of the standard 'canon' however justifiably the newcomer seeks to make his/her mark.

Good quality performance and recording are the next essentials, but real care with presentation is really of equal importance, and that is thought through in every dimension here. All in all (however you rate the music itself) Bazimakoo is a benchmark CD with which I shall assess many others which are, not rarely, perfunctory in consideration of presentation of the background.

Track details are supplied below and the full texts on .pdf can be printed out from the website, at which the disc can be purchased on line.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Track list:

1. Five reasons 2. To thee 3. Chaconne 4. Colin 5. Julia 6. Celia 7. Ground 8. The wager 9. Ham House & two minuets 10. Had she not care enough 11. Tis women makes us love 12. When wives do hate 13. A woman that's buxom 14. Once in our lives 15. Suite of marches 16. Here lies a woman 17. Here dwells a pretty maid 18. Take a pound of butter 19. The miller's daughter 20. Cittern medley 21. Sir Walter 22. From twenty to thirty 23. The midnight cats 24.La queue du chat 25. Women a-gossiping 26. Tom the tailor 27. Cittern medley 28. My Lady's coachman John 29. Canzona/I rise at eleven 30. Pox on you 31. The jolly brown turd 32. Three hornpipes 33. Good Master Bacchus

*Correction: I learn that the handwriting above is Dante Ferrara's usual own; his "real calligrapher" is Tim Donaldson.PGW

P.S. Also recommended Rosasolis GRG CD01022, featuring the Opharion
Dante Ferrara with multi-instrumentalist Michael Sargeant, recorded at Multitrack Studios, University of Liverpool
"we see that even in the Open Aire, the Wire String is sweeter than the String of Guts" (Francis Bacon)