Rapskallion – One Up for the Little Man


CD Review by Tony Smith

The CD cover images of Rapskallion’s members show the kind of ensemble they are, cheeky, rebellious, fun-loving and unorthodox.

The list of instruments they play establishes the roots of their music in klezmer, tango, gypsy swing, and cabaret.

Fingal Capaldi features on vocals, accordion and guitar.

Sara Yael supplies voice, melodica and bells.

Jeremy McNaughton switches from chromatic button accordion and vocals to guitar and pan pipes.

Carmen O’Brien plays violin and baglama and sings.

Greg Craske is there with double bass and vocals.

Dan Grieg plays drums and banjo and sings.

Paul Winter plays clarinet and saxophone.

Magdalene Baines supplies the hip hop rhyme in ‘Taint Me’.

The first track is an ear worm ‘Never Turn Your Back on the Sea’, likewise never turn your back on me.

The song showcases many of the ensemble’s special skills, soaring clarinet, gurgling pan pies, the voice of the violin, and features a seamless change of tempo towards the end.

‘Ginger Bread Man’ has a traditional klezmer feel with accordion, clarinet and violin again carrying the melody.

The song is about the eternal optimist, the perpetual smiler, who one day will be ‘eaten’ – ‘to all the other bikkies you are nothing but a clown’.

‘Tango’ features those pauses that characterise the genre and also some remarrrrrrrrrrkable tongue rolls.

‘Night of dreaming, pure love and romance’.

There is a yearning in ‘Over the Sea’ where someone is waiting for me … under the stars back to the land of my heart.

‘Magpie’ is an analogy for life – all the things the magpie stole but he’ll never fill that hole.

This track understandably has some mellifluous clarinet.

‘Black Coffee’ is in jazz style with bass opening and some evocative saxophone.

The drums, elsewhere somewhat dominant, are at their subtle best here.

In ‘Lemons at the Door’ an old lady left some lemons at my door like leaving a penny in the pot of the poor.

She remembers when she was young and gypsies came to town.

The CD booklet presents a few issues.

The lyrics are basic, sometimes seeming like the first rhyme that comes to mind, but in the singing they serve the music well.

The lyrics sheet however, needs a serious edit to eliminate typos.

There are no issues with the music itself.

The clarinet, fiddle. voices and accordion on this CD are exceptional.

So too is the ensemble work that combines the players to produces the klezmer sound.

The final song and title track ‘One Up for the Little Man’ brings a complete change of style with simple mandolin and fiddle.

‘Hats off to you little man doing the best that you can’.

It is an appropriate thought on which to finish.

2 in stock (can be backordered)

SKU: TN1715-11 Category:

Additional information

Weight .200 kg
Dimensions 21 × 15 × 1.0 cm


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