RareTreats is a four piece multi vocal, multi instrumental band that enjoys performing close to the audience in a true folk tradition. Instruments include keyboard, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, suitcase percussion, banjo mandolin, kazoos and four part harmonies.
These experienced folk legends have come together over the past three years bringing their varied backgrounds, skills and talent together to present some of their original material from their recently released CD and some not so well known uncovered great music put together as a rare treat for listeners.
Recently gaining 2nd prize in the National Folk Festival’s Infinite Song Competition, there’ll be some political content, some with a bit of humour and some that will make you cry.
So if you come along to one our live performances, bring your emotions with you and prepare to join in on some of those simple choruses or to pick up a percussion instrument and help keep the beat.
Most of all however, come prepared to enjoy yourself!
CD review by Tony Smith
This is good humoured blues music featuring Trad & Now’s very own Cec Bucello.
He plays guitar and percussion and sings lead on a few tracks, notably ‘Refugee Blues’ and ‘Fancy Latin Dancer’ and sings harmony on all the others.
He also does a bit of percussion while the percussionist is singing and playing mandolin, as the recordings are all single performances, live to a single stereo mic.
Other members of the ensemble are Terry Carlan, who plays percussion and mandolin and sings on more than half the eleven tracks.
Carlan has writing credits for seven songs.
Greg Frohlich plays keyboard and sings, while Trudy Van Laar sings and adds ukulele.
Jeff Browne also receives credit for ‘Old Brown River’.
While all the songs are originals, most tunes on this album are arrangements by the band members of well known blues riffs.
The popularity of these settings makes for easy listening.
‘Dial 63789’ is a whimsical opening track.
‘I Think This Is Love’ has fine harmonies and the keyboard – piano – backing is good and clear.
This Carlan track echoes some of the teen idols of the 1950s, especially the Everly Brothers.
‘Little Town’ is just a place where two roads meet.
The percussion here is suggestive of reggae style.
While nothing ever happens in this town, the place has managed to inspire a very interesting song.
‘Fancy Latin Dancer’ is an amusing piece about the gap between aspirations and reality.
It is in the style of the mariachi band complete with rolls on the guitar, keyboard providing brass effects and cries of laughter and ‘Arriba!’
‘Try It Again’ is a honky-tonk blues with echoes of the skiffle band style of the opening track.
‘At the Edge of the World’ certainly has an outdoors road feel about it.
There could be some REM influence here.
‘Let the Skin Begin’ is a soul song, especially with the keys playing organ sounds.
‘Magic Embrace’ is perhaps the most wistful track on the album.
‘Old Brown River’ has interesting pauses, demonstrating RareTreats’ control of their music.
‘Refugee Blues’ has some excellent lyrics but much of the time the mix means that the voices are overwhelmed by the instruments.
The signature tune ‘Rare Treats Are Back in Town’ is a good note on which to finish this album.
Ukulele sets this tune up very nicely for a direct appeal to an audience of a certain age.
I am sure I have made the point many times but this is an album showing how much the ensemble members are enjoying playing music with one another.
This makes the album infectious and the audience good willed and happy.
The old cliché about leaving them wanting more applies here.
RareTreats play in a style that makes you want more.
The grey in the beards of Bucello, Frohlich and Carlan suggests that RareTreats are of a certain generation and that the tunes in On the Streets are directed towards people of similar age.
Late baby-boomers grew up with huge riches in popular music and these pieces carry a certain degree of nostalgia value.
People of this age enjoy themselves so thoroughly that the pleasure is infectious.