Revelling Crooks
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Revelling Crooks
From Heaven into Hell
Weltwunder (

cd cover "Klezmer_country_balkan_folk" is how the Crooks describe their music, played energetically with banjo, mandolin, guitars, violin, accordion, bass and drums. The closest musical analogy might be the Pogues in their heyday, perhaps with a touch of klezmer. The notes refer to a fusion of punk, ska and rock 'n roll sung in a mix of English, Russian, Jewish and German. But the truth is that the Revelling Crooks create their own musical universe where they play cool hillbilly music, energetic and happy-depressed music, road songs for escapees on trains and protest songs revolving around beer. Worth noting are their many expertly arranged cover versions. Among them, "Gypsy Girl," (formerly Alexandra's "Gypsy Boy"), a Roma song from Serbia ("Bubamara"), a Paul Dessau arrangement of a Bertolt Brecht story ("The Countess") or the Shakespeare- inspired "Seventy Six," a sonnet about writing about writer's block.

The main influences are the Jewish and the Roma music and that is surely one potent mix. Still, Belle and Sebastian, Irish songs, Jean Ritchie, Italian Spaghetti Western melodies all find their way to the welcoming arms of the Crooks.

But let's not get too analytical; this is first and foremost dance party music and it performs this noble act majestically. Prepare for some serious sweating and general calorie burning once this is on.

The spirit of bonhomie that is at the core of this recording works perfectly. Their own songs are as good as their cover versions and arrangements of traditional tunes. Look out for this German surprise, which may very well be this year's answer to The Warsaw Village Band or Oi Va Voi. - Nondas Kitsos The band's web site:

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