The Pack
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The Pack
12 Little Devils
Selwyn Music (www.selwynmusic.co.uk)

This British dozen is just brimming over with youthful zeal and creative energy. They put fun and unexpected spins on traditional and original fiddle tunes from both sides of the Atlantic. The instrumentation is mostly fiddles, with a little brass and reed thrown in for color. With so many instruments, the sound has an orchestral quality that generally holds together pretty well. At times the intonation gets a little less than spot-on, especially when all of the fiddles play in unison. Then the effect is like an enthusiastic youth orchestra. While this sounds like an argument for paring down the line-up somewhat, it all comes off as endearing. The fact that they thank their "Mums and Dads" in the liner notes makes you want to hug them all. The great thing is that they refuse to take themselves seriously. There are a couple of hilarious songs on the disc that highlight the band's sense of humor. Each of the women in the group, none of whom has a powerhouse voice, gamely takes a turn on the innocently bawdy "The Football Match." They do a theatrical version of "The Devil," a story-song made famous by Charlie Daniels with his "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." The Pack incorporates the Scots tune "De'il Among the Tailors," known on this side of the pond as "Devil's Dream." Their version of this mini-drama has a lot more menace and humor and a lot less swagger than Daniels'. This band might be technically cleaner once they mature and settle down a bit, but one can only hope that they don't lose their reckless sense of fun. - Peggy Latkovich


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