Whapweasel - Pack of Jokers- CD
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cd cover Whapweasel
Pack of Jokers (self-produced and published)

The 2005 edition of English folk-rock dance band Whapweasel is as good as the last, Relentless, a stacked deck of guitars, horns, melodeons, keyboards, fiddles, cittern, bass and drums. Again produced by Steeleye Spanner Rick Kemp (whose guitar is also in the mix), and again feature all-original tunes, the 'weasels deal a trump hand that will get your feet moving and your head spinning.

   

Listen:
hanging off the edge
pedalo
pack of jokers

What the band has to say for themselves:
Whapweasel are no longer the best-kept secret on the English ceilidh-dance circuit. The word is out. After seven years of dignified obscurity, the Whaps were propelled into the limelight in 2003 when their third CD, Relentless, shifted wagonloads on the back of heavy national radio coverage, unanimously enthusiastic reviews nationwide and indeed worldwide ("Whapweasel slaagt er wonderwel in..." see Press Coverage page), and a series of triumphant gigs at the Sidmouth International Folk Festival. Relentless was featured on the prestigious fRoots Top Ten Playlist, and the band themselves were interviewed by fRoots editor Ian Anderson for the magazine's August issue. Further critical acclaim came at the end of the year with their inclusion in Mojo's list of Best Folk CDs of 2003, and their nomination for the Horizon Award (Best New Act) in the annual Radio Two Folk Awards the only dance band shortlisted in any category.

Not bad for a band that started out as two melodeon players. Robin Jowett and Brian Bell decided in the mid-Nineties that the world was ready for another electric ceilidh band. Needing a rhythm section, Brian switched to bass, and in due course drums, guitars and cittern were added. At this point they adopted the name Whapweasel, taken from a small stream that flows quietly through Hexham Low Quarter in mid-Northumberland; their previous name scores highly in pub quizzes throughout the North of England. In 1998, with a line-up of Robin, Brian, Dave Ainsley, Mike Coleman and Bob Wilson, they recorded their first CD, Skirl Naked, and made a second, Burn, two years later, by which time the band sound had been augmented by a saxophone section ("The Toots") comprising Stuart Finden and Fiona Littlewood. The addition of brass further accentuated the band's adroit use of elements of jazz and ska. Both CDs had been produced by Steeleye Span's Rick Kemp; and in the course of recording Relentless in 2003 Rick added some stinging electric guitar, plugging the gaps left by Dave Ainsley, who had withdrawn from gigging earlier in the year. Rick was thereupon added to the line-up by (rumour has it) mutual agreement. Also joining the line-up at the time of recording was Brian's daughter Heather on keyboards.

Whapweasel are first and foremost a dance band, but they're likely to be in increasing demand on the concert circuit, and are busy developing pieces designed as much for listening as for dancing (though they have devised a way for audiences to dance while remaining seated; experts are baffled...). Meanwhile, hang on to your hats: the Mighty Wind of Whap is heading your way...

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