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Track(s) taken from CDA67754

The Cheaters Cheated

Royal Arbor of Loyal Poesie, 1664
author of text

The City Waites, Lucie Skeaping (director)
Recording details: April 2008
St Paul's Church, New Southgate, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Steve Portnoi & Lucie Skeaping
Engineered by Steve Portnoi
Release date: April 2009
Total duration: 34 minutes 18 seconds

Cover artwork: Bedroom scene by Jan Steen (c1626-1679)
Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Lucie Skeaping and The City Waites have given us several anthologies worth of enjoyably ribald fare over the years. This is their most substantial project yet … the listener becomes an active participant, imagining the décor, the costumes and attitudes of the characters, and the frequent bouts of slapstick, all of which are enacted as lustily as one expects … great performances, without doubt' (Gramophone)

'These performers … provide a fascinating, informative glimpse into what the general populace of England was enjoying … the singing and instrumental performances are as genially accomplished as ever … skeaping and the Waites let in a bracing breeze' (BBC Music Magazine)

'A truly unusual program of musical comedy all recorded for the first time … these are excellent performances' (American Record Guide)

'Clarity of diction, inventive direction and an infectious sense of fun combine to capture the spirit of the genre' (Early Music Today)

'This is definitely a disc to keep in your car for frustrating traffic-jams or other such moments when a little hilarity would be the perfect tonic. After all, who wouldn't be cheered at the prospect of hearing Catherine Bott and Lucie Skeaping scratching each others eyes out. Laugh? I couldn't stop' (Musical Criticism.com)
This Jig, by London’s leading pageant poet Thomas Jordan (c1614–1685), is printed in his Royal Arbor of Loyal Poesie (1664) and was given at London’s Mansion House to ‘the Sheriffs of London’. We don’t know the date of performance but it probably did not long precede the date of publication since Jordan’s activities for the city (as Poet Laureate) began with the fall of the Commonwealth. Wat’s words are printed in a comic West Country accent: ‘z’ instead of ‘s’, ‘v’ for ‘f’, ‘ch’ for ‘I’ etc. No tune titles are given.

Nim and Filcher, thieves
Wat, a country bumpkin
Moll Medlar, a whore

Nim and Filch complain about hard times and are delighted to come across Wat, newly arrived in town. Distracting him with a glass prism, they pick his pockets but find nothing of value (he has wisely sewn his cash inside his shirt). Moll flirts with Wat and while they dance she tricks him into taking her basket and then disappears. Shocked to find it contains a baby, and keen to palm it off on the thieves, Wat puts the baby into a trunk and, knowing the thieves are listening, boasts it contains fine clothes. As he anticipates, the thieves pounce and steal the trunk. They fight over it, the baby is revealed and Moll declares Filch is the father. All three vow to turn over a new leaf. Wat has indeed cheated the cheaters.

from notes by Lucie Skeaping © 2009

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