It's a common misperception that yesterday's pop music becomes today's classical music. In fact, the classical music that was written by people like Mozart and Telemann doesn't really have an exact equivalent today -- Mozart and Telemann mainly wrote music for rich people to sit and listen to, or to accompany religious services in large, well-to-do churches. That's not to say that there wasn't pop music during that period; there certainly was, and it was mostly for poor and middle-class people to dance to. It's just that not very much of that music survives in written form, and very few people show much interest in it today. So here, Philip Pickett -- master of all things woodwind and founder of the New London Consort, a leading early-music ensemble -- joins forces with veteran folk-rocker Richard Thompson and various members of Fairport Convention to deliver a rousing set of pre-classical dance tunes. The point is, this is not a guitars-and-drums approach to classical music -- it's a rock & roll approach to what is basically old rock & roll, and as you might imagine if you're familiar with the players, it's a complete hoot. Thompson and Pickett go way back to the early days of British folk-rock, and Pickett has played krumhorn or shawm on several of Thompson's solo albums. Here they get back to their earliest roots -- tunes with names like "My Lady Carey's Dompe" and "Branle Hoboken." It's a wonderful program of complex yet stompable rhythms, wailing guitar and trilling reeds, all delivered with humor and grace. A must for any party.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson