Listeners who want to sample diversity in the Wild Oats' music have come to the right selection with this release, Foreign Affairs. It's comprised of songs from previous albums weed 'em and reap and A Few Oats Shy of a Haggis, and sung in languages other than English, or performed in styles far different than Celtic, as with the instrumental belly-dance number "Jihad." Then "Ayo Visto lo Mappamundi" has some beautifully rolling R's in it, and the Wild Oats prove themselves verbally dexterous in other tongues, as well. To understand why Foreign Affairs gets a parental advisory, it is necessary to know not only French, but French idiomatic expressions. Or else, listeners can go to The Wild Oats' webpage, http://www.thewildoats.com/music.html, where they've provided a translation of the words to "Jean de Nivelle." Seems there's quite a difference between the English phrase "You're pulling my leg" and the French one about "Pulling tail." "L'autre tire les queues des celles" is the phrase in question, which the translation says "...is something a teenage boy does on his own." The Wild Oats' penchant for whimsy enters in when their version of the song takes a fast left turn into the 20th century, with the addition of a verse, still in French, about Rodan and Mothra eating Tokyo. Still, by far one of the Wild Oats' most outstanding presentations (and thematically, practically the polar opposite of "Jean de Nivelle") is their lovely and harmonious a cappella version of the ecclesiastical song "Gaudete." There's a nice balance between the solo voice on verses and when the rest of the group joins in on choruses. So if the Wild Oats can sing wantonly in some cases, they can also turn about and hone in on the sanctified side, with this one. While longtime Oats fans may already have these songs from the previous releases, Foreign Affairs does give new listeners an affordable introduction to their quite varied style, and to their consistently ear-pleasing harmonies.
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