Revivals: The Game of Catch

In Restoration England, a robustious culture surrounded the pious fortress of the church like a red satin garter on a maiden's thigh. Trapped inside the fortress all day, church composers slipped out at night to meet in taverns where, in naughty laughter, they celebrated secular gaiety by composing bawdy songs to one another. Now, three young singers who call themselves "The Catch Club" are running through a lighthearted repertory of the old songs, proving nicely that spicy jokes are almost ageless.

The songs, called "catches," depend for their spice on stout voices singing the lyrics alternately. As the lyrics interweave,...

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