On this disc, Wates moves away from simple folk, to get closer to Jazz, vaudeville and even theater. He depicts the world itself as a stage, a circus in which we are all performers. At The Rank Outsiders Ball, the more outrageous your role, the better you'll fit in. Rupert Wates welcomes us all, in the voice of a born outsider: uniquely and even defiantly his own. "A prime figure in American music" (Folk And Acoustic Music Exchange)
"...Intriguingly brisk music with smooth focused vocals...There is a universality of time and place that ultimately succeeds here, while retaining a personal style. I don't even want to pin it down more than that. I'll just lean back and listen some more" (David Hintz, www.folkworld.eu)
"A wonderful slice of Weimar sleeze...With short, crisp songs, the album sounds not unlike a musical soundtrack with a cast of losers and freaks, with Wates in the role of MC" (R2 Rock N Reel www.rock-n-reel.co.uk)
"Lyrically articulate and literate...he's been compared to Brecht, Gordon Lightfoot and Brian Protheroe...Despite the variety of musical colours, [the CD] doesn't stray too far from the path of its chosen genre...But then why would you want a glass of Riesling when you have a whole case of champagne?" (Mike Davies, Folk Radio UK on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at www.folkradio.co.uk.)
"...Sitting in a weird twilight where a late Edwardian country village fete rubs up against sleazy Left Bank chic...'The Rank Outsiders Ball' is one of those albums that feels slightly out of time and in doing so, becomes timeless...I've rather rapidly become a fan of Rupert Wates and his band of musicians. There's 14 tracks on this cut and frankly every one of them's a winner." (Neil King, Fatea Showcases UK on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at www.fatea-records.co.uk.)
"...A smidgen of Django, and a little dose of the English music hall leavened with the panache of an expert Continental quartet. Wates is...a marvelous lyricist...he writes words that sing. At first one is tempted to call them Brechtian, but...they're actually better, more subtle and supple. And his brevity...stunning. So what you get here is an under-recognized master of the indie circuit having fun making what was never truly old new. You hope he, and the (Band of) Geeks, receive their due, because the time out of mind experience delivered here is truly affecting." (Steve Klingaman on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at www.minor7th.com.)
"...Traveling a step beyond where folkies and mellow rockers fear to tread...'Outsiders Ball' is decidedly Rupert's most mellifluous, most stripped down...and most internally subversive release, with fangs not noticed until they're deep in your flesh, smiling back up at your shocked face...Start anywhere you like in his catalogue, it doesn't really matter, 'cause you'll soon be moving on to the rest rather quickly... Lend an ear to a sometime samba boogie, other times a breezy Balkan ditty, once or twice as though Gordon Lightfoot were contemplating turning Lothario before seeing Bryan Ferry across the room..." (Mark S. Tucker on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at FAME.)
"Acoustic folk pop, at times heavily influenced by jazz, and featuring deft guitar playing. The songs are completed with lyrics that are tightly focused, demanding the listener's attention. The quartet offers a sophisticated, spirited and committed performance. The content is...like the cover, a little warped and different but at the same time appealing" (Zero Magazine, Gothenburg Sweden)
"...Wates has a long history of...good albums in the folk genre and this album is no exception...'The Entertainer' is an amusing look at some seedy goings on, with a wry delivery from Wates and expert playing by his band...Wates paints a sad yet compelling tale of the need for escape. It's a great album" (Anna Maria Stjarnell, www.lunakafe.com)
"Rupert Wates convinces once more as a songwriter and teller of outstandingly melodious tales" (Karsten Rube, Folkworld, Germany www.folkworld.eu)
"A very fine disc from the richly talented Rupert Wates which we recommend warmly." (Valsam, April 2014, on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at rootstime.be.)
"..Perfectly sung and perfectly played...think of the witty musical interludes in topical television shows of the sixties, and you're half way there..." (Paul Kerr, 15 May 2014, on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at Americana-UK.com.)
"...Delving into the world of cabaret and Weimar-style sleeze, it's more garden party than wrecking ball" (Sean McGhee, Vive Le Rock UK Magazine)
Calling all geeks, misfits and loners: there’s a place for us all at The Rank Outsiders Ball.Rupert Wates’ latest release continues the themes of his earlier CDs “Joe’s Café” (2010) and “At The Losers’ Motel” (2102), envisaging a place where people come together, and where music is the force that binds them. On this disc, Wates’ sound is more consistent and unified than ever before. A single chord gave rise to all 14 songs. Moving away from folk, Wates gets closer to vaudeville and even theater. He depicts the world itself as a stage, a circus in which we are all performers. At The Rank Outsiders Ball, the more outrageous your role, the better you’ll fit in.
The album was recorded live in the studio in three days. It features contributions from virtuoso musicians Bartosz Hadala (keyboards), Trifon Dmitrov (bass) and Chris Howard (percussion). Stand out tracks are ‘The Rank Outsiders Ball’, ‘Drowned’, ‘Time’ and ‘Travelling Circus’.
Rupert Wates welcomes us all to the ball, in the voice of a born outsider: uniquely and even defiantly his own.
– Leo Green, BiteMusic Limited