Tag Archive: sea shanties

Johnny Depp Recording “Son of Rogue’s Gallery”


The original Rogue’s Gallery was more mediocre than good, but it did have a few gems. A sequel all these years later? Normally I’d suggest that ship has sailed (hah!) but there are a few in the lineup that interest me. Iggy Pop in particular would seem well suited to the task of crusty sailor songs. And Courtney Love? Yeah, she could have been right at home in a seedy dockside bar, I’d wager.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s every chance this album will be wretch. BUT… maybe not 🙂

Johnny Depp releasing a record of “pirate ballads, sea songs, and chanteys” | Music | Newswire | The A.V. Club


Thanks to Jason Lang for bringing this one to my attention!

Review: Prepare to be Boarded

Rating: ★★★☆☆
boompirates_preparetobeboarBuy the CD
Genre: Contemporary Pirate Folk.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Sea and pirate-shanty fans

Much like the Department of Naval Intelligence, I’ve been aware of the Brotherhood of Oceanic Mercenaries (B.O.O.M.) for some time – mainly in that yes, a crew called the B.O.O.M. Pirates exists, that they do most of said existing out in the Pacific Northwest, and that they boast some pretty classy pirate garb. But having not yet done any piratin’ myself in that region it was a great treat to finally get a copy of their CD to experience first hand what they’ve been up to from a musical perspective. (more…)

Review: Marooned

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy the CD
Genre: Faire music, nautical and otherwise
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Grown ups, mostly

Marooned is an album (and a band) that has a morbidly bizarre sense of humor. It’s (mostly) G-Rated, yet remains a CD largely about death, bastards, and booze. The oddness begins right away with Companion, an a cappella song (as is the entire album) that sounds gentle and friendly. The lead vocals are personable and very human, and the backup vocals are soft yet solid. As to the lyrics? Well, that’s when you start to realize that this seemingly harmless song is actually a bundle of peer-pressure, strongly indicating that the singers will only be your friend if you drink lots (and lots, and lots.) (more…)

Review: Cutlass, Cannon, and Curves

Rating: ★★★★☆
The Jolly Rogers

Genre: Pirate-themed faire music
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Grown ups, mostly

By and large, the vast majority of festival pirate music centers around traditional songs. This gives rise to two common problems:

1) Much of it starts to sound the same

and 2) Being as few traditional songs were actually about pirates, there’s often little to differentiate “pirate” music from other festival-driven sea shanties, Irish fighting songs, or bawdy ballads. (more…)

Review: Poet & Pirate Overtures

Rating: ★★★½☆
Skip Henderson

Buy the CD
Genre: Traditional and traditional inspired sea shanteys.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Grown ups, mostly

Let’s be honest – when I reviewed Skip Henderson’s first pirate album, Billy Bones & Other Ditties, I wasn’t exactly charitable. Featuring about 3 decent pirate songs, 1 drop-dead brilliant one, and 13 or so ho-hum ditties, I actually expressed a level of frustration that the sheer genius of the title track, Billy Bones, wasn’t reflected throughout more of the album. (more…)

Review: Pirate Scum

Rating: ★★★½☆
The Brigands

Genre: Traditional styled “tavern” music
Rating: G
Target Audience: Fans of folk-oriented pirate music

In a world full of festival pirate music, pirate-core music, and pirate parody music (and we love you all), it does seem it’s sometimes hard to find “real” pirate music. These would be tunes performed in the traditional style of dockside taverns, complete with old-fashioned instruments and vocals supplied by voices that were likely yelling “heave the jib to” or “I’ll gut ya like a Spaniard” earlier that same afternoon. But with their new album, affectionately titled “Pirate Scum”, this is exactly what The Brigands brings to the table. (more…)

Review: Going Overboard

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Bounding Main

Buy the CD
Genre: Traditional and traditional-style sea shanteys
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Grownups, older kids, and especially fans of Bounding Main’s live shows

As an entertainment group, Bounding main is essentially a coin with two sides. On the one, we have Bounding Main the live performers – exceptionally talented singers with a clear rapport with their audience, and more than a little tendency towards joking and goofing around. Bounding Main’s shows are generally defined by fun over perfection, where errors and surprises (for audience and performers alike) make each show wonderfully unique. And on the other side we have Bounding Main the recording artists, where the beauty of the vocals and a mastery of the stereo medium have seen the traditional sea shanty evolve into true music, rather than mere lumbering work songs. (more…)

Review: Down Among the Dead Men

Rating: ★★★½☆
The Pirates of New Providence

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Genre: Traditional and traditional-styled origninal pirate tunes.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Late teens to early retirement

Down Among the Dead Men – the first album by Pirates of New Providence – hits the ground running with its initial track, Fire Maringo. Being a traditional song, I’ve heard it performed before, and have never really given it much thought. But the Pirates of New Providence make it a tough song to dismiss. Strong, clear vocals are complimented by solid drums to immediately command attention. Soon the backup vocals and what I believe to be a tamborine also join in to play with the softer and higher notes. All told, it’s a commanding opener, and one that illustrates the truth that sometimes an old song can be made new again through sheer strength of the performance. (more…)

Review: The Recruiter… Free Rum Ain’t Free

Rating: ★★★☆☆
The Whiskey Bards

Genre: A Capella traditional and faire-style pirate songs.
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Late teens to early retirement

How do you define courage? There are many ways – far more than I care to get into at this time. But if I were truly put to task to come up with a single, all-encompassing definition, it might include four gentlemen singling “Bell Bottom Trousers” in the first person. Hearing their manly voices belt out lyrics regarding “he layed me on the bed until my blue eyes turned to brown” is both amusing and off-setting. An odd, odd creative choice, and in this way, quite memorable and worthwhile. (more…)

Review: Guano & Nitrates

Rating: ★★★★☆
The Valparaiso Men’s Chorus

Genre: Traditional sea songs performed with a jazzy New Orleans flavor.
Rating: R
Target Audience: Grownups that still know how to curse, drink, and party

A few times each year, it seems, an album comes out of left field and absolutely blindsides me. Generally it’s from an outsider band (read that, not established as a pirate band), and usually they do something so novel that it makes for an absolutely unique, must-have album. The Valparaiso Men’s Chorus album Guano & Nitrates only came into my possession through the most unlikely of circumstances – I likely never would have found them on my own. And such would be the tragedy. (more…)