Pirate Music Reviews

Review: Better Than Live

Rating: ★★★☆☆
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Genre: Contemporary Pirate Folk
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Fans of folk and faire style pirate tunes. Sad, sad ones.

The thing about the band Marooned is that you should never listen to them while drinking rum. It’s not that they aren’t piratey – it’s just that alcohol can promote depression, and so can Marooned. Slow and somber, mostly a capella songs of death and despair, it’s best to stay sober lest you start blubbering into your mug. But even if you prefer your rum cut with the salty bitterness of your own tears, at least take a moment to hide the rope and razorblades. (more…)

Review: The Legend of Salty Jim

Rating: ★★★★☆
Genre: Pirate Metal
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Metal-Heads and fan of Pirate-Core

There’s just something about pirate metal. While musically they couldn’t be further removed from actual historical pirates, there’s something in their dress/manner/attitude that makes you believe they “get it.” Blackbeard might have drunkenly sang the songs of the folk singer, but I’d bet gold dust that he’d rather party with the metal-heads. (more…)

Review: My Inner Pirate CD

Rating: ★★★☆☆
willoughby_innerpirateGenre: Contemporary Pirate Folk.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Pirate fans who want something a bit less gravelly, and a bit more fun

Some folks have an inner child, some have an inner pirate. And despite her album’s title of “My Inner Pirate,” I strongly suspect Willoughby Caught actually has both – the only question is which one drinks the rum and which one gets to hold the musket.

My Inner Pirate features a variety of traditional, original, and quasi-original pirate tunes, mostly sung in a fun, light-hearted manner. Some, such as Calico Jack and Salmagundi, come across as pirate-acceptable kid’s song, while Drink Like a Pirate takes on a more adult theme in both content and tone. Most of the songs, however, manage to walk the fence between these two extremes in a manner that’s both kid-friendly as well as piratey. (more…)

Review: Pure Rock Scurvy

Rating: ★★★½☆
brinebastards_scurvyGenre: Pirate Rock
Rating: R
Target Audience: Grease monkeys, pool hall junkies, and garage rockers that wish they were pirates.

Rather than settle with “Watered-down Rock Scurvy” or “Cut with Baking Soda Rock Scurvy”, the pirate-core band Brine&Bastards has selected nothing short of “Pure Rock Scurvy” for their second album (following Set Sail for Sodomy.) Something of a mini-album featuring only six songs, it nonetheless holds its own as a worthy addition to today’s growing genre of pirate rock. (more…)

Review: The Return of David Gale

Rating: ★★★★½

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Genre: Pirate rock/folk.
Rating: R
Target Audience: Fans of pirate-rock or rough, swaggering traditional

It wasn’t that long ago that no one had heard of The Pirates Charles – primarily in that they didn’t yet exist. And yet in only a couple short years, they quickly rose from obscurity into what is arguably one of the best known, best loved, and “truest” pirate bands around. The secret is a rare blend of the traditional and new – sea shanties mixed in with just enough rock&roll to, well, rock, but not so much as to wholly modernize their music. Of course, the icing on the cake is that The Pirates Charles both look and sound the parts of true scallywags – an important factor in the evolution from sea songs to pirate songs. (more…)

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: Pirates Do the Darndest Things

Rating: ★★★★½
mikemennard_dothedarndestthBuy the CD
Genre: Pirate kid’s songs, poems, and silly stuff
Rating: G
Target Audience: Kids, mostly. But definitely some crossover appeal to adults.

Of all the pirate musical artists it’s the childrens’ entertainers for which I have the lowest expectations. I can’t tell you how many pirate kids’ albums I’ve never even bothered to seek out based on their sample tracks that clearly demonstrate a soft, froofy performance that would be of no interest whatsoever to those over the age of six. Mike Mennard, however, is a different beast entirely. True, children are clearly his target audience. But he also demonstrates remarkable creativity and talent the likes of which can be thoroughly enjoyed by all ages – mostly. (more…)

Review: Legends Never Die

Rating: ★★★★½
thedreadnoughts_legendsneveBuy the CD
Genre: Celtic Pirate Punk
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Anyone looking for a modern Irish-punk spin on traditional and traditional-style shanties

I doubt it comes as a surprise to seasoned readers that I have strong preferences with regards to pirate music. By and large, I want it, well, piratey. Meaning shameless, brazen, and loud. All too often sea shanties are performed in the folk-song manner of your Great Aunt Gertrude (meaning toothless and dry) – or worse yet, a kindergarten teacher just before nap-time. But it’s bands like The Dreadnoughts that show us why traditional sea shanties can still kick ass. (more…)

Review: Skulls&Magpies

Rating: ★★★☆☆
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Genre: Pirate Folk Jazz
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Adults

With its cover of what appears to be a young pirate girl staring at the sunset through a telescope (terribly unwise, now that I think about it), The Mad Maggies new pirate album “Skull&Magpies” has the appearance of a children’s CD. The inside art, featuring the band in fun, colorful cartoons as well tends to reinforce this notion. But, while it doesn’t really feature any material inappropriate for the young’ns, Skull&Magpies is hardly a children’s CD. Rather, it’s for anyone who loves pirates and has a taste for the eclectic. (more…)

Review: Sovereign of the Seas

Rating: ★★★★☆
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Genre: Pirate Rockabilly
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Teens and adults looking for pirate rock with a punk/ska edge

One of my favorite things about Pirate-Core music is when a band takes pirate themes and lyrics and injects them into a musical genre that on its face would seem entirely not-piratey. Sometimes this results in humorous contrasts. Other times, as with the album Sovereign of the Seas, it’s done so flawlessly as to make the combination seem as natural as parrot poop on a captain’s shoulder. (more…)