2010 marks the 20th anniversary of legendary pirate shanty group The Jolly Rogers, and they honor the occasion in style with Score!, being a classical Jolly Rogers CD if ever there was one. Shanties – traditional and original alike – fill out the bulk of this 19 track album, ranging from fast to slow, adventuresome to bawdy… it’s the Jolly Rogers we’ve come to know and love these past two decades, no doubt!
Traditional covers include The Coasts of High Barbary, being a bit more rolling and energetic than is commonly heard, as well as a new rendition of Jolly Rogers’ favorite Pay Me. But as is always the case with the Rogers, it’s in the original content that this album truly shines. Pirate Ship Midnight is a rousing recruiting song, while Devil’s Reach is ripe with adventuresome villainy – guitars and vocals combine to tell a tale that is piratey to the very core. Spirit of the Outlaw, however, may begin (and end) with piracy, but in between it journeys through the ages to explore other sorts of devilry, including highwaymen, gunslingers, and gangsters.
It wouldn’t be The Jolly Rogers without at least some naughtiness. Twisting in the Valley features a series of tongue twisters and the art of being a “cunning linguist” – and if you’ve not yet read between the lines as to the actual content of this song, I can’t help you. Any Port in a Storm is a little more straightforward, albeit not by much – innuendo abounds, while Prime and Load is quite direct… wait, Prime and Load wasn’t dirty – my bad.
Additional tracks worth mentioning are A Bonny Tale (it’s always good to hear a new song about a kick-ass lady pirate) and Day of the Clipper, which is a gorgeour cover of a Schooner Fare classic. The Tempest also caught my ear, as it’s a strangely upbeat song of death at sea – fun if a bit perplexing (my mind also wrestles with shanty classic The Mermaid, for this same reason.)
While Score! is a pirate album very nearly through and through – indeed, perhaps a bit more piratey than many of their albums which sometimes delve a bit deeper into general shanty turf – it does have one song that takes a different tack entirely. Horror Movie Hero 3: Do the Zombie will delight fans of its two predecessors. For myself, I’m thrilled that they’ve moved on from the fictitious silliness of vampires and such and instead are focusing on the very real threat of zombies. Are YOU prepared for the coming invasion?
Definitely an album worth checking out. Thus far in the Jolly Rogers collection, Cutlass, Cannon and Curves has been my undesputed favorite (meaning most awesomely piratey), but Score! just might be the new king.