Review: Pegleg Tango

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Captain Bogg and Salty

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Genre: Original pirate songs and tunes.
Rating: G
Target Audience: All Ages.

Captain Bogg & Salty’s first album, Bedtime Stories for Pirates, is without a doubt one of the finest pirate albums ever made. It’s silly enough to entertain the young, yet clever enough for the old. But what I like best about it is that you don’t need to listen to the lyrics to know that the songs are a) piratey and b) funny. It spews pirates and laughs from its very core, and thus induces me now and then to dance about the living room whilst flailing my cutlass in meriment (a practice for which my son has scolded me.) Continue reading

Review: Rum

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776
by Ian Williams

“The fulcrum of most European imperial ventures during the formative years of the thirteen colonies was not the North American mainland but the Caribbean. From the Spanish Main that hems it to its polyglot islands, the one universal uniting factor for the Caribbean is rum – lots of it, as a living liquid memorial to the time when the lands bedecked around that perfect blue sea were not the tourist playground of North America and Europe but the cockpit of all their rivalries.”

Perhaps no single paragraph throughout Ian Williams’ Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776 more concisely summarizes this work’s content and tone than this, the opening segment of its tenth chapter. It introduces the idea that pre-revolutionary American history wasn’t centralized in Boston or Philadelphia, but actually the Caribbean – and that the one material that truly greased the wheels of rebellion wasn’t tea, but rum. Rum: A Social and Sociable History focuses largely on rum’s role in the colonies, and how its trade, regulation, and consumption ushered the founding fathers towards revolution. Continue reading

Review: Dogfish Head Brown Honey

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Dogfish Head Brown Honey Rum

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from Internet Wines and Spirits

Upon spying Dogfish Head Brown Honey Rum on the shelf, my mind was aflutter with thoughts. First was the bottle – namely that I’d never seen it before. Next I observed that it had a waxed cork and hand-dated label with a batch and bottle number – all good signs. And last I noticed the stuff is made in Delaware (hooray for another continental U.S. rum distillery – we need more!)

Dogfish Head boasts being twice distilled, hand crafted, settled in American Oak, and mixed with Wildflower Honey. It’s this last feature that truly stands out – both in theory, and certainly in taste. To the nose, honey is definitely the over-riding quality, with the more common smells of a golden rum hidden beneath. On the tongue the standard rum characteristics are more dominant, although somewhat smoothed over – it tastes sharp but feels gentle, especially as it goes down the throat. Continue reading

Review: Maiden Voyage

Rating: ★★★½☆
Bounding Main

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

When I think of sea shanties, I generally imagine them as performed by folk singers (i.e. musicians performing fairly down-to-earth, no frills songs recapturing the music of old.) I DON’T generally imagine sea shanties as performed by recording artists (i.e. musicians that seek not only to master the art of music, but the science of utilizing modern studio techniques to maximize the impact of the final product.) It was in this way that Bounding Main caught me completely by surprise. Indeed, I’d previously heard them live a couple of times, and already knew them to be fine performers. But upon playing their CD I was caught completely off guard. Continue reading

Review: Crossbones

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
I have no way to put this gently – this movie bites. It’s bad. It’s awful. It has not one single redeeming quality that bears its viewing. Watch it sober, watch it drunk – it won’t be good. The acting is bad, the script is bad, and the action is worse. It just might be the worst pirate movie ever. Not “Plan 9 from Outer Space” goofy bad, just bad.

Still want to know the plot? OK, a bunch of “Survivor” style contestants run around an island and get killed by a cursed pirate. Now go and rent something, anything, else.

Review: Hair Beads

Rating: ★★★★☆
Silhuettes Clothing Co.

Buy all the clothing you want – buy the $500 jacket, the $200 hat, the $300 boots. Honestly, do it 🙂

BUT – major clothing items only get you so far. In the pirate world, as in our own, accessories make the outfit. Earrings, finger rings, necklaces – the devil is in the details, and it’s these very details that turn a “person in a pirate costume” into a “PIRATE.”

Enter Silhouttes’ hair beads. Jack Sparrow certainly wasn’t the first pirate to dangle beads from his dreads, but he’s easily the most memorable. And with one or two Silhouttes’ bead strands hanging from your head, you too can add some significant zest to your pirate ensamble.

I inspected and test-drove two of these offerings, and found them surprisingly comfortable, once I got the hang of it (the trick is to clip them to a significant chunk of hair, so as to better distribute the weight.) As I’ve come to expect from Silhouttes, the materials are all of the best quality – not a single plastic bead was to be seen. Instead, each strand was a mixture of glass, metal, rock, wood, and even one that appeared to be bone. The string itself is metal wire, and while the clip is hardly period, it’s sturdy, effective, and shouldn’t be seen anyways. At the end of each strand is a coin – one from Denmark, and the other appears to be pakistani. The truly picky reenactor will note they’re a bit too well formed to be period (indeed, the Denmark coin clearly states it was minted in 1967.) But both appear quite old at a glance, and if you meet anyone critical enough to notice that they’re not “period,” you’d best throw the loper to the sharks before they cause any real trouble.

A wonderfully effective, and wonderfully affordable, way to add that extra “punch” to your outfit.