Review: Captain Darby O’Bill and His Maties 3

Rating: ★★★★☆
Captain Darby O’Bill and His Maties 3

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Genre: Original pirate songs of varying non-traditional styles.
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Late teens to early retirement

Captain Darby O’Bill and His Matees 3, an album performed by a group of the same name (I mean, what are the odds?) is exactly the kind of pirate music I love best – meaning that it in no way sounds like any of the other pirate music I already love. Right from the first track, The Skulls of Skeleton Peak, and on through the entire album, this CD defies categorization of any kind save one – this is PIRATE MUSIC!

To a song, the music blends the styles of old time traditional with elements and instruments of the modern age. Accoustic guitars, electric bass, trombones, accordians, washboards, finger cymbals… On its own, the music would be a piratey joy to listen to, but Darby and his mates also have a wickedly perverse sense of humor, which when combined with the music makes for audio dementia in the most wonderful sort of way. The Little Dutch Boy is a touching, happy song about a young, innocent dutch boy being hauled off to sea to become a man. The lyrics are at times difficult to register, which is a shame because I’ve a feeling the song might edge on the riskee (and having checked the liner note lyrics, indeed it does.)

Following songs are easier to understand, while remaining wonderfully odd in their own rights – For a Pirate Everything’s Free, Margaret Mary, and The Barbary Coast are all great fun. Each maintains Darby’s distinctive sound and style, and yet each is unique. Bulva, the Wicked Wench, is the first of the album to have a previously familiar sound about it, but only because it has a smack of OZ about it – think about the title, and you’ll get an idea of what to expect.

Marina the Lovely Mermaid begins as a slower piece, but picks up pace later. But nothing can prepare you for Marina’s own lyrics in the song. Her “lovely melody” isn’t quite as femine as one might hope, but (s)he makes an effort, and that’s why it’s fun. Commodore Cortez is an adventure song, faster paced and full of danger. Hand of Glory is more of comradery and braggadocio, while The Ballad of Galley Schwaggennhann has a wonderful flow about it. One of my absolute favorite songs on the album, the vocals give almost an 80’s flair, while the lyrics are all pirate and drunken, fighting Irishmen.

Forty Days begins fast and furious, and continues the same. With lyrics like “Yo-ho, the dary-o, it’s the pirate’s life that’s never been told”, it maintains the strong pirate themes that have been standard throughout the album, along with the same outstanding, fun instrumentals. Concluding things is Dutch Harbor. An odd track amongst odd tracks, it begins slow and sing songy, then picks up some peppy guitars and cymbals for several minutes, which are later joined by excited piratey lyrics. It then fades to a thunderstorm that lasts for several minutes, only to end with… well, for that you have to buy the album. But trust me, it’s brilliant.

Captain Darby O’Bill and His Matees 3, whether we’re discussing the band or the album, is definitely one for the Pirate Core Hall of Fame, if there were such a thing. This is non-traditional pirate music at its very oddest and finest, and something no self-respecting collector should be without.

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