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. Continue reading

Review: Captain Kidd Pirate Hat

Rating: ★★★★★

jackshats_kiddReviewing a Captain Jack’s Pirate Hat is always a treat. For one, it’s a safe bet I’ll be able to write a favorable review (certainly more fun than the alternative.) But also, it’s always a treat to bask in the details of the new hat in question. While nearly every hat by Captain Jack starts its life as a near identical round felt blank, and the initial structuring and weatherproofing (optional) remains reassuringly consistent; the variations in color, style, and accessories make for a mind-bogglingly diverse range of end-products. Continue reading

Review: Captain Morgan’s Revenge

Rating: ★★★★½
alestorm_morgansrevengeGenre: Pirate Metal
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Pirate-Core fans, whether they’re metal fans or not

Alestorm’s Captain Morgan’s Revenge every bit appears the standard pirate metal album – the front cover features a skeletal demonic pirate screaming into the eye of a storm, while the back is emblazoned with an original jolly roger over a compass rose and crossed pistols. The packaging is definitely piratey. But as we know, the very nature of metal sometimes make for an album whose cover is the only thing that’s clearly piratey. All too often the typical thrasher growls and yells of “yarrr wahhhh grrrramoad!” could just as easily be “singing” of devil pigs as they might of pirates. This is the crux of pirate metal – but not so with Alestorm. Continue reading

Review: On Stranger Tides

Rating: ★★★★☆
powers-strangertidesThis may well be the greatest pirate book I’ve ever read.

My discovery of On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers was a strange one. First published 20 years ago, it’s largely flown under the radar amongst the pirate crowds. I’d never heard its name uttered amongst fellow enthusiasts swapping their favorite reads, I’d never heard murmurs of it being made into a movie, never saw it pop up as an recommendation – it’s honestly a miracle I discovered it at all.

It was while reading an old interview with Ron Gilbert – creator of the first two Monkey Island games – that I first learned of this book. The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride has largely been attributed as the inspiration for these brilliant games, but in this interview Gilbert indicated that it was actually the book On Stranger Tides that spurred the creation of Monkey Island. Now, the PotC rides were indeed key to my early love of pirates, and the Monkey Island Games were themselves key during my teenage years. So to learn that there might be a third part of this equation – well, I certainly had to check it out. Continue reading

Review: From the Seas to the Streets

Rating: ★★★★★
captaindan_seas2streetsBuy the CD
Genre: Pirate-themed gansta rap
Rating: R+
Target Audience: Immature adults 🙂

Where to begin when describing the wonderful oddity that is Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew? By all common sense, such an apparent novelty act should long ago have gone the way of the dodo. But the crew hit the ground with surprising momentum – their first pirate gangsta rap album, Authentic Pirate Hip Hop was a shameless joy to the ears. It seemed an impossible act to follow, and yet, a mere year later, follow it they did with Rimes of the Hip Hop Mariner. But rather than treating us to “more of the same” The Scurvy Crew expanded and developed their hip-hop pirate concept to make for an even better end product. And now, just one year since Rimes, the Scurvy Crew has struck again with their third album, From the Seas to the Streets. Continue reading

Best… Issue… EVER!

Pirates Magazine, Autumn 2008, is the best issue of Pirates Magazine – or any pirate publication for that matter – to ever grace the world with its presence. And I’ll tell you why – FIVE FLOGGIN’ PAGES ABOUT BILGEMUNKY!!!

That’s right – FIVE pages about yours truly. Cap’n Slappy, in his “Profiles in Pirattitude” feature, delved into the very depths of what makes Bilgemunky tick, and he converted his new found knowledge into glowing words and glorious pictures of ME! ALL OF ME!!!

So go to Barnes&Noble and buy this issue. Buy several. I want Pirates Magazine to know that this was their most popular issue ever. And then other magazines will write of me again and again, until someone finally makes an entire magazine that is about Bilgemunky and only Bilgemunky. Imagine – photo spreads of Bilgemunky at work and play. Bilgemunky goes to the grocery story, Bilgemunky cleans the litter box, Bilgemunky lets fame go to his head and refers to himself in the third person until he alienates everyone…

The possibilities are truly endless.

Review: Capt. Hook

Rating: ★★★★★

Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth
by J.V. Hart

I loved this book. I freakin’ loved this book.

I’ll be honest – I’ve rarely given Captain Hook much thought. I’m not a particular fan of the Peter Pan story, and most depictions of its famous villain have left me rather indifferent. Jason Isaac’s incredible 2005 portrayal was a notable exception – but exactly that, an exception. So Hook in general? Meh.

All this has changed due to Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth. This is the story of Hook before he was hook – back when he was merely James Matthew, the bastard child of a British Lord, and a new student at Eton. Continue reading

Review: Pirate Coat

Rating: ★★★★½

Jack Sparrow did much to open up the world of pirate merchandise. Prior to Jack, finding online retailers of quality pirate clothing was tricky at best. Since Jack, a little online research reveals dozens, if not hundreds, of sources for pirate clothing. But Jack was a double-edged sword – his commandeering of many pirate “staple” items (bucket boots, tricorn hat, dropfront breeches) has led many people to associate these items with pieces of a Jack costume, no matter what the color or who’s wearing them.

This truth is perhaps most starkly apparent with the common frock coat. Be it blue, grey, brown, or black, it seems that most any knee-length coat with cuffs carries a bit of a Jack Sparrow flavor about it. But what are we to do if our goal is to NOT look like Jack? Perfect Pirate may have the answer… Continue reading

Review: Custom Pirate Hat

The Bilgemunky Logo is a trademark of Bilgemunky Enterprises, LLC

Rating: ★★★★★
Pyrate Leatheworx

*note: I adore and endorse the craftsmanship of Pyrate Leatherworx. However, I’ve received many reports of late from dissatisfied customer regarding poor communication and long overdue orders. Prior to placing an order based on this review, I strongly urge you to first read these comments from concerned readers.

The time had come.

Too many times I’ve attended pirate events, had a fantastic time, and then come home to grumpy emails from readers saying, “I didn’t know you were at [Pirate Festival]! I was there too – I’d have bought you a rum!” Now, I’m not the sort to walk up to everyone and say, “Greetings, I am Bilgemunky – perhaps you’ve heard of me.” (Actually, I’d gladly do this, except for the fear of them saying, “No – now please leave me alone.”) But I’m also not the type to pass up the opportunity for readers to buy me rum. What to do? Continue reading

Review: (Early 18th Century) Colonial Buckle Shoe

Rating: ★★★★☆
C&D Jarnagin Company

When it comes to period clothing, shoes are one of the biggest hangups around. For a true pirate reenactor (which I am not), the first challenge is just getting into the “shoes, not boots” mindset – boots would rarely have been worn by pirates, if we’re to be perfectly accurate. But even then, the trouble is just starting – historical shoes should be straight-lasted (meaning no left or right), have relatively large tongues and small buckles, be butt stitched, etc. etc. The sad truth is, there’s really no perfectly accurate shoe on the market for the golden age of piracy. There are many close-enough shoes for the casual pirate – some of very high quality. But almost none that would meet the standards of a true, dyed-in-the-linen historical reenactor. Continue reading