Review: Bail Money

cd-bmI’ll never forget my first meeting with the Bilge Pumps. It was in a seedy back alley pub – more of a shack, really – in the red light district of the Philippines. These were the closing days of the cold war, and the Bilge Pumps had made quite the name for themselves amongst the covert circuit as NATO’s very best choice for freelance maritime demolitions. Their preferred method was to infiltrate targeted boats from beneath, hence the team’s codename, The Bilge Pumps.

Continue reading

Review: Here There Be Pirates and Scallywag

Rating: ★★★½☆

For those of us who focus primarily on Pirate-Core style music, meaning that which bends&blends the pirate genre into new and exciting directions, it’s sometimes important – and refreshing – to revisit the roots of the genre. However, sea shanties as often performed can often come across rather soft and bland compared to the gritty villainy found on more theatrical pirate CDs, which is why the likes of Tugboat Bromberg fill such a nice gap. Tugboat performs what I can only call “minimalist” pirate music – mostly just himself and a guitar. His voice isn’t exactly sinister, but it has just enough scratch to reach a “casually crusty” point that sounds right at home with pirate material. Continue reading

Review: Score!

Rating: ★★★★½
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! Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Review: Lafitte’s Return Vol. 3 and 4

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy the CD – Volume 3
Buy the CD – Volume 4
Genre: Various. Ranges from traditional to metal to lounge. Seriously.
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: This is perhaps the most universal collection of pirate music ever. If you love any aspect of the genre, these albums are for you.

It’s been roughly one year since PPNOM (that’s Pirates for the Preservation of New Orleans Music) released their intital Lafitte’s Return Albums Volumes 1 and 2. They were really the first of their kind – true compilations of pirate and maritime music from about as diverse a range of styles and artists imagineable. From traditional to PirateCore, pirate-dedicated artists to those taking a first stab at a pirate song, it really had much to offer just about anyone with an interest in the pirate music genres. Continue reading

Review: Pirates of the East Coast of the Americas & the Caribbean Sea

Rating: ★★★★★
Roy Metté

Buy the CD
Genre: Contemporary Pirate Folk.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Anyone – particularly those familiar with prominent historical pirates

Yes, it does occasionally happen that I fully, shamelessly gush my love of a pirate album. So if that doesn’t suit you, then just save yourself the trouble and skip past this review – you don’t need to read it, but you *do* need to buy Roy Metté’s Pirates of the East Coast of the Americas & the Caribbean Sea. Continue reading

Review: Cutlass, Cannon, and Curves

Rating: ★★★★☆
The Jolly Rogers

Genre: Pirate-themed faire music
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Grown ups, mostly

By and large, the vast majority of festival pirate music centers around traditional songs. This gives rise to two common problems:

1) Much of it starts to sound the same

and 2) Being as few traditional songs were actually about pirates, there’s often little to differentiate “pirate” music from other festival-driven sea shanties, Irish fighting songs, or bawdy ballads. Continue reading

Review: Poet & Pirate Overtures

Rating: ★★★½☆
Skip Henderson

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

Let’s be honest – when I reviewed Skip Henderson’s first pirate album, Billy Bones & Other Ditties, I wasn’t exactly charitable. Featuring about 3 decent pirate songs, 1 drop-dead brilliant one, and 13 or so ho-hum ditties, I actually expressed a level of frustration that the sheer genius of the title track, Billy Bones, wasn’t reflected throughout more of the album. Continue reading

Review: Pirate Scum

Rating: ★★★½☆
The Brigands

Genre: Traditional styled “tavern” music
Rating: G
Target Audience: Fans of folk-oriented pirate music

In a world full of festival pirate music, pirate-core music, and pirate parody music (and we love you all), it does seem it’s sometimes hard to find “real” pirate music. These would be tunes performed in the traditional style of dockside taverns, complete with old-fashioned instruments and vocals supplied by voices that were likely yelling “heave the jib to” or “I’ll gut ya like a Spaniard” earlier that same afternoon. But with their new album, affectionately titled “Pirate Scum”, this is exactly what The Brigands brings to the table. Continue reading

Review: Ole Zach’s Tavern

Rating: ★★★½☆
Bone Island Buccaneers

Genre: Traditional-style shanties with a pirate bent
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Pretty much anyone into traditionalish pirate music

With their album, Ole Zach’s Tavern, the Bone Island Buccaneers strike a delicate balance – they sound polished enough to be musical, but rough enough to still be pirates. All too often a pirate song is sung by a voice that’s clearly never tasted a lick of rum, but I’ve an inkling that the entire crew of Bone Island has indulged in at least a dram or two on occasion. Continue reading