A Review of Tales of the Brigantine

By Christine Lampe
No Quarter Given -- January, 2005

In “Tales of the Brigantine” the Pyrates Royale take the listener on a wide musical voyage. Along the way, sometimes the vocalists are at the helm, other times the instrumentalists are allowed to take the tiller and chart the course.

Even when performing traditional songs and shanties, the PR give it their own twist. In “Poor Old Horse” listen for the little musical jokes told by the fiddler. “High Barbary” is given a very dramatic telling, with devilish and ominous undertones from the fiddle, and other instruments.

The lads & lasses enter new waters with “Come Down you Roses / Blood Red Roses”. This intricate weaving of a capella voices & musical lines gives a completely unusual, but beautiful rendition from the launch board of traditional shanties. As a ghostly fog rolls in, listen to original composition “The Brigantine,” emphasized by the eerie strains of the fiddle, concertina & hammered dulcimer. When the fog lifts they find themselves on the “Essequibo River” with native drums giving the rhythm.

While in port, these randy crewmembers dally with “Sally Racket” on “The Ratcliffe Highway," while strong on innuendo and suggestive lyrics.

Then they are "Westering Home" to a lovely lyrical sound, where the fiddle & guitar are allowed to shine. After a few more traditional songs, and the modern “The Shellback Song,” comes a robust rendition of “Rowdy Soul,” sung a capella with only percussion accompaniment. Then “Heave Ya Ho” is a very sweet & fine showcase piece for Peg o’ Riley, the small lass with the huge voice.

As a finale, “Simple Gits” is a riotous spoof of the traditional “Simple Gifts”. The PR start out drunk & disorderly, and get drunker & disorderlier (something they specialize in, I believe).

Actually, the Pyrates Royale are great storytellers (they do a superb job on title song “The Brigantine”), whether using humor or drama (and sometimes both in the same piece). They have a wonderful lusty sound, excellent harmonies, and a wide variety of approaches to traditional material, making for fresh & new sounds. So, why say more . . . just go get their new CD.

For more information on how to procure a copy of the CD, visit the Pyrates Royale web site: www.pyrates.com

Christine Lampe, also known as Jamaica Rose, is the Editor and Publisher of No Quarter Given, a monthly publication specializing in all things piratical -- including history, present-day festivals and activities, and music.

To subscribe, write to: No Quarter Given, PO Box 7456, Riverside, CA 92513. A one-year subscription is $12. Copies of particular issues may also be purchased for $2.50 each plus 75 cents postage, up to $4 total.

You can also peruse other articles by visiting the No Quarter Given website: http://www.noquartergiven.net

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Another favorable review! Good thing our checks don't bounce!