The Bilge Pumps,
A Pirate's Christmas Wish
(Ibidis Mortem, 2010)

Let's face it, if you're the sort of person who'd buy a pirate-themed Christmas CD in the first place, you're probably the sort of person who will love A Pirate's Christmas Wish in spite of itself. And really, we have to give the Bilge Pumps credit for persistance; this motley lot of shady singers has recorded several CDs over the past decade or so, and they don't let issues like talent get in the way of their fun.

And the reality here is this: several of the boys in this band (there are a half-dozen regular members of the Bilge Pump crew) have no business singing anywhere people can hear them. And yet sing they do, and that kind of optimism deserves some reward.

So, if you're the sort of person who enjoys lovely harmonies, intricate instrumental arrangements or gifted crooners in your holiday mix, this CD probably isn't for you. If you really like pirates and think piracy is by its very nature funny, then by all means get a copy and put it in your Christmas disc rotation.

The songs here can all pretty much be described as traditional Christmas songs rewritten to celebrate piracy. Expect a lot of lyrics devoted to plunder and booty. Understand that nothing is sacred, and realize that Santa is going to get metaphorically keelhauled in song. Prepare yourself for a lot of "yarr" jokes and nautical puns. Resign yourself to a barrage of not-that-funny references to whoring, rape and the buggery of young cabin boys.

Tracks include "A Pirate's Night Before Christmas," "Pirating a Winder Wonderland," "Carol of the Beers," "Good Pirate Men Rejoice" and "Johnny the Steampunk Pirate." If that sounds entertaining, than you'll enjoy the Bilge Pumps' enthusiasm and frivolity. If it sounds like a form of audio torture, stick with the likes of Bing Crosby and Harry Connick Jr., both of whom can be counted on to sing in tune.

The Bilge Pumps, based in Texas, are Craig "Maroon the Shantyman" Lutke, David "Harvey the Corpsman" Ruffin, Ted "John Crow the Cook" Dossey, Christopher "Sharkbait Simon the Scapegoat" Dallion, Nathan "Splice the Rigger" Campbell and Al "Aloysius the Carpenter" Olson. They might not be able to carry a tune in a bucket, but they're a spirited lot, they're clever with a pen and, if this recording is any judge, they're certainly very brave.

Yo ho, ho ho ho.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Tom Knapp

26 February 2011

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