Brobdingnagian Bards,
Memories of Middle Earth
(self-produced, 2003)

With all things Lord of the Rings being very popular right now, I was keen to get my hands on the Brobdingnagian Bards sixth release, Memories of Middle Earth. I figured it would not be up to the soundtrack quality, but I was still interested in seeing how these great books spoke to these musicians and find out if I could relate.

The CD starts off with "Tolkien (The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings)," which many of you might already know as this song has been widely downloaded from MP3.com. This instrumental is a catchy tune, but makes me think of Renaissance festivals in general more than Tolkien. In fact, it wasn't until track 4 that I thought about Hobbits. When I later looked at the liner notes, I saw that track 4 is called "Hobbit's Dance." Hmmmm ... I guess that means I was starting to relate to the Brobdingnagian Bard's vision of Tolkien.

Memories of Middle Earth has 16 tracks, most of which are instrumental. I would say in general that the better tracks are the instrumentals. The Bards are decent singers, but not always on key. I will admit that I cannot get certain songs such as "Weathertop" out of my head. The melody is great, but the vocals add to the song. Such is not the case with "Legolas," which made me cringe enough that I tend to skip it now. Fortunately, except for a few duds, this CD is really quite excellent -- especially when you consider it's self-produced!

The Brobdingnagian Bards may be based out of Austin, Texas, but I doubt much of the populace can correctly pronounce the band's name. The promotional material states that it is pronounced "brAHb'ding-nag-EE-en." The Bard's website has a sound bite to teach you the proper pronunciation. Even with that help, I still can't pronounce it!

The Bards are Marc Gunn on autoharp and Andrew McKee on mandolin and recorder. Both Bards sing. While both write the songs they perform, on this CD Marc has penned the majority of the tracks.

The Brobdingnagian Bards may have an unpronounceable band name. Fortunately, if you want your own copy, you don't have to go to your local CD store and ask for them. You can simply order online. You just have to be able to spell Brobdingnagian. (gulp!)

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 27 September 2003

[ visit the artist's website ]



Buy it from Amazon.com.