The Crimson Pirates,
Come 'n Be a Pirate
(independent, 2008)

Pirate bands -- by which I mean Celtic musicians with costumes and a sea-roving theme, not rapacious shiploads of scurvy-ridden thugs -- are a guilty pleasure of mine.

At least they were, until I discovered just how many of them there are. Over the years, I grew a little tired of the sameness of it all, and the pirate schtick wore a little thin.

But let's be honest here, pirate bands are fun and, while I don't listen to them nearly as often as I used to, I still find myself pulling an old favorite off the shelf from time to time, and every now and again I'll give some new disc a spin.

Today I was in the mood, so I grabbed the Crimson Pirates' Come 'n Be a Pirate -- their fifth CD, my fourth from their collection. Although the disc was released in 2008, the New York is still kicking, according to their website. And these songs, frankly, don't really have an expiration date.

The Crimson Pirates are better than I remembered, boasting fun arrangements and nice harmonies. They have a lot of voices to work with, too: the band at the time of recording was Ann Alford, Jared Hoffert, Don and Kelly Kilcoyne, Karen O'Hara, Dan and Robin O'Driscoll and Lionel Ruland, all of whom played one or more instruments as well as sang.

The album includes old favorites, including "Rocky Road to Dublin," "Whiskey in the Jar," "I'll Tell Me Ma" and "Little Beggarman," as well as lesser known songs like "Toad Fish," "Run Come See" and "Bow to Stern," and even some serviceable originals, such as "Distant Drums" and "Pirate Alphabet." The only sour note for me is the bonus track, "Land Rover," a band original attributed to Don Kilcoyne and sung to the tune of "Wild Rover." I enjoy drinking songs as much as anyone -- and more than some -- but a song extolling the virtues of a DUI violation doesn't sit well.

Otherwise, it's a fun recording, and really that -- along with singing in tune -- is pretty much all I ask of my pirate bands.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Tom Knapp

13 December 2014

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