Brobdingnagian Bards,
A Faire to Remember
(self-produced, 2001)

If you're at all familiar with the Brobdingnagian Bards, the title of this CD tells you all you really need to know about its contents. The Bards, a pair of Texas renaissance faire minstrels, have collected an album of favorites from the faire -- a blend of traditional, original and quirky songs that will have the average rennie singing along within moments of putting it on.

I still say the autoharp is an odd instrumental choice, but Marc Gunn works it for all his worth. Andrew McKee adds recorder or, if the mood suits, mandolin, and both lads sing. And, while they don't sound like graduates of the Berkelee College of Music, they certainly sound like street musicians. (And, after all, isn't that what they're striving for here?)

For traditionalists searching for recordings of faire standards, they can look here for "The Mermaid Song," "Scarborough Faire," "Whiskey in the Jar," "Health to the Company," "Wild Rover," "Johnny Jump Up," "Greensleeves," "The Lusty Young Smith" and "Donald Where's Your Trousers/What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor."

There are also a few almost-traditionals like "Wild Mountain Thyme" and "The Scotsman." And then there's a big batch of quirkiness, including "Do Virgins Taste Better/The Dragon's Retort," "If I Had a Million Ducats," "A Fairy Story," the homicidal "Irish Ballad" and Eric Idle's infamous "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" (from Monty Python's The Life of Brian).

There's not a lot that's new here -- in fact, some of these songs can be found on earlier recordings by the Bards -- but renaissance faires don't thrive on the fresh and unfamiliar, after all. Bottom line is, there's a lot of bad music out there on the faire circuit, and the Bards are good. They're fun. They're unconventional. What more are you looking for?

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 12 July 2003

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