The Pyrates Royale, |
Love at Fyrst Nyte
(Big Bear, 2001)
A term in vogue this summer, thanks to Fed chairman Allen Greenspan, is "infectious greed." The Pyrates Royale, however, fill their audiences with nothing less than "infectious humour."
It's next to impossible to listen to this Annapolis-based group, either in person or on a recording, without a grin or a guffaw. Their choice of music and their interaction with each other and the audience is infectious. Without realizing it, you're suddenly part of the rowdy mayhem that is the Pyrates' crew.
I picked up the band's thyrd CD, Love at Fyrst Nyte, at their recent performance at the Elizabethtown Celtic & Folk Music Revels. It was recorded at the White Hart Tavern in Annapolistowne on Dec. 31 "in the year of our Lord 1700." (That's what the lyner notes claim and who am I to argue with a bunch of cutthroats.)
I have the Pyrates' two earlier CDs -- Lyve Behind Bars and Hello Sailor -- and this new recording, produced by Big Bear Productions, keeps the group's naughty nautical tradition alive.
The Pyrates are not just funny and somewhat ribald, they are accomplished musicians utilizing a variety of instruments and vocal harmony -- an all-inclusive and entertaining maritime voyage.
This merry bunch of buccaneers includes FiFi "le" Boaboa, a.k.a. Jennifer Garman; Captain Fletcher Tyberius Moone, a.k.a. Brad Howard; Drake Mallard, a.k.a. Paul DiBlasi; Ullyses Katherine "Kat" Fairbanks, a.k.a. Darcy Nair; Bosun Bonney Peg Riley, a.k.a. Lynn Cunningham; and Second Mate "Long John" Skivee, a.k.a. Craig Williams.
A traditional whaling song, "Bonny Ship the Diamond," opens the performance followed by a shanty, "One More Day," often sung by sailors while pumping slop from the bilge. One of the funnier songs is "Swing the Cat," which describes the crew's answer to a horde of rats on the ship.
"Twiddles" is a rollicking modern shanty that turns the tables on every able-bodied seaman who thought he was getting away with something by having a faithful girl in every port. The women folk didn't just twiddle their thumbs when their men sailed away. "The Ballad of Old Redcoat" humorously explains the secrets of derring do at sea. If, during battle, you wore a red doublet, the enemy couldn't see you bleed; if you wore brown trousers, they couldn't see you -- well you get it.
It seems almost oddly out of place, but Fairbanks sings a beautiful solo rendition of "The Boatman," which includes Gaelic words in the chorus. Thankfully, the notes tell us they simply mean "doo be doo be doo." A boisterous version of "Hellship" describes the horrors of sailing round Cape Horn (unwillingly) under a bully mate.
Since the recording was made on New Year's Eve (actually on Dec. 31, 2000), it is only fitting that "Auld Lang Syne" be included as the final track.
Whether you own one, two or all three of the Pyrates Royale's CDs, you won't be disappointed. It is solid entertainment at its best. I'm already looking forward to their next one.
[ by Bill Knapp ]
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