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Jul 072013
 

Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys

Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys

While working on the two “Pirates Of The Caribbean” films, Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski became fascinated with the lore and fable of the pirates and sailors who ran the high seas. Enter legendary producer Hal Wilner, who brings his knack for matching maverick musicians with extraordinary material. Artists on this double disc set include Bono, Sting, Nick Cave, Bryan Ferry, Lou Reed, Richard Thompson, Lucinda Williams, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, and many more. “Rogue’s Gallery” offers a lo

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  3 Responses to “Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys”

  1. 50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    History In Song, November 11, 2006
    By 
    Ralph Quirino (Keswick, Ontario Canada) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys (Audio CD)

    I was lucky enough to hear this release before I actually bought it and I’m glad I did. Reviews posted here had led me to expect something very lo-fi and unexceptional. Instead, I heard the past echo firmly and enticingly in these songs. Anyone afraid that the recording quality on these performances “blows” should closet their fears immediately. No such problems exist and all is sonically fine (those readers who reported of poor recording quality should have their equipment checked). Anyone also worried that these interpretations aren’t special or exciting should grab those misgivings and hang ‘em from the yard-arm (Richard Thompson’s contribution is as fine as anything he’s ever done and certainly deserved being heard thanks to excellent guitar playing). People, let’s remember one thing about these ditties: they’re NOT Top 40 songs! They’re sea chanteys, ballads of longing, or songs designed to take the drudgery out of work tasks. Frankly, not every experiment works. But it succeeds far more often than it fails (which it only does on rare occasion). I especially enjoyed Loudon Wainwright’s two songs (though keep the kids away from his Disc 2 contribution as it’s very, very filthy!). And listening to the stuff whilst driving home after a hard day in the “salt mines” certainly will put both a smile and a tear on your face. I especially recommend Rogue’s Gallery if you’re a fan of British folk-rock of the sixites/seventies variety (it would’ve been really cool to include Fairport Convention’s “I’m Already There”, a recent sea song the guys recorded celebrating Franklin’s ill-fated Arctic sea trip or even the classic “A Sailor’s Life”). In short, a special set worth savoring. But definitely not for everyone.

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  2. 16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Not a folk sea chanty record, but amazing, August 17, 2007
    By 
    Conrad Heiney “ignatzmous” (Newport Beach, CA United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys (Audio CD)

    Those familiar with Hal Wilner’s mad genius won’t expect a traditional set of sea songs from this compilation. Apologies to those who did; I see a lot of negative reviews from people who expected something more like the excellent Smithsonian/Folkways collection.

    Willner & company have done it again, though. The genuinely eclectic set of performers and styles are typical of his work and as good as ever. If you enjoyed “Stay Awake” or “Lost in the Stars” this one is gold.

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  3. 12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A Motley Crew, August 21, 2007
    This review is from: Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys (Audio CD)

    As someone who has long been interested in folk music, maritime history, and piracy, I was intrigued by this attempt to compile an accessible collection of traditional sea songs, pitched at today’s listeners.

    ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ is certainly a very mixed bag, both in terms of the material selected, and the way in which it is performed. Some of the songs (for example ‘Fathom the Bowl’) are not especially nautical in flavour, although given the subject matter (in this case, the joys of convivial drinking) they would surely have been sung by seafarers down the centuries. Many of the commentators below have picked up on the fact that most of the treatments fail to reflect the usual requirements of the genre, and are inferior to more ‘traditional’ interpretations. To my mind, such criticisms miss the point behind this venture. The object was to assemble a motley crew of performers, some of them famous, others less so, and allow them to give their own spin on a batch of hallowed sea songs.

    Not surprisingly, the results are variable. To be sure, some the songs are terrible: ironically, shanties that were intended to ease the labours of shipboard life here become very hard work indeed. However, there are many other tracks where the performers come up with original interpretations which not only add something new, but also (and this is surely the real point) stay true to the spirit of the originals.

    Of the ‘celebrity’ contributors, I’d single out Bryan Ferry for his atmospheric renditions of ‘The Cruel Ship’s Captain’, and ‘Lowlands Low’. Of the rest, Baby Cramps turns in two excellent tracks (‘Cape Cod Girls’, and ‘Old Man of the Sea’), while Gavin Friday’s ‘Baltimore Whores’ and Joseph Arthur’s ‘Coast of High Barbary’ both convey an authentic sense of menace.

    So, despite the occasional duds, there are some fine performances here, and even purists should at least give this compilation a chance.

    By the way, anyone who wants to hear ‘traditional’ shanties sung in context could do a lot worse than watch John Huston’s evocative film of ‘Moby Dick’.

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