Salt Sea Pirates have existed since 1987, formed by Cap'n Lightnin' Jack who began his piratical music career performing live sea shanty sing-outs at Pirates Cove in Josephine, Alabama.
The band's first CD, "Grog n' Gunpowder," (see reviews below) generally leans toward the traditional side of seafaring oriented music. But, the wind is changing! Salt Sea Pirates are in the recording studio now recording a new cd. Keep a weather ear out for it.
For booking Salt Sea Pirates or a sea shanty sing-out contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Grog n'Gunpowder Reviews
"Some of the shanties seem to be recorded by the song writers in the 17-1800's and except for the great sound, you'd swear they were. Salt Sea Pirates gives these older songs that don't get much "wear" a new life without taking away their oldtime atmosphere. Pick up this CD. If you love good shanties performed well with old instruments, then this is pyrate gold. Grog n'Gunpowder is sharp, professional, enjoyable and is everything good storytelling music is about." From The Pyrates Way Magazine Pyrate CD Review by Steve "The Black Fox" Kimball... Five Parrots!
Salt Sea Pirates: Grog n' Gunpowder No Quarter Given Magazine Review
These musicians sound just like their name, Salt Sea Pirates … as if they’ve been plundering the salt sea till their skin is tanned and leathery, their gait is rolling and swaggering, and their eyes reflect the strange stars they’ve seen in the Southern Seas. The singing is crusty, gravelly, and gruff. They sound like some down-on-their-luck sailor lads hanging outside a dockside tavern singin’ and playin’ fer drinkin’ coin, and not like some citified yahoos playing pirate on the weekends. Appropriately their names are Cap’n Lightning Jack, Onthee Uproal, Slick Silver, and Chane Schot.
In Grog n Gunpowder their sparse & melancholy instrumentation is just as salty: mostly guitars, mandolin, bongos, and a button accordion sounding like a squeezebox. The musical mix is different throughout – quite a melee of moods. I was transported to ramshackle wooden docks in Virginia, creaking decks under a tropical sun, packed pubs full of smelly drunken sailors, and mist-filled bayous. There were echoes of the whistling wind and waves crashing on foreign shores.
Things start off slow, with “We’ll Rant and We’ll Roar”. I’ve heard much better renditions. But it works well to set you up for “Fifteen Men on a Deadman’s Chest”, easily my favorite on this album. Though I’ve heard this song hundreds of times, in many different ways, I perk up every time I hear this version. Bongos and accordion at a brisk pace, and a slightly different tune than is usual (with a nice instrumental rift) makes for something very different from other interpretations. Be sure n’ keep an ear perked at the end there (“yes, dearie”).
“Waitin’ For the Day” is another slow piece, but it builds in a hypnotic way that really pulls you in. Then it hands you over to a fun and infectious rendition of “Whale of a Tale”. After this rolling wave crests out, it drops you into “Larry Marr”. The haunting mandolin paints a picture of sitting in the twilight on a porch along the Virginia Lowlands, as the fireflies play in the mists. Then “Charlie Mops” pulls ya into the midst of a packed pub, reeking of spilled beer, roaring with laughter, and full of friendly faces.
In “Row Bullies Row” the instrumental background is a quiet, delicate mandolin tune blending well with the gruff yet tender singing of Cap’n Lighting Jack, giving a haunting lullaby treatment of this shanty. If you are lulled to sleep by the previous song, the bouncy rhythms of “Eliza Lee” will certainly wake ya up agin. Next, “Jack Tar” is a rollickin’ traditional tune about a sailor’s experiences ashore.
“Banks of Scicilly” [sic – no one claimed pirates could spell] is an ode to the weary Scots preparing to leave Sicily during WWII. Though it’s about a fairly modern event, the sound and mood fits right in with the rest of the album.
Finally, bongos and various sound effects are used to good purpose in “Congo River”, a traditional shanty about the slave trade in West Africa. As the crew rows hard away out of range of the gunshots, cannon, and shouting, the music fades off and leaves us.
The songs here have all been around the corner a time ‘r two, so you might be in familiar waters with many of them, but the Salt Sea Pirates perform them in ways that makes the water change colors, and the wind smell different. Grog n Gunpowder is not just “another” shanty collection. For an authentic, traditional, yet imaginative experience, this album is well worth the doubloons they ask fer it.
Review by C. M. Lampe