The Whiksey Bards return to the studio for a mix of drinking, fighting, and even Holiday Cheers. While some of the songs are standards you many know done in the Whiskey Bard idiom, most of the songs are originals offered here for the first time ever! Come join the Whiskey Bards for jolly good fun as they celebrate life and jolly spirits good for all seasons.
Want to read some reviews? Here are some to check out from some earlier albmus:
Women, Whiskey, & War
"One of my family's favorites., July 1, 2006
By BH Pearl "endkaos" (Scottsdale, Arizona, USA)
If you enjoy tight harmonies that the whole family can sing along with, then you'll enjoy this CD. I bought this CD directly from the artists and was playing in in my car cd's player. My boys loved it. They began to sing along. My husband even enjoyed it and began to sing along.
The harmonies are tight, the lyrics fun and music catchy. I would recommend this CD to everyone, including those new to this genre.
Genre: A Capella traditional and faire-style pirate songs.
Target Audience: Late teens to early retirement
"How do you define courage? There are many ways – far more than I care to get into at this time. But if I were truly put to task to come up with a single, all-encompassing definition, it might include four gentlemen singling “Bell Bottom Trousers” in the first person. Hearing their manly voices belt out lyrics regarding “he layed me on the bed until my blue eyes turned to brown” is both amusing and off-setting. An odd, odd creative choice, and in this way, quite memorable and worthwhile.
On their album The Recruiter… Free Rum Ain’t Free, the Whiskey Bards venture forth more than once into gender-bending fields, although “Bell Bottom Trousers” is by far their boldest effort. However, lest you think this album is a tome of cross-dressing daintiness, let me set the record straight. Not only will you find many traditional favorites – all sung in an easy-on-the-ears, lyrical manner, and (with exception of “Bell Bottom Trousers”) appropriately gendered. Included are Henry Martin, Fireship, The Derelict, and several more. But as anyone who’s familiar with the Whiskey Bards knows, it’s their original work that truly stands out.
We begin with the album’s titular track, “The Recruiter… Free Rum Ain’t Free”, being a cautionary tale told in a somewhat more lighthearted manner than one might expect, even delving into the upsides of getting shanghai’d to sea. As with many of their songs, the various singers are well varied in character – of particular note is the Scottish accent of one of the singers, which leads a period-appropriate yet humorous quality to many of these bits. “Great to be a Pirate” comes next, also of the light-hearted variety, which is enjoyably in contrast with the lyrics that repeadedly wind up at the gallows. “Devilish Mary” is an energetic yet oh-so-sinister song about a woman scorned (these never end well – at least not for the one who didst the scorning.)
“Drunken Billy” and “Smoother Waters” are two more enjoyable original tracks that also follow in the Whiskey Bards fun-loving vein, but “Pirate Lullaby” sees them depart from their typical upbeat nature to take a more somber approach. It’s a lovely song, and the soft, deep tone it follows plays remarkably well. “Life of a Privateer” marks a return to their usual approach, being a lively song about serving various nations in times of war. I could complain that the final cannon blast of this song sounds more like a toilet flushing, but I won’t because it amuses me. The album’s final song, appropriately titled “Final Journey” is again slower, more poetic piece, and very good indeed.
The majority of The Recruiter… Free Rum Ain’t Free is sung a capella, with some occasional guitar work thrown in for good measure. From beginning to end it provides a highly enjoyable listen. For the most part the vocal quality is on the friendly side, lacking the graveliness that often suits the pirate medium so well, and as a result the album can sound somewhat “harmless” upon first listen. But I found it quickly grew on me, especially as I listened more directly to the lyrics. That said, I would make a point of recommending the Whiskey Bards non-pirate (but pirate-friendly) album Bottoms Up – being a much more risque project in which their “friendly” (and sometimes Scottish) voices are put to hilarious effect."
"Yar! I be doing this review in pirate talk, for this album be -- *hack cough cough*
Fine, I'm not going to do the entire review in pirate talk. You try it; it's hard. It's hard even to get in the mindset. But the Whiskey Bards manage to hold the pirate's mindset, and talk the sailor's talk, and do it all in rhyme, for an entire hefty album titled The Recruiter ... & Free Rum Ain't Free. Not an album of tired old filks and standard issue sailing songs, either; more than half the songs here are originals, and the traditional numbers are often unusual enough to sound new even to old filk and folk song fans.
The Whiskey Bards may or may not be real pirates; but they are sure fearless enough. It's not many all-male pirate bands who'll deliver a romantic ballad like "Bell Bottom Trousers," a sort of "Navy Blues" for the pirate crowd, sung from a serving wench's perspective. They can get romantic on their own accord, of course, so long as it's in metaphor, and besides being funny, their tales of love have some of the canniest lines. They're not afraid to spill a few gallons of blood in battle, either, though of course they'd rather stick with rum aboard Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Derelict."
But the Bards are at their best when they're doing a bard's job, being canny and wise. They know how to warn a sailor of "The Recruiter" while using his rum-handed methods, and they have the latest gossip on the dangers of the sea, like "Devilish Mary." Their lessons don't come with lyric sheets, so it's as well that they sing clear and loud, if a touch plain. There's very little in the way of instrumentation to cover up the singing, and nothing about the Bards' performance is elaborate or in the least bit fancy. Nonetheless, they're possessed of a rare appeal. The Bards' voices aren't bad, the songs are all terrible good fun to sing and they are obviously having great good fun singing them -- and The Recruiter is looking for people to join the party. I'd advise taking the offer next time the drinks come round."
by Sarah Meador
12 August 2006
from No Quarter Given magazine, Vol. XIV, No. 2 - Nov/Dec 2007
"Hang on hard for a merry & risque time with the Whiskey Bards in Bottoms Up. The album comes with an Adult Content Advisory Warning (I'm sure this alone will compel many of you to get this album). However, these lads sing with such infections enjoyment that the "adult content" never comes across in a rude manner. It's all in fun, and we, the listeners, are invited to the party.
The portrait of the Whiskey Bards on the cover gives an intro to the musical contents: one beefy lad in milkmaid drag, another in a flamboyant purple doublet with a foot-long codpiece, a tall one in nothing but a hat, and the last one in a sheep suit. This same variety in character comes out in their singing as well.
The only song on the album with a nautical background is the traditional shanty "Maid of Amsterdam". Not one of the most graphic versions I've run across, but a litle more ribald than most published versions.
Despite the lack of a salty nature to the rest of the songs they are mostly about drinking and wenching, so I'm sure most of you'll be able to find something to enjoy here.
Only five of the selections are "traditional". The rest are modern compositions (several by the Bards themselves), so there's plenty here you might not be familiar with. With a good variety of styles, sounds, and individual characters, you'll not get bored with it sounding all the same. Some fun sound effects are thrown in, but they aren't overdone.
My favorite, "The Sheep", is not nautical, but is very funny & infections, complete with a fairly good Scottish accent.
"Deformed Farm" is a hilarious send-up of "Old MacDonald". It is so politically incorrect,yet sweetly done.
Despite my having pointed out the tunes involving the livestock, let me not lead you astray. There are songs aplenty about various parts of the human anatomy, milkmaids, lusty smiths, troopers, and various other human ne'er-do-wells.
Almost an hour of bawdy, ribald, lusty antics makes this an album most pirates will enjoy, despite the lack of piratical subject matter. The Bards don't come across as a bunch of rowdy drunken salty types, but more as lute-wielding troubadours. More evoking Danny Kaye rather than Robert Newton. However, all the lyrics are sung very clearly, with a lot of fun, and a lot of winking and nudging. This album's well worth the doubloons asked for it.
We favorably reviewed their earlier "The Recruiter...Free Run ain't Free" [Nov. 06]. Let me also recommend their first album, "Women, WHiskey, & War". Overall it's not very piratical but it does include the shanties "Drunken Sailor" and
"Whiskey-O" (both with hilarious new additional verses), along with several other rum-soaked (well, actually whiskey-soaked) and lusty selections. Much for a pirate to enjoy."