- Category: Reviews
- Published on Friday, 04 March 2011 16:23
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At first glance The Blue Buccaneer seems to be a pastiche of sea chanteys and forebitters with an over-the-top piratical theme. The artist and performer Tom Mason appears on the CD cover in 16th-century seafaring regalia, exuding pirate attitude and panache. Nothing subtle here. I put the disc into the player and when the first tune (aptly named Pirate Song) began my first response was, Really?? Yet by the end of the tune I was singing along with Mason in spite of myself, pirate accent and all.
As a collection of drinking songs performed in the tradition of European and American folk music, The Blue Buccaneer works. Pirate music is new territory for this Nashville performer, whose other works have been described as Americana and Vaudeville. Vaudeville definitely describes Mason’s opening number, yet as I continued to listen I discovered his prosaic lyrics and burlesque delivery are enhanced and saved from banality through the accompaniment of a variety of instruments including mandolin, dobro, accordion, banjo and violin. Mason himself plays many of these folk instruments himself, and plays them well. The songs that incorporate the violin and accordion are evocative of gypsy or Romanian folk music, and along with the two instrumental tracts, they are my favorites.
The recording and mixing with overdubs result in what sounds like a live performance. Indeed, Tom Mason is probably best experienced live in a Caribbean waterfront tavern or at a summer Renaissance Festival, with your tankard of warm beer in one hand and a greasy turkey haunch in the other.
Yet once I entered Mason’s musical yarn and acknowledged the intentional burlesque, I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a whole the album succeeds in setting a buccaneer mood for a party, voyage or road trip by evoking the romanticized life of the Golden Age of Pirates. If you can suspend your disbelief at the first song, refill your tankard and enjoy the passage, me hearties. Rife with plundering and press gangs, drinking, doldrums, gallows and shipwrecks, here be seafaring clichés well performed. I’ll wager ye’ll not be able to resist singing along.
Linda Collison's second historical novel — Surgeon's Mate — is under contract with Fireship Press. Learn more at http://lindacollison.com/. If you would like to review a music album released within the last 12 months, send your idea to Fyddeye.