Captain Bogg & Salty, Emphatical Piratical (Scabbydisc, 2009)

Captain Bogg & Salty are a band of musical pirates from Portland, Oregon. I don't know if they get out on the high seas much, but they draw crowds in clubs and libraries around Portland, and have built up an equally receptive following among children and adults. Both lead roles (Salty is the swab) are played by Loren Hoskins, who co-writes most of the songs with First Mate McGraw (Kevin Hendrickson, lead guitar, who also doubles as Chucklehead Pete the cabin boy). Contributions come from the whole band, though, including Sunny Jim the cook (Paul Ianotti, keyboards), Buckle the gunner (Andy Lindberg, guitar), Mr. Filibuster the hammock stretcher (Lucas Haley, bass), and Ramshackle the carpenter (Dave Owen, drums). They have made four albums, including the just-released Emphatical Piratical.

If you're looking for historical accuracy, or a serious discourse on pirate life, you've come to the wrong place. As the Captain himself states in the opening song and title track (sung to the tune of the can-can song), "We are pirates of the make-believing kind. We are pirates of the type you HOPE to find!" Given recent events off the Somali coast, I suppose that is an important distinction. The mail is delivered by a seal, the sea monsters are friendly and like to play, and the band shares Frogg Island with natives who call themselves the Bamboo Maroon. These natives worship a giant purple tiki who never says anything, but is evidently a very good listener. The musical style is mostly mid-tempo rock with a predictably Caribbean flavor, although there's also a fun surf rock instrumental called "The Plank Walker" and a rocking cover of "Never Smile at a Crocodile" from Disney's Peter Pan.

So in case you haven't figured it out, Captain Bogg & Salty specialize in some very silly but fun nautical mayhem. The band/crew do a fine job making songs that even most adults will find themselves singing along with. Kids who are into pirates will love Emphatical Piratical. Adults who act like children where pirates are concerned will like this as well. But if you're the kind of person who'd puzzle over how a pirate ship could be piloted by a secondary crew of bunny rabbits when the main crew goes to bed, you might find this a bit beneath you.

Overall grade: A-

reviewed by Scott

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