Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys

8467Son of Rogues, the second installment of pirate ballads and sea shanties thrown together by Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski, has a very robust and eccentric mix of artists contributing to the project. It’s fairly obvious that a wide scope of relevant artists were sought out to make this project complete. What’s not so clear however, is whether the majority of these artists really took it seriously. It’s difficult to judge whether it’s the overall banality of sea shanties or the all too literal direction most artists took that sink this album. Whatever the cause may be, it’s an utter disappointment from an album that could seriously have potential.

Possibly the most frustrating aspect of this album is that the tracks that should have stood out as outstanding are often times the least interesting. The biggest example of this comes from “Shenandoah” by Tom Waits and Keith Richards. Considering this track was recorded by the last two probable descendants of the classic pirate, it had the most potential of all the tracks. The result however is an overwhelmingly boring, somber ode. Personally, I love precisely this sort of track from Tom Waits, but in this instance it feels so unconnected. It seems very much as though his heart is not in it. I might attribute this to the fact that he’s a very busy musician, constantly working on new material.

The standout tracks on this album seem to be credited to the opposite. The musicians we don’t hear much from, or the more obscure. Macy Gray for example, delivers one of the finest songs on the album. “Off To Sea Once More” is one of the few tracks that feel developed. The track actually feels as though it were given the Macy Gray treatment. She clearly spent time on it, and it in turn stands out.

That seems to exactly be the problem with themed albums. Theme work incredibly well when it’s one artist invested in the idea, tackling it from all angles. Theme albums just do not work if they are strung together by a producer reaching out to several artists. Their focus is almost always elsewhere. The lack of passion is all too evident. Add to this, the sheer length of the album and one is left with a crtical problem. At 36 songs it is entirely too long. It’s hard keeping interest after 5 songs, and with so many to boot it’s asking a hell of a lot from the listener.

Disc 1

Leaving of Liverpool (Shane MacGowan w/Johnny Depp & Gore Verbinski)
Sam’s Gone Away (Robyn Hitchcock)
River Come Down (Beth Orton)
Row Bullies Row (Sean Lennon w/Jack Shit)
Shenandoah (Tom Waits w/Keith Richards)
Mr. Stormalong (Ivan Neville)
Asshole Rules the Navy (Iggy Pop w/A Hawk and a Hacksaw)
Off to Sea Once More (Macy Gray)
The Ol’ OG (Ed Harcourt)
Pirate Jenny (Shilpa Ray w/Nick Cave & Warren Ellis)
The Mermaid (Patti Smith & Johnny Depp)
Anthem for Old Souls (Chuck E. Weiss)
Orange Claw Hammer (Ed Pastorini)
Sweet and Low (The Americans)
Ye Mariners All (Robin Holcomb & Jessica Kenny)
Tom’s Gone to Hilo (Gavin Friday and Shannon McNally)
Bear Away (Kenny Wollesen & The Himalayas Marching Band)

Disc 2

Handsome Cabin Boy (Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention)
Rio Grande (Michael Stipe & Courtney Love)
Ship in Distress (Marc Almond)
In Lure of the Tropics (Dr. John)
Rolling Down to Old Maui (Todd Rundgren)
Jack Tar on Shore (Dan Zanes w/Broken Social Scene)
Sally Racket (Sissy Bounce (Katey Red & Big Freedia) with Akron/Family)
Wild Goose (Broken Social Scene)
Flandyke Shore (Marianne Faithfull w/Kate & Anna McGarrigle)
The Chantey of Noah and his Ark (Old School Song) (Ricky Jay)
Whiskey Johnny (Michael Gira)
Sunshine Life for Me (Petra Haden w/Lenny Pickett)
Row the Boat Child (Jenni Muldaur)
General Taylor (Richard Thompson w/Jack Shit)
Marianne (Tim Robbins w/Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs)
Barnacle Bill the Sailor (Kembra Phaler w/Antony/Joseph Arthur/Foetus)
Missus McGraw (Angelica Huston w/The Weisberg Strings)
The Dreadnought (Iggy Pop & Elegant Too)
Then Said the Captain to Me (Two Poems of the Sea) (Mary Margaret O’Hara)

Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys, reviewed by Daniel G on 2013-03-13T03:56:45-07:00 rating 2.0 out of 5

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