Review: Pegleg Tango - Captain Bogg & Salty

PeglegTango.jpgLet's see... rock songs with not a little bit of theatricality. Lots of nautical themes. Band out of Portland, Oregon. We're talking about the Decemberists, right?

Well, not exactly. Pegleg Tango, released in 2005, is the second album from the Portland-based group Captain Bogg & Salty. Captain Bogg & Salty has been playing pirate-themed rock and pop for kids and adults since 1999. Unlike Monty Python's famous short film appended to the start of The Meaning of Life, The Crimson Permanent Assurance, which applied the themes of the business world to a pirate movie structure, Pegleg Tango more often applies themes of pirate life to a rock/pop song structure.

Musically, the six-piece band appropriates a number of different styles on the 39-minute disk -- gorgeous pop on the midtempo "Sea Monster," theatrical Decemberists-esque storytelling on "Scallywagg," or the '50s rock rave up "Pirate Party," to name just three. The theatrical background of the band (many of them with musical theater or sketch comedy backgrounds) comes through most noticeably on songs such as "I'm A Pirate," which interrupts its surf-rock tune to do an amusing "Wide World of Sports" riff, or "Sea Kings," an Elvis-like slow pop tune featuring a spoken-word interlude by the clearly demented Captain Bogg himself.

If you're looking for true pirate songs, I have a feeling you'd be a little disappointed by the disk, which only has 3 or 4 songs which I would consider shanty-like. Lyrically, however, even the most modern tunes have a very piratical focus, alternating between the boredom of life at sea (and what's done to alleviate that boredom) and the excitement of plundering. Frankly, the only parts of the disk that I didn't care for very much were the 3 audio sketches, and that was mostly for the fact that audio level on those was so much quieter than the music that it made it hard to listen to.

Kids love pirates, though without the visuals, I think the CD itself would appeal most to kids age 5 through 9. You can listen some sound clips at the band's website here or more here.

There are those of you for whom listening to pirate music would be akin to walking the plank. (What, you didn't think I'd make at least one pirate reference here?) You should stay away from this. But for the rest of us, even though the captain is slightly deranged, the journey on Captain Bogg & Salty's Pegleg Tango is an enjoyable one. Recommended.