The New Book of Pirate Songs


This is a second edition of the Book of Pirate Songs that Stuart Frank originally published in 1998 and contains 22 additional songs, the majority of the additions being in the category of 'Victorian Parlo[u]r Songs'.  Many of the sources for the songs are British.

The book is split into Five sections: 'The Old Ballads', 'Broadside ballads', 'Women in Buccaneers' Clothing', 'Victorian Parlor Songs', and 'Lyrics from Popular Songsters'.  The final section is an appendix of 'Forebits and Afterthoughts' which it includes, for example, the song Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum, based on the fragment written by Robert Louis Stevenson for Treasure Island.  For most of the readers of this review, I suspect that the greater interest will lie in the 32 songs which comprise the first three sections.  Franks has gone into the background and sources of the songs to some depth and his notes on the songs are interesting and comprehensive.  He has included songs from a number of American sources that will be unfamiliar to readers on the Eastern side of the Atlantic, such as the logs of whaling ships.  He includes Child and Laws numbers but not Roud numbers.

By Stuart Frank, 161 pages

The author, Stuart Frank, is Senior Curator here at the New Bedford Whaling Museum and has written a number of books about the sea, including Jolly Sailors Bold: Ballads and Songs of the American Sailor

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