Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers 'Yo Ho Ho It's a Pirates Christmas' - Self-Release

Continuing the theme of his recent recordings talented all-rounder Tom Mason is still very much in pirate mode for this Christmas album. A genre that has produced some turkeys in the past and one much used as a marketing tool in country music circles. This one however reads less on the sentiment scale and more on fun and festivity side of things. It is a mix of original songs and arrangements of old tunes that include Come O Come Emmanuel, I Saw Three Ships, We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Auld Lang Syne. All are delivered with a buccaneering spirit that uplifts and brings a smile to the face and a tap to the toe. There are three instrumentals delivered in a more understated acoustic mode that is both satisfying and subtle. 

The band is captained by Tom Mason on guitar, dobro and vocals and they are in fine form and they have made a album that not only fits the season but is one that bears repeated playing and will return to my player over the next few years. It should find favour with folk, roots and also perhaps with Pogues fans. It has a energy that is infectious. Something that is often much needed this time of the year.

Long may these pirates last and its a pity they can't also rule the airwaves as much as their antecedents ruled the waves.

Tom Mason 'The Blue Buccaneer' Gas Station

Subtitled Songs Inspired by the Golden Age of Pirates and topical with the success of the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise this sets of songs makes a companion set of songs to those found on Rogues' Gallery, the multi-artist compilation double CD. On Tom's last album Alchemy he had a track called Pirate Song and here he expands that theme into a full album of what I assume are self written songs though it's not clear from the album notes who wrote what. But either way this is simply a great album from start to finish even if you might thing that the theme is a limited one. The album does, without a doubt, stay true to it's course with lyrics, melodies and a buccaneering spirit ensconced in that aforementioned golden age but it's all done with panache and style. Above all it's a joyous album in the same way that the Pogues music is with its sense of community and the living of life to the full. Tom Mason is a very talented player well able to turn his skills to several styles of music at the drop of a hat (or bandana). Here he plays guitar, mandolin, accordion, trombone, dobro and banjo as well as delivering assured and accomplished lead vocals. He is joined on the vocal front by numerous friends including Peter Cooper, Eric Brace, Mark Miller, Pru Clearwater and longtime companion Phil Lee. The Nashville musician pool also delivers such renowned players as bassist Lorne Rall and drummer Paul Griffith as a dexterous rhythm section to underpin these songs with a solid foundation. But the over-riding sense here is a contemporary album that is a much fun as it is musically compelling. Tom Mason has made an album is a worthy credit to his talent as an all round music and entertainer. That's the right word as this is an entertaining album that made me smile and made me want to listen to it again. By its nature it draws on several cliches but it surpasses any doubts with its sheer vitality and modern day pirate spirit.