Financially backed by cinematic pirates Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski, skipper Hal Wilner ventures again into the stormy waters of the modern sea shanty in the company of a cast of able deckhands and gnarled old seadogs.
It was the failure of Shane McGowan, Keith Richards and Tom Waits to actually make it aboard volume one – having been among the first to sign up – that inspired the successor, but their contributions are among the least here, even if McGowan's Leaving of Liverpool makes a rousing opener. Depp plays more Richards-style guitar than Keef, and Patti Smith, Marianne Faithfull, Marc Almond, Iggy Pop, Sean Lennon and Dr John provide some of the best of the vocals. Wilner has produced superb albums of the music of Weill, Monk and Disney in the past, but here the concept is considerably more elastic and embraces vintage Zappa alongside newer tunes that lack much tang of ozone. There is some very fine playing, with the Scaliwag String Quartet and the house band, Jack S**t (drummer Pete Thomas, bassist Davey Faragher, guitarist Val McCallum and Neil Larsen on keys) providing superb and versatile accompaniment.
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