The Brobdingnagian Bards

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This album has a little bit of everything that the Brobdingnagian Bards do -- the autoharp and recorder instrumentals, the comedy, the teasing sketches, and the serious ballads as well. It makes a nice introduction for new listeners, while it's likely to remind long-term fans of their favorite Renaissance festivals. "Swift Dining" is a wonderfully upbeat instrumental, lilting, cheerful, and likely to get listeners whistling along. "Happily Ever After" is a tale with an impish tongue-in-cheek twist and a manic pace. (Listeners may recognize its inspiration story, The Paperbag Princess.) Yes, Marc Gunn and Andrew McKee can be gleefully funny! While the "Million Ducats" parody has some technical flaws, as there's places where they talk over each other, still it's full of amusing Ren Faire quips. On the ballad side, "A Begging I Will Go" is the anthem of a contented rascal, as is the waggish "A Prudent Thief," whose clever lyrics are by Cindy Vanous. Parents of young children and those with squeamish stomachs may wish to remember that "Tom Lehrer's Irish Ballad" is unabashedly gruesome and go for the fast forward over that one. But if dark humor is to your taste (pun intended), then turn it up. Tracks like "Liquid Sunshine" and "Gypsy Rover" round out the album with some melodic vocals and love songs. Good work, Bards! We'll be looking for more of this.

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