The Chanteyman’s Chronicles: After the Invasion

Ah, the morning after the Fells Point Privateer Day and Baltimore Pirate Invasion. Many sleep-deprived pyrates were awaking, hung over, trying to remember exactly how they wound up where they woke up.

I was the pyrate DD in my car, so I had to limit my rum intake. Taking inventory: Let’s see…there were 2 Smithwick’s at lunch (bought for me by our pal Cap’n Thighbiter from The Brigands), 3 or 4 free shots of Sailor Jerry and ginger sale passed around by our hosts at Bertha’s, then that orange juice and amaretto thingy at dinner at Bertha’s, and that orange juice crush thingy at…where the hell was that? I just remember singing until I was hoarse and being bought a drink and given a wonderful cigar by our friends Tiki and Torch.

Started off the day with greetings and a hearty “well met” between myself and former Pirates for Sail (PfS) bandmates Thudd, Poppet, Kerris, and Maria, as well as Rosie, who now comprise The Vagabonds. This was followed by a couple of beers and lunch with Cap’n Thighbiter and Stringalong Jim.

The most important event of the day was the announcement that our fiddler, Fast Fingers Bryan McCrae, became a daddy just as PfS were going on at Bertha’s. Alaria Bridget Trinkle entered the world at 2:55 pm and came in at 6 pounds even. If ever there were a good reason to miss Privateer Day, Fast Fingers, this was it. The crowd at Bertha’s drank to Alaria’s health and that of her parents and gave out a round of huzzahs.

Singing at Bertha’s is always a treat because the crowd just gets so into it. They sort of have to, because when they enter the bar, the performing area is right friggin’ there in their faces. A lot of old friends and new stopped by, and I think we set a new record for requests, with 2 for “The Derelict” and 3 for “Whiskey in the Jar.” Shout out to Kenny “The Crimson Corsair” Miller, his gorgeous wife Dianna (a.k.a. Velvet), and the infamous Blender Wench, Vicki Bokhari, who stopped by Bertha’s. Vicki and Kenny founded the Baltimore Pirate Invasion pub crawl, which, after six years, has evolved into one of the largest pyrate events on the East Coast. Huzzah!

It was great to have our old PfS bandmate Red Jack join us for drumming—mainly because it saved my poor arm and wrist from having to do it; and, as anyone can tell you, I can’t drum and sing at the same time. There are those who would say I can’t drum or sing separately either, but they don’t say it for long because I usually show ’em the color o’ their insides if they do.

Avoiding a repeat of last year’s mussels tragedy, I avoided Bertha’s signature dish altogether and discovered they make one hell of a cheeseburger (my lunch) and a completely awesome chef salad (my dinner) with homemade dressing. I can now eat at Bertha’s again and not experience that special moment when one’s body rejects bivalves.

I’m always entertained by The Brigands; they are simply one of the best live pyrate bands around, and four of the decentest pyrates you’d ever hope to meet. We were honored when they invited us onstage to do a couple of numbers with them. At dinner, they paid our own Black Dog Nate a high compliment, noting that his rendition of “The Derelict” on our CD, Band on the Rum (Have I mentioned it’s available on CDBaby and iTunes?) is the best they’ve ever heard. I have to agree; I think it’s one of the best cuts on the CD.

We missed a lot of the pub crawl (Apologies to The Crimson Corsair for not making it to the venue where I had promised to sing “Professional Pirate” from Muppet Treasure Island. I got waylaid and sidetracked on my way there. Beer, rum, and friends were calling from every tavern and public house.). But Stringalong, Flint, Azure Skye, Misty Blaze, and Skippy the Wonder Pirate (incognito for the night as Brian Hamilton) finally caught up with former Pirates for Sail bandmate Dallas Valley of The Ship’s Company Chanteymen; Capt’n Torch and his First Mate Tiki, who provided the aforementioned drink and cigar; Kyrin Krause; Katie Leonard (a.k.a. Mouse), and a bunch of other friends, old and new. Also got to sing “Barrett’s Privateers” with some of the crew from HMS Bounty.

With voices strained and our spirits lifted, we departed Fell’s Point with a vow to return and do it all again next year. Our only regret? That we always miss seeing someone. There’s just no way to meet up with all of one’s pyrate brethren in one day and night. Nonetheless, this event is a grand kick off to the pirate season for both festival pyrates and historical reenactors. Pirates for Sail have been there one way or another every year, and we wouldn’t miss it. Huzzahs all the way around!