Sunday, July 1, 2012

Valparaiso Men's Chorus "The Straits of St Claude"

Alerted to the existence of this bunch of alcohol-fuelled degenerates (the centre of their social universe is apparently Saturn Bar on New Orleans St. Claude Avenue, hence the Straits of St. Claude) while trying to dig up some hard information about leader Alex McMurray, the concept of a bunch of New Orleans musos playing the likes of Bound for South Australia piqued my curiosity, and this collection of fifteen sea shanties is rapidly working its way up the play count on Hughesy’s iTunes.

Now, you might look at this and give the whole concept a quick Why bother? but there’s a simple answer to that question.

There have been any number of variations on the get a bunch of inebriates to roar into singalong mode with lyrics that’ll attract an Explicit tag in the iTunes Store, but there aren’t too many that have an instrumental backing that’s straight out of the New Orleans second line. Alex McMurray’s Tin Men provide the nucleus of the backing, with washboard. sousaphone, penny whistle and accordion prominent, along with the mandatory trombone in the instrumentation and close to twenty voices in the chorus.

X-rated sea shanties meets a New Orleans marching band. What’s not to like?

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