The New York Times review, “New Albums From Ray Barretto, M. Ward and Baby Gramps”

by Ben Ratlif, The New York Times; August 20, 2006 Link to full article

Review of the CD, “Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys”

If the new “Pirates of the Caribbean” film has any associative power, this may finally be the public moment for Baby Gramps, an eccentric, seemingly very old (though nobody seems to knows how old) singer and steel-guitar player based in Seattle, with a voice like Popeye after smoking an entire tin of Prince Albert. His performances on “Rogue’s Gallery” (Anti), a two-disc set of sea chanteys produced by Hal Willner, are among the album’s best, and that’s saying a lot: among the other contributors are Sting, Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams, Bono, a gravel-voiced Bryan Ferry, a midnight-voiced Nick Cave, a twee Van Dyke Parks and Bill Frisell with a beautiful guitar track. Chanteys are durable songs, and this turns out to be a strong album with heart as well as ideas: the conscious weirdness doesn’t render it inconsequential.

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