Sunday, March 15, 2015

Review of Outlaws & Bystanders in honor of the Ides of March

Outlaws & Bystanders music -- great go along for studying the Middle Ages!

Today is the Ides of March -- meaning the middle of the Roman month of March, based on the full moon.  It remains in our vocabulary today, March 15, 2015, because it is the anniversary of Julius Caesar's untimely death in 44 BC. 

And as a memorial, I give you a music review of Ken Theriot's Outlaws & Bystanders.  Why this album on this day?  Because it contains the song "Dogs of War" which is based on Mark Anthony's speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.  And it contains 11 other marvelous songs with historical significance.  Well, 10 actually.  One is just for fun, especially if you are an archer in the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Currently my spare time is spent out in nature or writing about it at Pocket Mouse Publishing.  However, I have big plans to line up historical songs (both Ken's and several others in the same musical genre) with the Story of the World series.  Our family is currently in book 2, so Outlaws & Bystanders has been a great go along!

I originally wrote this review a few months ago for an SCA baronial newsletter -- I hope you enjoy Ken's music as much as our family does!


Outlaws and Bystanders, by Ken Theriot
Produced by Raven Boy Music

Is Ken Theriot’s recently released album, Outlaws and Bystanders, our family’s new SCA music favorite?

It might (it might), it might (it might), 
It might, you never know;
It might, it may, it may, it might, 
It could, it might be so.

This chorus from “Men of the Isles” – a humorous Scottish ballad -- is just one of the great variety of musical styles on the album.  Songs such as “Morte d’ Arthur” and “Utopia” have a serious air while “Little Egypt” is a rollicking gypsy dance tune. “Dogs of War” is taken from the speech of Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. 

Some of the songs are easy to locate historically, for example the opening song “Soldier of God” mentions Don Jeronimo in the first verse, and the final song “The Ride of El Cid” says the name of Rodrigo Diaz in the first line.  Both of these songs take place in Spain in 1099.  Other songs like “Queen of Lilies” and “The Dragon” required our family to consult the lyrics and liner notes, available for free pdf download.
Only one song is not historical in nature. “Lament of the Combat Archer” is set at any major SCA event and like “The Feast Song” from Ken’s previous Human History album should bring a good laugh by knights and archers alike.  Speaking of archery, “Robin Hood and the Beggar Knight” and “William Tell” will lift the heart and have you reaching for your bow while you 

Keep your eye clear and keen, Like a falcon on the wing
Keep your heart strong and steady, Like your hand upon the string 

And is Outlaws & Bystanders our family's new SCA music favorite? Yes! However, it will never replace Human History in our hearts!


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