Issue: October 2003
Lovin' Moonful

The Oyster Boys’ new release offers more Bay-style musical shenanigans.

 

Jeff Holland wants to do some full-moon cruisin’ with you, and you want to jump in the boat and go in the worst sort of way. Such is the effect of his sonorous tones as he croons the title song of the new Oyster Boys CD. Part Frank Sinatra, part Robin Williams, Holland’s lush baritone oozes seductive charm. “Let’s do some full moon cruisin’, we’ll slip away in my canoe / Ride the waves while we bill and coo on our full moon cruise. . . .” The song is reminiscent of the Crab Alley tune “Gunk Holing” (also penned by Holland), only more sophisticated. Small wonder. Holland’s songs just keep getting better. And this newest outpouring from him and stage partner Kevin Brooks delivers what one would expect: A raft of music that tingles with wit and wackiness, but woven this time with a few silver threads that add a deeper sparkle.

    Take song number three: “Hannah and Willie B.” This is the portrait of a waterman, beautifully described by Holland. “Ol’ Willie Brown, he’s still going down to the Bay after all of these years / His hands have been martyred to working the water, the knuckles all knobby and sere / He comes to McNasby’s to market his harvest, his oysters or rockfish or crabs / With his ragged old sweat-stained Orioles cap and Maggie, his old yellow lab.” The song’s lyrical instrumentation elevates it to another realm entirely from the CD’s more rambunctious “Rock Around the Docks” and “Downy Ocean Hon’ “ send-ups of Bill Haley and the Beach Boys, respectively. And then there is Brooks’s sweet take on the traditional favorite “The Water is Wide,” awash with delightful instrumentals from Tom Guay on hammered dulcimer, Randy Neilson on accordion and Cliff Long on pennywhistle.

    But humor flares in “Marina, Marina,” about trying to make slip reservations by radio, and “Schooner Kathryn B” (probably my favorite) about the culinary delights aboard charter yachts. They also offer a rowdy cover of fiddler Steve Keith’s “My Dead Rise, My Flies and My Beer” (from Keith’s Fresh Fish CD).

    The Full Moon Cruisin’ CD is $15. To order call 410-280-3945 or go to www.oysterboys.com.