Brobdingnagian Bards Marked by Great Size (Mage)
Marked by Great Size (Mage)
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., Oct. 29, 1999
Marked by Great Size (Mage)Since the Brobdingnagian Bards are one of those acts that conveniently skirt categorization, let's just call them "Celtic lo-fi." The autoharp-and-recorder (and occasionally mandolin) duo of Marc Gunn and Andrew McKee is most often found on UT's South Mall weekdays, noon-1pm, but perform just as regularly at coffeehouses, pubs, and street fairs, a kind of Renaissance version of They Might Be Giants. Their debut, Marked by Great Size, features 16 clever and quirky little tunes -- some traditional, some instrumental, some original, and some that tweak the image they evoke. "Satisfied," "None But a Harper," and "O'er the Way" demonstrate their own affinity for traditional British balladry as deftly as traditional tunes such as "The Gypsy Rover" and "A-Begging I Will Go." The Brobdingnagian Bards shine most when their music twinkles with good humor. "If I Had a Million Ducats" parodies the Barenaked Ladies' "If I Had a Million Dollars," while Tom Lehrer's "Irish Ballad" is sung with appropriate panache. Even better are the ren fair staples, "Do Virgins Taste Better" and "The Dragon's Retort," which use the long-suffering tune "Irish Washerwoman" to ponder the age-old questions that every village has to face sometime: Just why do dragons eat virgins? As we go eye-to-eye with a new century, it's reassuring to know Brobdingnagian Bards still take the Y1K problem seriously.