the Mad Maggies

Skull & Magpies – 2009

Our third album inspired by the high seas and piratical riff-raff with 12 salty-flavoured tunes.
“It’s a hit!” — N. Kotsaris.
skull and magpies disc

Recorded by Wally Sound, Oakland, California. Analog, 2 inch tape, 16 track.
Mastered by J. J Golden, Ventura, California.
Cover and disc illustrations by illustrator and fine artist, Dale Horstman.


  1. Seaborne — open sea ska
  2. For the Love of Pete — a sea-going adventure, celtic, pop, swing hybrid
  3. Navigate — to see where you are take a look at the stars
  4. Dark Matters — ska/swing
  5. High Seas Lament — slow and sad, the ocean’s edge stretches wide ahead
  6. The Folly of Fame — a Black Sea rogue
  7. Sandglass — atmospheric, times past
  8. Rough Music — ballad of a roving man and a discontented crew*
  9. Morning Star — mad maggiefied traditional reel
  10. Fair Winds — love
  11. Il y a un Bal — cajunesque
  12. Where to Next? — ska, reminiscent of bluebeat**

Our star whistle player, Rhian describes our sound on this album as “the Specials duking it out with the Chieftains”.

JJ Golden did his sound mastering magic. Fine artist and illustrator, Dale Horstman created spectacular images for the cover and disc. The very talented Jonathan Segel (Camper Van Beethoven, Chaos Butterfly) helped with the mix down at Wally’s. This is our third CD recorded, engineered and mixed at Wally Sound because, besides being a pleasure to work with, he gives excellent sound. We went analog again — 2 inch tape to 1/4 inch to digital master.

*”Rough Music” — when sailors were unhappy with they way they were being treated they would make noise at nighttime on the lower decks by rolling cannonballs (shot), banging iron objects together etc. These sounds are called “rough music” and were a warning to the captain and officers that the sailors’ discontent could turn to mutiny.

**”Where to Next” –This tune is reminiscent of Blue Beat ska. Blue Beat Records was a label in Jamaica in the 60s which featured R&B and ska. The name became associated with a style of ska.

The Just Plain Folks Awards 2017 honored Skull & Magpies with a nomination.
Cajun Song: Il y a un Bal – Skull & Magpies

In all, we have received 7 nominations spanning 4 albums from JPF. Our tunes made it through 18 months of screening by dozens of judges culling 17,400 albums and 240,000 songs from all over the world. Wow!