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Showing posts from 2018

Voices From Beyond the Grave: Mad Jack Percival and Patience Cobb the Planter

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As some may know, I've been working on and off for many years on a genealogy, biography, and memoir of my great-grandfather the sea captain, William Ernest Parker of Yarmouth, NS and Lynn, MA. This maritime ghost story is an excerpt from that memoir that splices one strand of my own maritime heritage to my love for Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution. ______________________________
Captain William Parker's family first came to Canada as New England Planters in 1761. Daniel Parker Jr., his father Daniel Parker Senior, and grandfather Robert Parker all left Tollend, CT for Kings County, Nova Scotia. There they took up land grants vacated by the Acadians in the Great Expulsion (Le Grand Dérangement), which is another story that I tell in my intepretive programs L'Acadie and Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
The Planter Robert Parker was named for his own grandfather, Plymouth colonist Robert Parker (1640-1684) born in Barnstable, MA. This first Robert Parker in America was among the m…

The Ballad and the Backstory: Fact and Fiction in "Constitution’s Last Fight" by James Jeffrey Roche

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Who was this captain's wife? Did she really ask for a British ship for a bridal gift? Was the captain's bride quite satisfied with the one prize laid at her feet?

Far from it. This ballad is a romance, but hardly a historical one. What inspired James Jeffrey Roche to write it in 1895? And why, having composed one of the best and most factual descriptions of a naval battle ever put into poetry, did he whitewash the political machinations of a naval wife who destroyed her husband's career as the first commodore of the Pacific fleet? 






Journalist, author and diplomat James Jeffrey Roche was born in Queens County, Ireland and raised on Prince Edward Island. He attended St. Dunstan's College and moved to Boston in 1866. Roche became assistant editor of The Pilot in 1883, and later published poetry and other literary works, including a biography of John Boyle O'Reilly. He served as editor of THE PILOT, and American Consul in Italy and Switzerland.
The BackstoryThe battle des…

A Backward Glance: What Happened to Your Early Recordings?

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Amazingly, 2017 was the 30th anniversary of Crosscurrents Music, so some of you devoted fans have been loyal for over half my life. Every now and then someone tracks me down to ask where they can buy my CDs or order online. 

Back in 2015, I did a lot of prep toward reissuing my backlist for the 2017 anniversary. The Oasis upload process made me realize that in my callow youth, I recorded an embarrassing number of cover tracks without permission. My only excuses are that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, that I thought of myself back then as a heritage interpreter and not a recording artist, and that my early albums were actually issued before the 1990 invention of the WorldWide Web (!), when awareness of copyright and intellectual property was not what it is today. Fortunately, the press runs were small (500 copies), so if you still have one, they're a collector's item.
I am now committed to recording only traditional/public domain and original material, with a few ex…