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Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again

It's interesting how wedding planning has prompted me to reach out in directions I never would have imagined. In trying to decide on an appropriate song for the father-daughter dance, I thought about one of my dad's favorite musicians, Stan Rogers, whose albums made up a good part of the soundtrack of my childhood. I hadn't thought about Stan Rogers in a long time, but I remembered his deep, rich voice and some of his songs, particularly a tune called "Northwest Passage," about journeying through Canada in the footsteps of the great early explorers. 

My dad's Stan Rogers collection is all on records, so after he suggested a few songs that he thought might make good dance songs, I went to my usual online sources to review Stan Rogers' discography. It was fascinating, because it made me realize how little I knew about him previously - to me he was a beautiful voice from my childhood, someone I thought maybe only my dad knew about, but in fact, Stan Rogers was one of the most famous singer-songwriters in Canada! And according to Wikipedia, "Northwest Passage" is one of the classic songs in Canadian music history - the Canadian Prime Minister even quoted the lyrics in a 2006 speech! 
Intrigued, I found myself at the excellent official website for Stan Rogers, which allowed me to listen to many of the old songs I hadn't heard in years, a truly wonderful experience - I was particularly excited by my rediscovery of "The Mary Ellen Carter," an uplifting tune about salvaging a sunken ship that speaks to overcoming difficult circumstances, always one of my favorite musical themes. Wikipedia tells a great story about how this song actually helped someone survive after a shipwreck - how's that for the power of music?! 

Returning to my search for the father-daughter dance, I decided that I wanted to ask the opinion of Stan Rogers fans about what song might be most appropriate, but the fan message board was down. I had read that Stan's widow, Ariel Rogers, was still involved in their record company, and I found that her email was readily available on the website, so I decided to ask her if she had any recommendations. I wasn't sure if she would email me back, but I decided that it was worth a try, and how cool would it be for a music geek like me if I actually heard back from her?! Well, I wouldn't be sharing this story if I hadn't heard back from her, and in fact, she responded very quickly, with a couple of song suggestions and good wishes for our marriage - I was so touched! I'm still undecided about the song, but you can bet that email from Ariel Rogers will be going in the wedding planning scrapbook once this is all over.

And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken
And life about to end
No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend
Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

- "The Mary Ellen Carter", Stan Rogers



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 8th, 2011 08:02 am (UTC)
Very intereresting reading. thx

Apr. 14th, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
Great writing! I want you to follow up to this topic!?!

Nov. 2nd, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
Great, I never knew this, thanks.

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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