Russ Franzen Great Lakes History in Song

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Great Lakes Waters

This album is dedicated to the many volunteers who keep the history of the lighthouses along the Great Lakes alive.

The Keeper of the Light. The inspiration for this song came from Elizabeth Whitney Williams' autobiography. She was Keeper at Beaver Island and Little Traverse Lighthouses and wrote eloquently about living and working in a remote island lighthouse.

Pet Rocks to the Rescue. In 1977, the folks in Grand Marais, MI sent a message to Washington. The good folks at The Great Lakes Pilot reminded me of the story when they wrote about it. It was one of those stories that cried out to be made into a song.

The Park at the Corner is my tribute to the Navin Field Grounds Crew, volunteers who keep baseball history alive in Detroit at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull. My wife and I were early to the annual gathering of the Mayo Smith Society a couple of years ago, so we took a side trip to Michigan and Trumbull so she could see where Tiger Stadium was. I expected to see weeds and garbage. Instead, I saw a field cut, garbage-free and ready to play ball. A flag flew from the flagpole. That evening, during the Tigers game, I wrote this song.

Songs on this album celebrate the histories of four lighthouses, Crisp Point, McGulpin Point, St. Helena Island, and Mission Point, that were in danger of destruction but have been lovingly restored by the Crisp Point Light Historical Society, Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Assn., and Old Mission Historical Society.

Whenever I stand along a Lake Erie, Huron, or Superior shore, I imagine what it might have been like for the local Native American tribes to see The Griffin, the first ship on the Great Lakes.

Mail By The Pail. One of the most famous lake boats isn't a laker, but the J.W. Westcott II, the mail boat that operates out of Detroit. They no longer use a rowboat, but the mission is the same. There are videos of the amazing dance on YouTube that you should see.

Captain Bundy's Gospel Prayer was actually a prayer used often by an unnamed Great Lakes captain, but I thought it fit well with Capt. Bundy's reputation.

Great Lakes Waters celebrates the importance of the Great Lakes to our country's commerce and way of life.

Tragedy and Triumph-Dennis Hale's Story. The story of the wreck of the Daniel J. Morrell and her sole survivor. After reading his story, I knew I had to write this song.