Russ Franzen Great Lakes History in Song

///Discography

Along the Great Lakes (2007)

Summertime in Michigan This song was written at a time when I kept my camping gear in the trunk from May through September and hit the road every Friday at 5PM for weekends Up North.

A Laker's Life The story of a boy who dreamed of a life on a Laker on the Great Lakes.

The Ghost of Old Presque Isle written by my wife, Ruth, based on the ghost of George Parris, who haunts the Old Presque Isle lighthouse. His wife, Lorraine said they called the keeper's house their “honeymoon cottage.”

The Ballpark Of My Youth Great Lakes cities have some great baseball teams. My first glimpse of Lake Michigan was from the upper deck of Wrigley Field, where I spent many summer afternoons as a teenager.

The St. Clair Rescue  This is the amazing story of the Life Savers who worked to save the crew of the St. Clair in 1888.

The Lighthouse Keeper Inspired by a visit to the Mackinac Point Lighthouse, where a paint brush hangs framed in the museum, testimony to a major part of a Keeper's life.

The Keeper's Wife Taken from the stories of three Keepers' wives in the mid-1800s.

Thanksgiving Invited to a Thanksgiving dinner, I did what many folk singers would do-I brought a song.

Message in a Bottle This song comes from an entry in the Keeper's Log from the Ausable Point Lighthouse on Lake Superior.

The City of Toledo Great Lakes mariners saw some boats as “bad luck” boats. This may have been one of them.

 

 

Life Is Good (2009)

 

Life Is Good When my wife and I went to Toledo's courthouse to get our marriage license, we found the office closed for an extended lunch hour. Rather than go home, we decided to wait there. We visited with an amazing man and this is his story.

Rouche de Boeuf Pronounced Rush-de-Boo, this historic island in the Maumee River near Waterville, Ohio is where Native American chiefs met before the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. It's said that the ghosts of the chiefs can still be seen there. This is the story a friend told us of when she and a friend saw the chiefs early one summer morning.

The Sentinel By the Bay This song tells the history of the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse.

Fishing For Walleye When the Walleye run in the spring, the Maumee River is crowded with anglers. It's a sight to be seen.

The Marblehead Light It's the oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes and an amazing place to visit.

The Tawas Point Light This is the story of the lighthouse at Tawas Point, Michigan.

The Joseph S. Fay This wreck rests on the beach in the shadow of the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse on Lake Huron.

Tiger Stadium's Lament I wrote this song during the debate about whether or not to tear the old stadium down. It was a great piece of history.

A Great Lakes Prayer The Great Lakes are a natural resource that we all need to do our part to preserve.

 

Along the Great Lakes (2010)

The Col. James M. Schoonmaker One of the greatest of Great Lakes freighters, the Schoonmaker is now a museum ship in Toledo. This is her story.

The Toledo Express Every time I perform, I'm asked to sing “the Edmund Fitzgerald song.” I politely decline, saying that I can't do it better than Gordon Lightfoot. So I wrote this song, celebrating the maiden season of the most famous boat ever to work on the Lakes.

Lighthouse Christmas Most Great Lakes lighthouses were closed during the winter. In some cases, though, the keepers stayed all year even though the lighthouse was dark.

The Bell of the Bradley The recovered bell of the Carl D. Bradley was rung to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Bradley's loss, in the Rogers City High School gym.

The SS South American A friend asked me to write a song about the famous excursion boat. When the song was written and I sang it to her, she cried. She then told me that her parents met on the South American and were one of those “couples in love.”

The Woman of the Bright Foam This is Emma Jameson's story of her trip to Sault St. Marie in the 1830s.

The Light On The South Haven Pier Whenever I think of the light at South Haven, I think of all the couples gathering on the pier to watch the sunset. It's a very romantic place.

Captain Rogers Longtime Great Lakes Captain George C. Rogers lived in Lapeer, Michigan. The closest he came to an accident involving one of his boats was when one got stuck in ice.

The L.R. Doty The location of this boat was lost for 112 years, until divers found it in 2010.

The Round Island Light Anyone who's been to Mackinac Island has passed by the Round Island Lighthouse. This is her story.

The Railroad Engineer My grandfather was an engineer with the EJ&E Railroad. This song is a tribute to him.

 

Individual Recorded Songs

The Park at the Corner When I visited the Tiger Stadium site in 2010, I expected to see a field overgrown with weeds. What I saw was cut grass and a field ready to play baseball, thanks to a group of volunteers called the Navin Field Grounds Crew. The song was published on a special baseball cd that now resides in the collection of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Pet Rocks to the Rescue The village of Grand Marais, Michigan spent decades trying to get the Army Corps of Engineers to fix the breakwater wall for their Harbor of Refuge on Lake Superior. In 1977, they decided to take matters into their own hands.This is the story.

The Crisp Point Lighthouse This is the story of a remote lighthouse on Lake Superior that a group of dedicated volunteers are saving.