Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Farmdoc's musical tribute to Jessica Watson

At 1:53 p.m. last Saturday – three days before her 17th birthday – Jessica Watson crossed the Sydney Harbour finish line to complete her 209-day round the world voyage that began last 18 October. Today’s post’s a tribute to Jessica and her fantastic achievement – through the medium of (water/boat) music [1]:

1. Sloop John B. It’s one of my favourite sailing songs. I doubt Jessica imbibed like the John B’s crew, though. Which version do you prefer: the Beach Boys [2] or Johnny Cash [3]?

2. The Water is Wide. What a superb song. Also called O Waly, Waly, this English or Scottish folk song dates from the 1600s. That water must’ve seemed so wide to Jessica. Many singers have recorded this song. Here’s Eva Cassidy [4] and Pete Seeger [5].

3. Shenandoah. The scale’s reduced to a river (the Missouri). But the music and lyrics aren’t diminished. They’re mournful – like Jessica no doubt often felt during her odyssey. Here’s Paul Robeson [6] and a Filipino choir [7].

4. Erie Canal. An even smaller waterway. I’ve no idea if Jessica was ever becalmed. But if she was, the mule Sal would’ve helped. I love this song. Try Bruce Springsteen [8] and Suzanne Vega [9].

5. Sinking of the Reuben James. A Woody Guthrie song. I’ll bet at times Jessica worried Ella’s Pink Lady mightn’t survive. All’s well that ends well, though. Here’s Woody [10] and the Weavers [11].

6. Banks of the Ohio. Jessica’s back on dry land. Safe and sound. Good on her. She’s now a famous Aussie. Just like Livvy [12].

Congratulations, Jessica Watson. I salute you.

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