Music

The nine original songs on this recording were all written by Island songwriter and performer Scott Parsons, seven of them expressly for the play The Old Stock, first performed at the Carrefour Theatre, Charlottetown, on February 27, 2009. Parsons sang these songs as the character Anansi.

The Old Stock tells the story of the Black history experience in Prince Edward Island, from the 1780s, when Loyalists came here with their slaves, to the present time. The Black community was never a large one, numbering no more then 500 people at its peak, living in "the Bog" district in Charlottetown and various rural areas. Through assimilation and out-migration, the Black Island population gradually disappeared as a visible community.

Today there are thousands of Islanders with Black ancestry, many of them unaware of the fact. Gradually, however, the legacy of Black Islanders is becoming known, and this important part of our history is growing visible in memory and celebration.

Scott Parsons has based his lyrics on solid historical research, primarily from Jim Hornby's book Black Islanders, published in 1992. One song, "Dembo Suckles," tells the story of a man who was captured by slavers in his native Africa, and died in 1845 as head of a large farm family in rural Prince Edward Island.

The Byers family figures prominently in this CD. John and Amelia are the Island's earliest known Black couple, arriving here in the early 1780s with Loyalist Joseph Robinson. Two family members, Peter and Sancho, were hanged for petty theft, within a month of each other, in 1815. The title of the play and CD was provided by Roger Byers, a descendant of John and Amelia. Roger recalls how his father Frank used to take him on walks around Charlottetown, and point out individuals and dwellings as belonging to the "old stock" -- from Africa.

Scott Parsons named his band and his first CD after the slave Jupiter Wise, whose personality was as large and original as his name. Jupiter had problems with the law, and was fortunate to be deported from the Island and not hanged. In those days, imprisonment - at public expense - was not an option.

The most prolific Black family on the Island is the Sheppards, residents of the Cardigan area since about 1820. Based on information provided by Linda Hennessey, Scott has written two songs about this family, one tragic, about the death of a boy who was helping his father cut wood, the other celebrating the successful return to the Island of two Sheppard brothers from the Klondike gold mines.

-- Harry Baglole, liner notes from The Old Stock

Live at Mahogany Hall

Live at Mahogany Hall 2011

Recorded from a live concert in Bern, Switzerland in 1996. A musically diverse CD that captures Parsons' unique talent in a live atmosphere.

Nice To Wear

Nice To Wear 2003

On Parsons' long overdue third album, he proves once again that he's got all the right stuff to go the distance. This ought to be the album that takes him there.

-- Doug Gallant, The Guardian

Featuring drummer Reg Ballagh, bass player Wayne Dunsford, keyboard player Aaron Collier, guitarist Mitch Schurman and singer-songwriter Bonnie LeClair who provided background vocals. Songs include "Faces and the Names," "Before Your Very Eyes," "Nice To Wear," "Girl With a Guilty Heart," and more.

Jupiter Wise

Jupiter Wise 1993

Running the stylistic gamut from the warm, relaxed, Harder They Come reggae grooves to blues to country to jazz, Jupiter Wise is an astoundingly mature realized work. Parsons is a distinct and compact songwriter and an understatedly soulful vocalist; the man has to be seen as the most talented performer on PEI.

-- Kirby Ferguson, The Buzz

This isn't just a good first album, this is an outstanding album.

-- Nils Ling, CBC Radio


Featuring George Antoniak on lead guitar, Reg Ballagh on drums, John Johnston on bass, and many others. A landmark CD. Songs include "What I Am," "Lighthouse Keeper's Dream," "Low Flyin'," "Joe's Cafe," "Jupiter Wise," and more.