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The Ballad of the Squalus


The Ballad of the Barrister

Thoreau would be proud. John Perrault is simplifying his life. After more than 20 years of press clippings touting the "singing lawyer," attorney Perrault's poetic persona is suing for divorce. With four former folk albums, more than 50 published poems, a term as Portsmouth's official poet laureate, and a newly released book of ballads in the stores, the scales are tipping in the artistic direction.

John PerraultIt's bound to be a contentious split. He has lately been more selective in his legal work , taking on fewer cases, but he loves the law. "Mostly I want to represent juveniles now," says Perrault, who taught high school English in nearby Kittery before he joined the bar. "I like that best." He says this from behind a desk as big as Maine in his book-lined Portsmouth, NH office with its to-die-for tugboat view. Hard world to leave behind.

Swiping a phrase from his own album, the two Perraults are "tenants in common." The bard and the barrister both want to see justice done, to tell the whole truth, to make a difference. As balladeer, his gritty voice rings with authority and passion. His lyrics are descriptive and precise. His subject matter leans toward tragedy and crime, from the sinking of the seacoast submarine Squalus, to murder off the Isles of Shoals. He tells the tales of sailors, Indian warriors, housewives, shipyard workers, soldiers. His "Ballad of Billy Ockham" turns the life of a juvenile delinquent from Biddeford, Maine into an heroic odyssey through the murky waters of public education. His songs, like courtroom days, are crafted from hard research and dramatically delivered.

More ballads and fewer briefs, Perrault promises himself. He hauls his country boots up on the acre of polished mahogany, leans back and eyes the ancient harbor below. Simplify, he tells himself, while a thousand ghosts petition him to tell their tale.
-- J. Dennis Robinson
originally published 1997. Revised 2005.

ABOUT JOHN PERRAULT

John Perrault was raised in Maine and graduated from Providence College in 1965 . He holds an MA in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire. After 10 years as a school teacher, with a degree from Franklin Pierce Law Center, he joined John Ahlgren in 1982 to form Ahlgren & Perrault, PA. He has performed in concert throughout New England earning high praise for his ballads that focus largely on Seacoast themes and for his love songs. His poems have been published in numerous periodicals including The Christian Science Monitor, Commonwealth, Poet Lore, and Key West Review. He lives in a 200 year old farmhouse in NH while his twin daughters roam the world.

John Perrault Discography

Thief in the Night (LP) 1977
New Hampshire (LP, Cas) 1981
Tenants in Common (LP, Cas) 1984
Country Matters (Cas) 1988
Country Matters (CD) 1995
PLM: Before You Go (CD ) Cas 1997
John Perrault, Barbara London, Jim MacDougall
The Ballad of Louise Wagner (CD & book) 2004

 

PERRAULT AUDIO CLIPS

 

CD icon

From: Ballad of the Squalus
COUNTRY MATTERS (CD)
WAV file 372k

Real Audio

Rock Weed Recordings
c 1995 John Perrault
Rock Weed Music (ASCAP)

CD icon

Poem: Rueben Dario's 2nd Song
COUNTRY MATTERS (CD)
WAV file 605k

Real Audio

Rock Weed Recordings
c 1995 John Perrault
Rock Weed Music (ASCAP)

CD icon

From: St. Peter
PLM: BEFORE YOU GO (CD)

WAV file 295k

Real Audio

(with Barbara London and Jim MacDougall) Rock Weed Recordings
c 1997 John Perrault
Rock Weed Music (ASCAP)

 

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