Because this group does not have an internet presence, I have decided to create a web page in honour of their contributions to the Newfoundland and Labrador music, culture, and heritage.
Tom Rose and John Drake, the founders of the Dorymen, are both from two communities in Fortune Bay, a few miles apart, Bay du Nord and Belleoram. Respectively born of single parents, they learned very early in life to enjoy the good and simple things.
As is tradition on da Rock, life, no matter if good or bad, is put to verse and sung by one and all. At a very early age, Tom and John grew up to love music and song.
Both men, like so many other Newfoundlanders, had to leave their homes to seek employment. Eventually, they both ended up in Halifax and John met Tom at a house party where Newfoundland music was being played and sung. John sang, Tom played the accordion, and a lasting music-filled friendship developed.
The other dorymen are Al Parsons on drums and Ken Griswold on bass guitar. They were not born in Newfoundland, but their spirit is full of the wonderful sound of Newfie Music.
Dave Murphy, a native of Halifax, who they changed from Rock and Roll music to the Traditional Newfoundland Music, later replaced Al.
A later addition to the group was female vocalist Linda Stone. She never complained about the group’s name.
A Memoir by Merrill Skinner
A Newfoundland musical icon passed away today recently. From what I know of Johnny Drakes, he was a true Newfie who roots were embedded in his soul.
I remember the first time I met Johnny Drakes it was at Smilies in Rawdon NS I couldn't believe it. You see my favourite Newfoundland song is Maiden's Prayer and that night he sang it for me and to this day and I'll never forget it for the rest of my life.
Now when my children lay down to sleep I sing to them Tiny Red Light, Maiden's Prayer, Wanda Lee and many more.
You see Johnny's love for Newfoundland and the great songs he sang and wrote help us all to feel proud to be Newfoundlander's and we all know that Johnny was so a very proud Newfie. His music came from his heart and his love for his hometown of Belleoram inspired his last published song which was a great success. Head'in Home captured his true feeling and how we all feel each year as we head home from where ever, to be with our love ones.
Johnny's music followed me across the Rock last year during our 10th Annual Run The Rock. Each day I would listen to my share of Johnny Drakes from Maiden's Prayer, Tiny Red Light, Wanda Lee to Head'in Home he made my day more enjoyable.
Johnny once told me before he moved home that there is nothing like the feeling you get when you go down Bungay's Hill there is old Iron Skull, I must say since that day each time I go down that hill I recall our conversation.
So guys another great fellow Newfoundlander passes on but like many before him he leaves behind great songs, stories and memories for us all to smile.
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