Before his untimely death at the age of 52, David Parry was a permanent fixture on the Canadian folk music scene. Besides being a noted singer and musician (both solo and as a member of the Toronto-based ceilidh band the Friends of Fiddler's Green), Parry was also a storyteller, actor, director, and teacher. Never more than a cult figure at best, Parry nonetheless recorded a number of striking albums.
Born in London, England on June 18, 1942 (coincidentally also Paul McCartney's birthday), Parry was introduced to folk music during the great British folk revival of the late '50s. Parry continued his interest in music during his schooling, but his formal training was in theater, culminating in a Ph.D. in historical drama and a day job career as a teacher, historian, and museum director. Besides acting in and directing plays in England, Europe, India, and North America, Parry continued working as a semi-professional musician. It wasn't until he settled in Toronto, Ontario, with his American-born wife, Caroline Balderston, in the mid-'70s that be began to pursue music as any more than a hobby. Quickly becoming a fixture on Toronto's folk scene, playing solo dates as a singer and storyteller and morris dancing in the internationally known team the Toronto Morris Men, Parry fell in with the local ceilidh band the Friends of Fiddler's Green in the early '80s and performed and recorded with them until his death. He also performed occasional duo dates with the group's leader, singer, and concertina player Ian Robb. In 1985, Parry released a cassette (later reissued on CD by Borealis Records) called The Wind That Tramps the World. One of the tracks is a musical setting of Rudyard Kipling's Sestina of the Tramp Royale, directly inspired by Peter Bellamy's settings of Kipling poems. Fond of a contemporary of Kipling, the British/Canadian poet Robert W. Service, Parry devoted several years to setting Service's poetry to tunes of his own. The results were released as The Man From Eldorado: Songs and Stories of Robert W. Service in 1993.
David Parry died of a sudden heart attack on June 13, 1995, just shy of his 53rd birthday. Later that year, Borealis Records released 'E Likes It All!, a compilation of Friends of Fiddler's Green recordings from the preceding decade and a half featuring Parry on lead or solo vocals. ~ Stewart Mason