St. Petersburg Times: Weekend

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The Gasparilla song you'll never hear

Contract issues may mean a song recorded just for the famed Tampa celebration will never be released.


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 25, 2001

Who would write a song about Gasparilla?

Seems like a lot of people!

John Seda, a local musician and record producer, has written Pirate for a Day. In the song a guy is sitting in his cubicle at work daydreaming about the big parade:

I find myself caught up in this job of mine

I dream of being someone different just for one day

I wait all year for this time of change

And I dream, oh I dream

Of being a pirate just for one day.


The song was recorded on Seda's Rising Sun Music label by the Perco Loco All-Stars, about 30 musicians who might not be as recognizable as the acts they have toured with: from LL Cool J to Christina Aguilera to Prince.

Perco Loco band members flew to Tampa from California, Puerto Rico and Hawaii to record a five-song CD that included Pirate for a Day and another Gasparilla tune, Blow the Man Down.

Local musician Shawn Brown co-wrote Blow the Man Down with Paco Gray, another well-known Tampa musician, and Seda:

Is this real, or is this fantasy

A pirate ship is awaiting me

There was dancing in the streets

And pirates shouting and blow the man down.

What compelled Brown to write about Gasparilla?

"We wanted to create a signature song giving the true meaning of Gasparilla," said Brown, whose band, Shawn Brown Entertainment, has performed at the Left Bank on South Howard for the past few years.

Seda, with an eye on the approaching Gasparilla parade, produced 26,000 copies of the Pirate for a Day CD.

And then things went awry.

Two members of Perco Loco All-Stars refused to sign a release form needed for legal distribution of any merchandise, including the album -- they say that it is too binding and contractual.

These contract issues have delayed indefinitely the release of the CD and the public performance of its songs.

So, you won't hear the songs at the Gasparilla parade on Saturday, nor can you buy the CD.

The 26,000 CDs are gathering dust in the Rising Sun Music studio. Seda doubts they will ever be released.

"We were thinking about probably doing a burning ritual," he said.

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