There was a time...  

 John Salicco 
Historical Impersonator, Writer and Musician


The 49er:
A Gold Run Musicianer
Time frame: 1850's

The Klondike
Tales of a Sourdough
Time Frame: 1898

The Banjo:
An American Gypsy
Time frame: 19th Century

Jacques Portier:
Old Nor'Wester
Time frame: 1830's

The Great Depression:
How do you spell relief?
Time frame: 1930's


Story Telling


There was a time in History
 Seminar Series



The Great Depression: How do you spell relief ?

Primarily a musical presentation, intermingling narrative and songs from the 1920's and 1930's, John recounts his travels and experiences riding the freights through depression era towns and work camps.

It's the Great Depression. Prohibition has just been repealed. It is the beginning of the end for a flamboyant era of gangsters and corruption.  Early radio is in it's heyday.  Itinerant musicians like John are wandering the country playing for tips in bars and barrel houses.

Perhaps with new relevance in light of today's economic crisis, this living history performance takes us back to a watershed moment in American history.  Massive government intervention; capital infusion to surviving banks; the WPA; the CCC - an alphabet soup of public works projects providing relief to American workers.

Using authentic 1920's guitar and banjo, Mr. Salicco intermingles his narrative with songs from the period, including folk, cowboy songs, Delta Blues - the songs of the people.

"And then the dispossessed were drawn west- from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand. They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless - restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do - to lift, to push, to pull, to pick, to cut - anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land." (From the 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath)

This presentation is suitable for elementary school age through adult audiences.

Usual program length is approximately 1 hour.

Fees for this program are negotiable.  Please contact us for details.

For booking information:

email or call 206-497-0049
Write: 3607 Broadmoor Dr NE, Tacoma, WA  98422











John Quincy Adams/ The 49er/ The Banjo: An American Gypsy/ Jacques Portier/ The Great Depression/ Story Telling/ Nisqually Seminar Series/ Flat Seventh/ Inquiring Mind/ About Us/ John Salicco Bio/There was a time in History/ John's Performance Calendar/ Links