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SDFNE 1960's Era Recordings

Jim Mayo undertook a project to use the Square Dance Foundation of New England's audio archives and locate representative samples of square dance calling from the time period when Modern Western square dancing was taking off, but before the call Swing Thru was invented.

For each caller he has collected a representative patter tip and singing…

Jim Mayo 2 - Square Thru and Changing Choreography

The call "square through" provided callers with a new tool for moving dancers around on the dance floor. Jim describes how callers experimented with the figure and how he introduced it in many different setups in his classes.

Jim Mayo 3 - Start of CALLERLAB

The 1970s saw a dramatic increase in the number of calls, which led to repeated cries from dancers for someone to bring order out of chaos. This led to the formation of CALLERLAB.

Kansas City - Ralph Sweet

Ralph Sweet, caller. This singing square, done to a 12-bar blues instead of the usual AABB structure of a traditional fiddle tune, was recorded live in 1964.

Auctioneer - Tony Parkes

Tony Parkes, caller.This song was originally recorded by Leroy Van Dyke in 1956, and the dance was made famous by Marshall Flippo, who recorded it twice. The calls Tony uses here are from Flippo's second recording. For comparison, see Ralph Sweet calling the dance.You may enjoy a full Auctioneerexhibit withlots more information on the history of…

Auctioneer (remake - clip) - Marshall Flippo

This is a remake in the 1970s by Marshall Flippo of his big hit. For this version, he changed the choreography to reflect changes in MWSD, and the music also has a very different sound. This is Blue Star 1825, with music by the Shannonaires band.

transcription from Jeff Garbutt, an Australian participant on the sd-callers listserv

THE.…

Auctioneer - Ralph Sweet

Recorded at the Greenfield, MA, Grange Hall on June 27, 2010. The event was sponsored by Country Dance and Song Society to celebrate the publication of "On the Beat with Ralph Sweet." This dance is one of Ralph's signature numbers, and directions and music are in his book, available from CDSS store.The musicians are the band Elixir (Ethan…

Popcorn Quadrille

Variations on Grand Square figure, danced to early electronic music, a record named "Popcorn." Chicago caller Andy Anderson created the dance to go with it. From a demonstration of historical dances, recorded at the 2007 CALLERLAB convention in Colorado Springs, CO; video editing by Cal Campbell, and used by permission

Square Dance Revival - Australia, 1980

Television documentary that looks at square dancing in Australia. Mention is made of the boom years of the early 1950s an the start of square dancing there, but this focuses on a revival around 1980. Features interviews with caller Colin Huddleston and lots of dance footage. Interviews with Val Maldowney about square dance clothing and dancer…

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Grey Eagle Square Dance with the New Lost City Ramblers

This program appeared on German television during the 1966 European tour by the New Lost City Ramblers, with Roscoe Holcomb, the Stanley Brothers, Cousin Emmy and others. See article by Philip Gura in the Old-Time Herald for more information on the band's history. If you can identify the caller, please let us know!

Do Paso What (clip) - Les Gotcher

sample of Les Gotcher's calling style, in this case building a dance from a break sequence

Black Mountain 128

Texas Whirlwind (clip) - Rickey Holden

Starting with a simply RH star in the center, Holden ups the complexity with a series of Catch All Eight calls around outside of the circle.

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TEXAS WHIRLWIND (Folkraft 1073A) – Rickey Holden
(original figure by Fenton Jones, Los Angeles, California)

( prelim) Ladies to the center and back to the bar
Gents to the center and form a…

Choc-A-Taw (clip) - Dick Leger

View full record for details.

Hashing the Breaks (clip) - Les Gotche

Les Gotcher was the self-proclaimed king of hash. Here's an example of his calling. Square dance enthusiasts who followed him from dance to dance in New England in the 1950s noticed, though, that he called the same sequence of figures; this in no way detracted from the excitement for the dancers. The caller making up figures on the fly was an…

Les Gotcher recordings

A selection of record labels and a record jacket, samples of Les Gotcher's prolific output

Square Dancing on Pike's Peak - 1963

Square dancing at 14,000' — footage put online by the Pikes Peak Library. The actual dance footage starts at 1:17 in the footage, and lasts for about a minute. The added sound track is disconcerting.

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Marina - Rich Sbardella - MWSD Early – Basic Program

This video is of a dance at the Powder Mill Barn in Enfield, CT. The barn is owned by Ralph Sweet. The caller is Rich Sbardella. Rich is a disciple of Dick Leger and calls in Dick's style which, although this dance was in April of 2012, is representative of the early style of MWSD. The calls are from the CALLERLAB Basic Program.

This dance music…

Heart of My Heart - Rich Sbardella - MWSD Early – Basic Program

This video is of a dance at the Powder Mill Barn in Enfield CT. The barn is owned by Ralph Sweet. Callers are Rich & Lynn Sbardella. Rich is a disciple of Dick Leger and calls in Dick's style which, although this dance was in April of 2012, is representative of the early style of MWSD. The calls are from the CALLERLAB Basic Program.

Ed Gilmore - Q&A, 1962 - part 1

This is a discussion with noted California caller Ed Gilmore, recorded October 21, 1962, at a meeting of the Tri-State Callers Association, an organization of professional MWSD callers from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Gilmore discusses all manner of items connected to square dancing, illustrating his comments with examples of calling…