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SDFNE 1960's Era Recordings, part II

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SDFNE 1960's Era Recordings, part II


Several years ago the Square Dance Foundation of New England arranged an on-line link to a set of clips from early modern square dances. These clips were from the SDFNE collection of tapes of live dances. The clips were accompanied by comment written by Jim Mayo about the callers and the dance material.

This item is a second set of clips from the same collection, also presented here with Jim's comments. As in the first collection, each caller is represented by a patter call and a singing call. These recordings offer the chance to "listen in" at live dances with some of the most respected callers from a period of rapid growth in modern square dancing.

During the early years of modern square dancing it was very common for dancers to tape dances, particularly those called by traveling callers; the tips here were taken from such live recordings. They are from the large collection in the Library Museum of the Square Dance Foundation of New England (SDFNE); more than 300 such recordings of actual programs have been digitized.

We hope they will give listeners an idea of the variety of choreography and musical style that was a part of square dancing as the modern form grew out of the traditional style in the 20 years between 1950 and 1970.


Charlie Baldwin in this routine from a 1961 dance in Rhode Island uses the Susie Q pattern for the Heads leading into a R&L Thru with the Sides. Later Charlie walks the group through a Wheel & Deal with lines facing in.

Charlie's figure in the singing call Puttin' On the Style is a Goal Post pattern into a star in the center.

Joe Casey called for more than 60 years, was a leader in New England dance organizations, and was the club caller for many area clubs. The figure here is a standard presentation of Ed Gilmore's Ends Turn In routine.

Joe's rendition of the classic early singing call My Little Girl follows the usual practice of the early 1960's using the figure as it was recorded. (A video of Tony Parkes calling that dance is here.)

Bob Fisk was a widely traveled caller from Southern California. This tip shows a variety of choreography created with just a few calls. In the middle Bob uses the call Fold the Line which is now Ends Fold. The tip ends with an Allemande Whee.

Bob's singing call, I Get the Blues for Mammy, uses a right hand lady progression.

Marshall Flippo has been calling more than 60 years and is probably the most respected traveling caller. In this patter tip from 1961 he shows some of the variety that he could provide with the most basic of calls.

In the singing call recorded in 1970, New World In The Morning, Marshall uses the unique figure created by Jerry Haag for the original recording on the Wagon Wheel label.

Max Forsyth was from Indiana and traveled widely. This tip is from a dance in 1966. Max teaches a new call pattern named Bat the Breeze, a Grand Square style routine. Teaching new calls was a common programming technique at that time.

Before the singing call, Nobody's Baby, Max teaches the proper way (in 1966) of executing the Ladies Center, Men Sashay action.

Les Gotcher was one of the best known and most active traveling callers. Later he had a reputation for rarely including singing calls in his program. In 1961 when this recording of Makin' Whoopee was made he didn't do many but those he did certainly showed that he could do singing calls quite well.
This clip of a patter call by Les Gotcher is interesting because it includes a pattern with a line of three dancers facing a line of five. Such a departure from symmetry was unusual in his choreography. The rest of the tip is mostly line actions set up with either Wheel Around or Backtrack from a promenade.

Jack Lasry was one of the most respected modern square dance callers, a master of choreographic variety. He was the second elected chairman of CALLERLAB. In this patter tip the only call that is no longer in use is Curlique.

In this singing call, Don't Think Twice (the Bob Dylan song), Jack uses a different figure for each chorus. He also uses three now obsolete calls, Cross Trail, Substitute and Barge Thru.


Joe Lewis was a leading traveling caller with strong opinions about how square dancing should be done. Like many, including Ed Gilmore, he saw no need for the call Swing Thru that had been created a year earlier. In this tip recorded in 1964 he starts with "If I were going to use Swing Thru here's how I'd use it." In the same tip he calls a Wheel & Deal from a formation with two girls together and two boys together in a line facing followed by centers turn back to Left Allemande.

The singing call You Were Only Teasing Me uses an unusual line routine with an equally unusual progression of Heads, Sides, Heads, Sides.

Earl Johnston was one of the leading callers in New England as MWSD grew in popularity in 1962. This tip shows the hand turn hash style of choreography that was very popular when the recording was made.

Earl’s singing call, Tipperary, is the classic figure as Ed Gilmore recorded it on his Balance label. It is unusual because it is a 128 beat figure done 4 times through.

Dick Jonestraveled widely and was very popular. This hash routine is based on pretty standard (for 1970) Goal Post Choreography. The final break uses the call Catch All Eight which was quite common at that time.

Dick's singing call, False Hearted Girl, was probably his best known feature call. THis clip is from a 1965 dance.

Marv Schillingwas a traditional Western style caller from Trinidad, Colorado who died in 1962 in the crash of an airplane he was piloting. His patter calling here is typical of that style in 1953 and uses the Arkansas Traveler routine opening with a short teach of the Wagon Wheel call action.

The singing call Hurry Hurry Hurry is a classic and one of the few available on records in 1953.

Dave Taylorwas one of the founding members of CALERLAB. This routine from 1965 is an interesting pattern using a double and triple centers in.

Dave's singing call, Me and My Shadow, uses the figure from Bruce Johnson's original recording. It is one of the best examples of a call that follows the word metering of the original song.


Date Created

June 10, 2013


Temporal Coverage

Item Relations

This Item is related to Item: SDFNE 1960's Era Recordings
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Item: Dave Taylor - Patter, 1965 is related to This Item
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