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Items from "Northern squares": 252

Hilton Kelly, Catskill fiddler and caller

Hilton Kelly, of Fleischmanns, New York, is a Catskills fiddler and square dance caller. He started playing in 1932, at age 5, and started calling in 1937. By the time he was 15, he had a regular band and was playing regularly at house parties, schools, and public events throughout the region. In 1953, Kelly says he was doing 6 or 7 dances a week,…

Darling Nellie Gray - Ralph Page (clip)

This dance was Ralph Page's signature closing dance for an evening program. Compare it with Happy Hale, whom some think was Page's source for the dance. There are many examples of this classic singing square on our website.

Darling Nellie Gray - Happy Hale

Happy Hale was a caller from Bernardston, MA, and some have speculated that Ralph Page patterned his style as a singing caller on Hale's technique. Other Happy Hale recordings at the Library of Congress are a mix of contras and squares: Hull's Victory, Pop Goes the Weasel, Morning Star, Miss McLeod's Reel, Merry Widow, a Quadrille, Lady Walpole's…

Pistol Packin' Mama, with jitterbug - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013. During the swing, the dancers adopt a jitterbug style.Livingston writes, "Those…

Dip and Dive / Redwing - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013. The classic dip and dive figure here is set to the song Redwing. A search on this site…

Four Poster / Soldier's Joy - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013. The tune is Soldier's Joy.

Heads go Forward, & Back with you – Forward again and…

Engine #9 - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013.

As the lead couple starts to promenade around the square, the next two couples fall…

Climbing Up the Golden Stairs - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013.Here done as a circle mixer, the dance is often done as a four-couple square. Some…

Buffalo Gals - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013.

Comin' Round the Mountain - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013. Another video of this dance, with NH caller Lester Bradley, can be found here.

Florilla Perkins Ames, Vermont

Florilla Perkins Ames was 102 years old when she recorded this interview. She lives in northern Vermont, and remembers her father calling dances. Before that, her mother's grandfather used to play fiddle for dances: "In fact, in this house where I am right now they used to dance squares upstairs, in the 1800s."

Warp and Weft - grid square

Grid square composed by Rick Mohr; dance directions on his website. Called here by Lisa Greenleaf; the tune is Julia Delaney, played by Daron Douglas (fiddle), Anna Patton (clarinet), and Karen Axelrod (piano). Recorded June 1, 2013.

Rod's Quad #2 - double quadrille

Dance written by Rod Linnell; the video includes a variation created by the caller, Lisa Greenleaf. (Rod Linnell composed five double quadrilles, which are published in "Square Dances from a Yankee Caller's Clipboard.") In Linnell's original composition, the women chain through the stars; Lisa has modified that so that the men also get the…

Hilton Kelly - Catskill fiddler & caller

Article about Catskills fiddler and caller Hilton Kelly, who has been playing and calling square dances in that region of New York for more than 75 years.

Al Brundage recollections

Al Brundage wrote these recollections of his experiences growing up in Connecticut and the growth of square dancing. His story includes discovering square dance as a boy, followed by the whole Brundage family getting involved in the activity and forming the King Street Pioneers. He mentions some of the important figures in the Northeast in those…

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Old-Time Music Makers of New York State

"Old-Time Music Makers of New York State is the first book published on this rich legacy of traditional Anglo-American music and dance. It traces the development of old-time music beginning with its movement into New York State from New England in the early nineteenth century and to its combination with commercial country music in the twentieth…

Tiny Clark - three singing squares

Tiny Clark was one of the callers holding forth at the Village Barn in Greenwich VIllage, New York City. In this 1946 film, he and his band, dubbed the Cactus Cowboys, present three singing squares: Lady Around the Lady, Duck for the Oyster and Dig for the Clam, and Hinky Dinky Parlez Vous. The overall look of the film is hillbilly, with the New…

Half Way Round - Tony Parkes

Tony Parkes, caller, recorded at the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, January 12, 2007. The dance was called frequently by Ralph Page, and it's possible that Page got the figures from Connecticut caller Al Brundage.

The musicians are a reunion group of the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra, and include Dudley Laufman (violin/ accordion),…

San Antonio Rose

There are many versions of singing squares set to this popular tune. Here, Nils Fredland calls one from the repertoire of Keith Blackmon, an upstate New York square dance caller. A selection of Blackmon's dances has been published by Country Dance and Song Society under the title of "New River Train." Recorded for the Square Dance History Project,…