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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…

Bill Litchman - Rocky Mountain Square Dancing

(To open the PDF document, click on the underlined link to the right.)This overview of square dance history focuses on two major groups of square dance. One group (northern, Eastern, Maritime, etc.) relies on quadrille-style figures, with couples interacting across the set; this style is prompted like a contra. The second form is found in the…

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

Les Gotcher - Square Dancin'

Published in 1950, the book contains directions to 100 dances, as well as photographs illustrating basic moves for beginners. Among those are Do-Ci-Do, Docey, Do-Sa-Do, and Do-Paso. (see the Contents page, included in this file) The book also has a section called "New Changes and New Calls." This includes Alimande O, Wagon Wheel, Dishrag Whirl,…

Wheel and Deal (clip) - Les Gotcher

excerpt from a live recording in the early 1960s

Les Gotcher - photo

Gotcher was a recipient of the Milestone award from CALLERLAB, with this biographical information.

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

Les Gotcher - callers' class

This recording comes from the collection of Stig Malmo. It has some gaps, which you may notice when the audio jumps from one thing to another, but as the contributor notes, this gives you a good glimpse into the mind of one inflential caller.Gotcher and Ed Gilmore represented two very different approaches to square dance calling, dancing, and…

Les Gotcher - caller talk, 1962

Talk given by Les Gotcher to Tri-State Callers Association (New England) in March of 1962. Les emphasizes the importance of callers understanding the action of each call and describes early forms of diagramming. He also talks about tempo, timing and ends (beginning at about 14:22, three quarters of the way through) with a discussion of the call…

I'll Swing Yours, You Swing Mine (clip) - Les Gotcher

In his prime as a modern square dance caller, Les Gotcher was known as the Hash Master. (For an example of Gotcher in full hash mode, listen to this live recording from 1958.) Here, in an earlier recording, he shows his comfort with traditional square dance figures, calling a visiting couple figure. Traditional callers may note that his calls are…

Les Gotcher - record albums

Record album covers; click to listen to I'll Swing Yours from this recording or Forward Eight and Chain Across.