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Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet (clip) - Charley Thomas

Charley Thomas was a vendor of records and books for squares and contra dances. He founded American Squares magazine after World War II, and edited it until it was purchased by Frank Kaltman and Rickey Holden. Jim Mayo calls a MWSD tip to this tune here.

Shoot the Owl (clip) - Hollis Johnson

Hollis Johnson (1897–1996) was born in Eastland County, Texas. This dance figure was introduced decades later by Sandy Bradley and appears on her "Potluck & Dance Tonite" album.

Oh By Jingo (clip) - Bill Castner

A detailed cue sheet with complete calls and descriptions is available.Wikipedia: "Oh By Jingo!" is a 1919 novelty song by Albert Von Tilzer with lyrics by Lew Brown. The song was featured in the Broadway show "Linger Longer Letty", and became one of the biggest Tin Pan Alley hits of the post-World War I era.An internet search will turn up versions…

Barnacle Bill (clip) - Cal Golden

Cal Golden was a prominent modern caller; another audio clip on this website shows him at the giant 1950 Santa Monica square dance, being introduced by Lloyd Shaw. He was a caller with deep Arkansas roots who called in all 50 states.See this entry on Vic and Debbie Ceder's website for more information and a photograph. The Ceders write: "The term…

Too Old To Cut the Mustard (clip) - Cal Golden

This is an excerpt; a complete recording can be found here.

Tulip Square (clip) - Jim Brooks

Square dance set to the popular tune, "When You Wore a Tulip (and I Wore a Big Red Rose").

Red Warrick - Heel and Toe (clip)

Texas caller Red Warrick, on a rare recording on the Dude label, with music by Till's Square Dance Band. (See related materials here.) The tune is Golden Slippers, but this recording provides an excellent example of calls that are not phrased to the tune. For a caller of traditional New England material, this would be heresy, but Warrick is…

Red Warrick - Dip and Dive (clip)

The dip and dive figures appear in many variations in the square dance repertoire. One common singing square has the figures set to the tune Redwing, while other callers chant the figures to Little Brown Jug. Here, Red Warrick chants the figures in a steady, rhythmic patter that does not fit the phrase of the music. Other examples of the dip and…

Swanee River (clip) - Mac McKendrick

McKendrick can also be heard on this site calling a singing square to the children's song, Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me.

Mac McKenrick photos

Photograph of McKenrick
advertisement for square dance instruction at his barn

Swing yore partner round 'n round (The Desert Magazine, 1944)

Author Oren Arnold describes square dancing in Arizona in the early 1940s:

"...A rock fireplace big enough to stand in was at one end of the room, and its blaze made dancing shadows everywhere. Indian blankets hung on the walls beside an austere picture of grandma in a golden frame. A rifle rested in deer antlers, and doors had been burned with…

Yucaipa Roll Away - Carroll White

The dance was created by Ed Gilmore, who ran a hardware store in Yucaipa, CA, when he started his calling career. The dance was published in 1950 in Square Dancing: The Newer and Advanced Dances, by Bob Osgood and Jack Hoheisel. The dance spread from there, and the basic calls can be found in Al Brundage's little black book of square dance calls on…

A Night at Sunny Hills

Album cover, inside text, and a related record label. This recording, from 1951, illustrates what was considered appropriate material for experienced square dancers at that time in southern California, one of the hotbeds of interest in square dance.

Allemande Hash - Carroll White

Another dance from "A Night at Sunny Hills," a series of records "for experienced square dancers," released in 1951. As the name suggests, the Allemande Hash contains variations on allemandes, starting with "Allemande thar" and including some from the so-called Allemande Alphabet that was starting to be developed: • Allemande left and an…

Square Dance camp brochures

A small collection of brochures illustrating various dance camps and square dance travel. Just as different callers developed their own magazines and newsletters, so did they find additional opportunities to connect with an ever-growing number of square dance enthusiasts in the 1950s and 1960s.

Barn Owls square dance club

Items connected with one mid-1950s square dance club:

• Program for 3rd anniversary dance, 1954, including club roster
• Invitation to 5th anniversary party
• invitation for regular dance
• stationery and envelope

The Barn Owls club was hosted regular dances at the Gardena Barn, Gardena, CA, in the Los Angeles area.

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Monadnock Folkways brochure - Page & Gowing

Brochure describing the summer program created by Ralph Page and Gene Gowing. Also included is an article by Gowing describing his idea for an "American Folkways" school. (This latter item appeared in American Squares, June, 1950.)

Joe Lewis - Callers Class

This is a fragment of a callers' class led by Joe Lewis; unfortunately, we do not know the location or the date. Lewis comments, "When a lot of people suddenly do the same thing wrong, the caller did it." He focuses a lot of this session on problems of timing the delivery of calls: "If you can't see the timing errors in a singing call and try to…

Catalogs

This collection of seven catalogs from the 1950s and early 1960s illustrates the range of materials offered to participants in the early square dance boom years, from recordings to clothing to badges and caller PA equipment.