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Collections - MF 094 Country Music Series

Description: A series of thirteen interviews about country music in Maine recorded for a classes (AY 123, AY 325) taught at the University of Maine by Edward D. “Sandy” Ives in 1975. Most focus on country music in the 1930s in the Bangor, Maine area. Topics covered include bands and performances and country music on the radio. See also accessions 538, 674, 677, 759, 794, 1296, 1331, 1342, 2072, 2073, 2074, 2115, 2365, 2438, 2572 and MF 137 Joseph Ogando Collection.

847 Eva Littlefield, interviewed by Lisa Feldman, March 9, 1975, for an anthropology course, AY 123. 10 page index. Littlefield and her children discuss her husband Seth Littlefield and his career in music in the Bangor, Maine, area. Interviewee discusses a series of photographs that were not included in accession. Discussion includes information about piano lessons; life during the Depression; members of Uncle Seth’s hillbilly band; a minstrel show; local area bands; baking bread; different popular dances in the Depression; struggles of earning wages as a musician during the Depression; more discussion of the set up of minstrel shows; changes in types of popular music; band member personalities; Seth’s background; band turning to hillbilly music; and touring. Interview conducted as part of Country Music Project. T783 – T784 / CD0556-CD0557

848 Ann and Ray Little, interviewed by Edward D. Ives, April 2, 1975, for an anthropology course AY 123. 7 page index. Discussion includes background information on both informants and their move to Maine; traveling and radio shows; nature of working as a band on the radio; band members; local musicians (e.g., Lone Pine Mountaineer); influence of radio on band’s popularity; playing up in the Maritimes; a show at O’Leary PEI; starting up with hillbilly music; Ann’s radio program in Boston; combining acts; comparison of radio and television; booking shows independently; instruments played; using costumes on stage; auditioning for a television show; and some previously recorded songs captured on tape. T785 – T786 / CD0558-CD0559

849 Horace Dinsmore, interviewed by Edward D. Ives, March 7, 1975, for an anthropology course AY 123. 6 page index. Dinsmore talks about country music programs circa 1940; layout of downtown Bangor; poor transference of country music to television; professional performers; Bob Whitten’s theater in Milbridge; discussion of different types of music; discussion of popularity of country music; its playtime on radio; discussion of “uncle” as a moniker for performers; learning country songs to perform; personal involvement as a country performer; a discussion of the Chateau Ballroom; minstrel shows; prevalence of country music in rural areas; singing with other performers; and how he met his wife. Included in accession is an analysis of the interview and a five minute tape index of Sally Olsen, conducted by Edward D. Ives, on March 6, 1975. T787 / CD0560

856 Irving Hunter interviewed by Edward D. Ives, March 12, 1975, for an anthropology course AY 123. 6 page index. Hunter talks about musician Watie Akins; his employment with WLBZ circa 1930; his prior employment in radio; discussion of local and national programming; discussion of local talent; equipment used for station; affiliations with different networks; technological advancements in radio and equipment; remote broadcasts; delayed broadcasts; the Wednesday night amateur hour; the Bangor Auditorium; Norm Lambert’s talents as music director; patterning local programs after national formats; broadcasting from the Rose Garden and other local spots; hillbilly music; nature of statewide broadcasts; discussion of performers. e.g., Uncle Ezra; performers in costumes; lamentation of lack of recordings; and talks of process of making radio logs. T805 – T807 / CD0561-CD0563

863 Norm Lambert, interviewed by Mark LaFond, March 17, 1975, for an anthropology course AY 123. 4 page index. Lambert talks about country western singers; tenure with WLBZ; duties as music director; live performers as sustained shows; the Carmel Auto rest park; remote broadcasting; activities in the area; different types of music performed on station; popularity of country western music; Maine Central orchestra; similarities between country western and hillbilly music; Uncle Ezra and his show; different performers; his activities as an accompanist with performers; the Maine Central Railroad Orchestra; country western singers and Canadian listeners; the Maine Central Broadcaster; information in a scrapbook; amateur shows versus Uncle Ezra; local dance spots; evolution of popularity of country western music in region; types of instruments used; and other occupations of singers. T823 / CD0564

865 Glenice Beaulieu, interviewed by Mark LaFond, March 27, 1975 for an anthropology course AY 123. 12 page index. Beaulieu talks about list of country western performers; square dancing to music from radio; the Lone Pine Mountaineer; revival of country western music; Uncle Ezra; Ray Little; Jimmie and Dick; radio and country western music; WLBZ; similarities between country western and hillbilly; preference of national to locally produced country western music; local square and contra dances; local band “Kitty Kats”; a discussion of Jimmy and Dick and the players in the group; longevity in the region; compares the Novelty Boys (a band they formed later on) versus other groups; popularity of Novelty Boys; how the group traveled around; instruments they played; outfits they wore while performing; time on the radio; discussion of other singers; differences between Jimmie and Dick and other performers’ ability to create country western music; Eddy Arnold; differences between country and hillbilly music; different singers’ interpretations of country western music; live performances at local halls; and a commentary about the decline in country music performers. T827 – T828 / CD0565-CD0566

866 Cherry Noble Frechette, interviewed by Greg Boardman, March 23, 1975 for an anthropology course AY 123. 4 page index. The interview focuses on Frechette’s experiences playing music and her grandfather, well known fiddler Mellie Dunham. Frechette performs several songs. She discusses Victor Records; her father’s cello playing; band personnel; different tunes; Dunham’s fiddle playing; songs written by him; family and furnishings around the house; family pictures; recordings by Dunham; Frechette’s violin experience; her artificial elbow; fox-trots and square dances; members of Noble’s orchestra; Don Delano’s orchestra; a pieces written by Frechette, more songs performed; reminiscing about dances, fiddles, snow shoes, and a house fire. T829 – T832 / CD0567-CD0569

867 Reid Hand, interviewed by AY-123 class (anthropology) on April 22, 1975. 20 page index. Hand talks about performing and working at the Auto Rest Park; the weekly schedule of the Auto Park events; broadcasting from the Auto Park; Ray Little’s ranch; charging fees on Sundays and Tuesdays; beano; working for Sears on the air; a converted schoolhouse as a dance hall; renovations to the Auto Rest Park; playing for kids’ dances; various performers at Auto Rest; Jimmie and Dick; musical styles of performers; playing accordions; tensions between union and non-union performers; working with different musicians; musicians during Prohibition; working for Sears; the Chateau; growing up in Houlton; playing for WLBZ; performing with multiple instruments; personal health in relation to playing; stories at the Auto Rest; square dances; playing with different orchestras; being a caller; description of pictures shown; performing at different venues; learning and playing music; being a master of ceremonies; more on playing with Sears; discussion of personal health; selling for Sears; visit to Florida; learning different music genres; country music’s popularity; singing; comparison between 1930’s music and current popular (circa 1970s); learning country western songs; modern and older country singers; pay for musicians; amateur shows; owning a dance hall; Uncle Seth’s Hillbilly’s; more on Auto Rest; hiring bands for the Auto Rest; band musicians smoking marijuana; working at the Chateau; more on amateur nights; the demise of Auto Rest; retiring from performances; comparing old with current square dances; playing at the Bar Harbor Hayseeder’s Ball; Bar Harbor in the summer; and more on beano at Auto Park. P581—P582 / T833 — T835 / CD0571-CD0573

868 Ray Prosser, interviewed by Mary Beth Argentieri, March 1, 1975, 1975 for an anthropology course AY 123. 8 page index. Prosser talks about radio programs listened to; his wife’s fan club; celebrities visiting area; singing country western music; his daughter Raegine’s experience in Nashville; different country music performers in area; singing cowboy movies; minstrel shows in the 1940s; Mrs. Prosser’s photo collection of singers; Uncle Zeb; influence of Jimmy and Dick in the region; other performers; Canadian records; locally-produced records; and interview ends with looking at Mrs. Prosser’s record collection. No tape.

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