AY 123/AY 325 Country Music in Maine Series
Scope and Contents
A series of interviews about country music in Maine recorded for a class (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.
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Language of Materials
NA0847 Eva Littlefield and Mary Slate (Littlefield’s daughter), interviewed by Lisa Feldman for AY 123, March 9, 1975, Orono, Maine. Littlefield and her children talk about her husband Seth Littlefield and his career in music in the Bangor, Maine area; a series of photographs that were not included in accession; 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. Text: 8 pp. index. Recording: mfc_na0847_t0783_01 - mfc_na0847_t0784_01 97 minutes.
NA0848 Ann Little and Ray Little, interviewed by Edward D. “Sandy” Ives for AY 123, April 2, 1975, in Milbridge, Maine. Others present at interview are Lisa Feldman, Mary Beth Argentieri, and Mark Lafond. The Littles talk about their background information; their move to Maine; country music business and performance; traveling and radio shows; nature of working as a band on the radio; band members; local musicians (e.g., Lone Pine Mountaineer); publicity and the 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. Text: 26 pp. transcript, 7 pp. index. Recording: mfc_na0848_t0785_01&02, mfc_na0848_t0786_01 100 minutes.
NA0849 Horace Dinsmore, interviewed by Edward D. “Sandy” Ives for AY 123 (which Ives taught), March 7, 1975, Bangor, Maine. Mary Beth Argentieri was present at the interview. 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 a five minute recording with Sally Olsen about a legend, conducted by Edward D. Ives, on March 6, 1975. Text: 6 pp. index. Recording: mfc_na0849_t0787_01 60 minutes.
NA0855 Otto Soper, interviewed by Greg Boardman for AY 123, March 4, 1975, Orland, Maine. Soper talks about his musical career. Soper also plays tunes on piano, Boardman on fiddle, and John Gawler on 5-string banjo. Text: 4 pp. index. Recording: mfc_na0855_t0803_01&02, mfc_na0855_t0804_01 103 minutes.
NA0856 Irving Hunter, interviewed by Edward D. “Sandy” Ives for AY 123 (which Ives taught), March 12, 1975. Lisa Feldman was present at the interview. 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; process of making radio logs. Also included: pages of handwritten notes. Text: 8 pp. index and notes. Recording: mfc_na0856_t0805_01-mfc_na0856_t0807_01 152 minutes.
NA0863 Norm Lambert, interviewed by Mark LaFond for AY 123, March 17, 1975, Hampden, Maine. 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. Text: 3 pp. index. Recording: mfc_na0863_t0823_01 57 minutes.
NA0864 Mary Lou “Francis” Paul, interviewed by Lisa Feldman and Greg Boardman, March 17, 1975, Old Town, Maine. Paul talks about her activities as a pianist and early radio in the Bangor, Maine area in the 1930s. Text: 35 pp. transcript. Recording: mfc_na0864_t0824_01, mfc_na0864_t0824_02, mfc_na0864_t0825_01, mfc_na0864_t0826_01 2 hours.
NA0865 Glenice Beaulieu, interviewed by Mark LaFond and Mary Beth Argenteiri for AY 123, March 27, 1975. 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. Text: 10 pp. index. Recording: mfc_na0865_t0827_01 - mfc_na0865_t0828_01 116 minutes.
NA0866 Cherry Noble Frechette, interviewed by Greg Boardman for AY 123, March 23, 1975. Feuchette talks about her experiences playing music; her grandfather, well known fiddler Mellie Dunham; 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; Feuchette’s violin experience; her artificial elbow; ox-trots and square dances; members of Noble’s orchestra; Don Delano’s orchestra; pieces written by Feuchette; dances; fiddles; snow shoes; and a house fire. Feuchette also performs several songs. Text: 4 pp. index. Recording: mfc_na0866_t0829_01-mfc_na0866_t0832_01 215 minutes.
NA0867 Reid Hand, interviewed by the spring 1975 AY 123 class, April 22, 1975. 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 dancehall; 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. Text: 19 pp. index.Recording: mfc_na0867_t0833_01-mfc_na0867_t0835_01 159 minutes. Photos: P00581 - P00582.
NA0868 Ray Prosser, interviewed by Mary Beth Argentieri for AY 123, March 1, 1975, Surry, Maine. 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; interview ends with looking at Mrs. Prosser’s record collection. Text: 8 pp. index with select transcription.
NA0869 Leo Murphy, interviewed by Greg Boardman for AY 123, April 15, 1975, Brewer, Maine. Murphy talks about old time fiddling, past and present, in the Maritimes and New England; music played. Text: 3 pp. brief catalog. Recording: mfc_na0869_t0836_01-mfc_na0869_t0837_01 93 minutes.
Existence and Location of Originals
Located at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: AFC 2012/047 https://lccn.loc.gov/2013655211.
Materials Specific Details
Audio files are the primary source material. Transcriptions are the transcriber's best effort to convert audio to text, but should be considered secondary to the audio.
- Guide to AY 123/AY 325 Country Music in Maine Series
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- May 2018
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Part of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History Repository
5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States