Thursday, February 1, 2024

Foster's Old Time Fiddlers

Charles D. Foster was born in Nebraska, in 1880. His family later moved to Oklahoma, then (drum roll, please) Colorado. Musically proficient, Foster could play a number of instruments. It was in Colorado where he began his love of square dancing and fiddle music. Much like his famous-counterpart, Lloyd "Pappy" Shaw, Foster promoted square dance throughout the state, calling dances throughout Colorado, with his band Foster Folkway Features / C.D. Foster Orchestra. 

Aurora Democrat - Dec. 4, 1942

In 1942, Foster penned what was considered the first set of dance "cards" (square dance calls used by announcers). Learn to Dance the Foster Way were so successful, he printed a second volume. A third set would feature caller Charlie Thomas.

Click to enlarge

The test pressing records featured were discovered at a South Denver area estate sale, in a custom case. These are an amazing Colorado music find, which were destined for the trash, on the last day of the sale (whew). They were made in 1948 and notes K-W Recording, which is otherwise known as the Folkraft label (home of Grady Hester, Shorty Warren, Harold Goodfellow, and the Folkrafters). Interesting to note, the Folkraft Country Dance Orchestra featured early Pete Seeger recordings (1946).

According to a story in Let's Dance (December 1948 issue) - "Veteran square dancers have always clamored for twelve-inch unbreakable records of music without calls. The new Folkraft "Homesteader" series of four records on vinylite certainly satisfies this need. Music is by C. D. Foster's Old Time Fiddlers—and is the real "fiddlin'" music traditionally authentic to the square dance. Callers, accustomed to the orchestra-type music (all that was previously available) may find these strange to work with at first—but they are the real stuff. These records are obtainable singly, and are numbered F-1026 to F-1029. Some of the titles are intriguing. "Steamboat Bill," "Speed the Plow," "Mississippi Sawyer," "Down in the Tall Grass," etc." (NOTE: Denver's Lorraine Wingo [1926-2004], known for her accordion talents on the Western Caravan TV show, with Daughters of the Pioneers and Gene Autry, also recorded on the label, that same year - F-1023-1025). 

Listen to a sample of "Mississippi Sawyer"

Listen to a sample of "Down in the Tall Grass"

Foster's band would continue to tour throughout the 1940s, appearing as a regular at the Moose Hall in Denver, and the Golden Chateau club, in Golden. 

 Colorado Transcript - April 21, 1949 (click to enlarge)

In 1947, Foster appeared as an associate editor of American Squares magazine. He died in 1976, and is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery, Wheat Ridge.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Penny Carson Nichols Vinyl Release

What a way to start the new year!

I've kept this news quiet for almost three years (and it's been brutal). Shortly after my January 2021 post, I was contacted by Yoga Records, with interest to re-release the Penny Carson Nichols cassette. 

The result is spectacular. Only 500 of these masterpieces will be available, on vinyl. If you are a fan of Connie Converse, Sibylle Baier, Molly Drake, and Vashti Bunyan, you will love this previously-unreleased Colorado find.

Preorder yours, today. (February, 2024 vinyl release, or download today).

My thanks to Penny, for trusting us all with her work. I'm so glad your beautiful voice will now be shared with a larger audience. Thank you to Douglas McGowan, at Yoga Records, for his constant pursuit of music which needs to be heard. Thank you to Tyler Craft and Chris Cohen for your producing and mastering magic.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Rockley Music - Lakewood, Colorado

Wanted to post this cardboard flexi from the Rockley Music Company, Lakewood. I can only guess that this was supposed to be like a radio commercial (given the :30 length), but sadly there is no year to attach to this. No ID on who the announcer is. As is the case with most older flexi discs, the sound quality is atrocious.

Rockley Music began in 1946 by Melvin and Mildred Rockley. Its Colfax location stayed in business until 2019, later moving to Wheat Ridge. The family also runs the Rockley Family Foundation.

Sorry for the long absence. Had to take about a year off from posting to work on other projects, one of which includes a soon-to-be re-release of a previously-unknown Colorado recording. Very excited to share that will you, in the next couple of months. All good.

I can't guarantee I'm back to regular posts, but I hope to keep this blog semi-active in 2024.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Doug Rymerson (Lead Guitarist for The Trolls)

 Doug Rymerson (right) with Phil Head (photo courtesy of Phil Head)

Sad news to report that Doug Rymerson, the lead guitarist for the iconic garage rock band The Trolls (audio), has passed away.

The news came by way of Trolls drummer Phil Head, who shared this tribute:

"I learned this morning of the passing of Doug Rymerson (Digger) lead guitar for the Trolls. A more gentle spirit you could not find. I shared my first apartment with him and lived together in several places. He was the TROLL I was closest to. We were drinking buddies back in the day. Denny (RIP), Digger, and myself shared a mobile home for a short time. Digger spent endless hours meticulously learning the latest songs. His work ethic had much to do with our success. He was from St Paul, Minnesota and I spent a Christmas with him and his parents getting to meet all of his high school friends. All being gentle people help to explain his demeanor. I am so glad I got to spend part of my musical life with him. God bless you Digger, you made many people happy while you were with us."

More pictures of the group

Monday, November 7, 2022

Our Next Governor March - A.W. McIntire

Hey all! Finally getting around to filing a stack of sheet music I have, and (re)discovered this amazing find - a 1894 copy of "Our Next Governor March."

Nice early political Colorado piece, as it appears to be a composition hyping recently-elected Governor Albert Willis McIntire.

This has to be the first piece of music memorabilia mentioning the tiny San Luis Valley town of Conejos (below the governor's name).

Yes, I did noticed that the last name of the governor (and his hometown city name) is spelled wrong. I guess in the hurry to print, accidents happen. 

Composed by C.E. Anderson, the instrumental was published by Argenta Music, Denver. It lists J.J. Guentherodt as its copyright holder.

McIntire was Colorado governor from 1895-1897. According to his obituary he was originally from Pittsburgh, but relocated to Colorado in 1876.  He announced his run for governor, in 1894. In the general election, he defeated the Populist Governor David H. Waite and the Democrat Charles Thomas. During his administration, leasing of state lands was limited to ten years, the State Bureau of Mines was created, and the age of consent for girls was raised from sixteen to eighteen. In June of 1896, he sent the state militia to Leadville to put down a strike of silver miners. His term ended on January 12, 1897 and he resumed the practice of law and ranching in the San Luis Valley. He purchased a large cattle ranch on the Conejos River, north of the present day town of La Jara.

He died in 1935, and is buried in the La Jara Cemetery.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

God Save the Queen


Hey all. While the gender and royal title have recently changed, I wanted to post this rendition of "God Save the Queen," by the NORAD band. The EP features sign-off music for either radio or television (back when both would only stay on the air until midnight). Side one features "America The Beautiful" and "The Star Spangled Banner." Side two includes "O Canada," and "God Save the Queen." Songs were directed by Major Vic Molzer and produced by Capt. Terry Hemeyer (1:10 audio below).

Rest in peace, Your Majesty.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

You'll really dig the action at Tulagi's!


Working on a massive reel-to-reel project, helping a friend sell off his incredible collection. Among the finds is this undated radio commercial for Tulagi, the historic Boulder bar. Warning, this catchy jingle will be an earworm! 


I'm not going to copy and paste the hard work of others, so head over to the About Boulder website, for more on this iconic location, and its rich music history.