New Hampshire Old-Time Country Dance Web Site

Dance Programs

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Frank Fortune Dance Program & Repertoire

This page has two parts. First we look at a Frank Fortune evening dance program. Then, based on that and another source I assembled a partial listing of his calling repertoire.

A Frank Fortune Dance Program

A Dance Program from Frank Fortune

Frank Fortune called the Bradford, NH square dance from about 1940 to 1968. For quite some time they had up to 400 dancers show up every Saturday night. He called mostly square dances, and did a variety of round dances as well. The following sequence of dances was from an evening at Frank Fortune’s barn recorded by Jack O’Connor. Many years later it occurred to Jack that the recording might be of interest to others. He eventually got a copy to Walter Lenk, who put it on his excellent website.

Here is the sequence of dances called by Frank and played by the Myron Colby Orchestra. For called dances if the tune name was different from the name of the square it is listed in parentheses. Sets of squares and round dances are marked by horizontal lines.

Rule


A Frank Fortune Dance Program, 1955

1

Waltz

Melody of Love

2

Waltz

My Gal Sal

3

Waltz

It's a Sin to Tell a Lie

4

Square

Life on the Ocean Wave

5

Square

Just Because

6

Square

When the Work's All Done This Fall

7

Polka

Same Old Shalley Papa Brought From Ireland

8

Polka

Unknown

9

Polka

Betty Co-ed

10

Square

Fortune's Fancy (St. Anne's Reel)

11

Square

Sioux City Sue

12

Square

Comin' Round the Mountain

13

Waltz

Beautiful Ohio

14

Waltz

That Naughty Waltz

15

Square

Red River Valley

16

Square

My Little Girl

17

Square

Wabash Cannonball

18

Foxtrot

I Don't Know why I Love You Like I Do

19

Foxtrot

Side by Side

20

Foxtrot

Johnson Rag

21

Square

Little Old Cabin in the Lane

22

Square

Open Up Your Heart

23

Square

Dip and Dive Six in Line (Little Brown Jug)

24

Waltz

Wild Irish Rose

25

Waltz

When Irish Eyes are Smiling

26

Waltz

Irish Lullaby

27

Square

Fortune's Frolic (Lamplighter's Hornpipe)

28

Square

I Want a Girl

29

Square

Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight

30

Intermission

31

Polka

Beer Barrell Polka

32

Polka

Too Fat Polka

33

Polka

Bar Room Polka

34

Square

Honolulu Baby

35

Square

Open Up Your Heart

36

Square

McNamara's Band

37

Schottische

Military Schottische

38

Schottische

Crystal Schottische (Glide Schottische)

39

Polka

Unknown



A Frank Fortune Dance Program, 1955

1

Waltz

Melody of Love

2

Waltz

My Gal Sal

3

Waltz

It's a Sin to Tell a Lie

4

Square

Life on the Ocean Wave

5

Square

Just Because

6

Square

When the Work's All Done This Fall

7

Polka

Same Old Shalley Papa Brought From Ireland

8

Polka

Unknown

9

Polka

Betty Co-ed

10

Square

Fortune's Fancy (St. Anne's Reel)

11

Square

Sioux City Sue

12

Square

Comin' Round the Mountain

13

Waltz

Beautiful Ohio

14

Waltz

That Naughty Waltz

15

Square

Red River Valley

16

Square

My Little Girl

17

Square

Wabash Cannonball

18

Foxtrot

I Don't Know why I Love You Like I Do

19

Foxtrot

Side by Side

20

Foxtrot

Johnson Rag

21

Square

Little Old Cabin in the Lane

22

Square

Open Up Your Heart

23

Square

Dip and Dive Six in Line (Little Brown Jug)

24

Waltz

Wild Irish Rose

25

Waltz

When Irish Eyes are Smiling

26

Waltz

Irish Lullaby

27

Square

Fortune's Frolic (Lamplighter's Hornpipe)

28

Square

I Want a Girl

29

Square

Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight

30

Intermission

31

Polka

Beer Barrell Polka

32

Polka

Too Fat Polka

33

Polka

Bar Room Polka

34

Square

Honolulu Baby

35

Square

Open Up Your Heart

36

Square

McNamara's Band

37

Schottische

Crystal Schottische

38

Schottische

Military Schottische

39

Polka

Unknown


Brief Comments

Frank Fortune appears to have largely followed the format that was fairly common at dances of his time period. Generally there were three squares followed by three round dances. Some callers included an occasional contra, but many didn’t. The variety of round dances is similar to that which I remember from contradances in the late 1970s and 1980s, although they would never occur in sets as in the Bradford dances. Some of the tunes labeled as polkas feel to me almost like schottisches. I would guess that the recording doesn’t go to the end of the dance. The dance generally ended with Till We Meet Again, Now is the Hour and May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You.

This pattern was largely preserved in the Emerson Hill square dance which was started after the Bradford dances ended.

Partial Dance & Tune Repertoire

Partial Repertoire of Frank Fortune & Myron Colby's Orchestra

Walter Lenk’s web site documents the dance recorded by Jack O’Connor in 1955. I was lucky enough to get a copy of another recording from Fortune’s Barn. Clarence Jeffrey attended those dances for a number of years after moving to Webster, NH in 1967. During that time he made a number of recordings, and at some point he assembled a recording of two hours of what he considered the best of his recordings. The recordings are from a number of dances probably spread out over several years, and the choice of tracks to include was certainly influenced by his taste. So this recording can’t tell us much about what was played at any particular dance. But it does contribute to our knowledge of the repertoire of Frank Fortune as a caller and of the Myron Colby Orchestra.

Based on this recording and the recording made by Jack O’Connor, here is a list of the dances Frank Fortune called. This is undoubtedly not his complete repertoire, and the list of tunes is undoubtedly not the complete repertoire of Myron Colby’s Orchestra, but it probably includes most of the dances and tunes that were used frequently.


Squares

  • Coming Round the Mountain
  • Dip & Dive Six
  • Fortune's Fancy
  • Fortune’s Frolic
  • Honolulu Baby
  • Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight
  • I Want a Girl
  • Just Because
  • Life on the Ocean Wave
  • Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane
  • McNamara's Band
  • My Little Girl
  • Open Up Your Heart
  • Red River Valley
  • Sioux City Sue
  • Wabash Cannonball
  • When the Work's all Done This Fall

Most of the squares were singing squares and the tune name is the same as the dance name. There were a few squares that weren’t sung and that could take other tunes. Here are a few that I found.

Fiddle Tunes

  • Lamplighter's Hornpipe
  • Little Brown Jug
  • Rakes of Mallow
  • Soldier’s Joy
  • St. Anne’s Reel
  • Ten Little Indians

Here are some of the tunes they played for the round dances. I’m sure there were more, but this should at least include many/most of the tunes that were played frequently.

Foxtrots

  • I Don't Know why I Love You Like I Do
  • Johnson's Rag
  • Side by Side

Polkas

  • Bar Room Polka
  • Beer Barrel Polka
  • Too Fat Polka

Schottisches

  • Betty Co-Ed
  • Crystal Schottische
  • Military Schottische (Flop Eared Mule)
  • Same Old Shalley Papa Brought From Ireland

Waltzes

  • Beautiful Ohio
  • Irish Lullaby
  • It's a Sin to Tell a Lie
  • Melody of Love
  • My Gal Sal
  • That Naughty Waltz
  • When Irish Eyes are Smiling
  • Wild Irish Rose

Other

  • Piano Blues (unclear what this was played for)

A couple of the schottisches are listed as polkas on Walter’s web site, but they feel more like schottisches, and the accompaniment is more schottische-like, and differs from the accompaniment for obvious polkas, so I’m classifying them as schottisches.

Some Additional Dances

Woody Roberts started playing with Myron (Mike) Colby’s Orchestra in 1956, first as an accordion player, and a few years later as piano player. When the Bradford dance ended he got the Emerson Hill dance started. When Woody started playing piano, Mike Colby made up a list of tunes and keys so they could start playing as soon as Frank Fortune said what he wanted for the next dance, as Frank generally didn't give much advance notice. Walter Lenk's website displays that list. The list of squares isn't complete; Frank Fortune called some dances on the 1955 recording that aren't listed. But it contains a few dances not on the above list, and it gives the keys used for the dances which may be of interest to some people. I have reproduced it below, indicating which dances aren't on the above list.

Over time Woody put together a very extensive book of waltzes, foxtrots and other round dances, and his Big Book also included a section of square dances. Many or most of the squares appear to be from Frank Fortune’s repertoire. I can remember Bobby Boynton calling many of them, and his repertoire was very close to Frank Fortune’s. Therefore I've also listed squares from Woody's Big Book that I suspect were part of Frank Fortune’s calling repertoire and that aren't on the other lists.


Squares from Mike Colby's List

  • Coming Round the Mountain (G)
  • Dip & Dive (G; possibly Redwing)
  • Golden Slippers (G) — additional dance
  • Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight (G)
  • I Only Want a Buddy (G) — additional dance
  • I Want a Girl (Bb)
  • Just Because (Bb)
  • Life on the Ocean Wave
  • Little Brown Jug (C; used for Dip and Dive)
  • Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane (F)
  • Marching Through Georgia (G) — additional dance
  • McNamara's Band (F)
  • My Little Girl (Bb)
  • Oh Johnny (C) — additional dance
  • Open Up Your Heart (F)
  • Pistol Packin' Mama (G) — additional dance
  • Rose of San Antone (San Antonio Rose, G) — additional dance
  • Sioux City Sue (F)
  • This Old House (Eb) — additional dance
  • Wabash Cannonball (G)
  • When the Work's all Done This Fall (C)
  • Yellow Rose of Texas (G) — additional dance

Additional Squares from Woody's Big Book

  • Bell Bottom Trousers
  • Crooked Stovepipe
  • Darling Nellie Gray
  • Four Leaf Clover
  • Hinky Dinky Parlez Vous
  • Listen to the Mockingbird
  • Solomon Levi
  • Spanish Cavaliero
  • Waltz Promenade
  • You Call Everybody Darling

Brief note: As this may be where I make the most use of Walter Lenk's website I would like to point out that I sent an email to the address recommended by someone who has worked with them some to get permission, but received no responsee. I believe this represents fair use, but if you read this and think not, please get in touch with me and let me know.