Article Details

Fenton (Jonesy) Jones August 26, 1996

[Editors Note: Bob says Jonesy started talking before the recorder started so the first sentences are missing. It appears that the middle portion of the audio, perhaps a third tape, has been lost. Thus the first audio disk finishes but the transcript continues. Bob also indicated that Jonesy continued talking while the tape was being turned over part way through the interview. This might account for the abrupt end of the transcript at one point just before the transcript of the 2nd tape starts. ] 
 
Bob Brundage: It quit working again for just a minute. But go ahead, you were telling me your first experience with the radio.
 
Fenton Jones: That was the first experience, actually playing an instrument. My, first experience on the radio …. the Glendale Fire Department years ago used to have an awful lot of talent. They had men who had been in show business.
 
B: Uh, huh
 
J: Firemen. They established a fire department orchestra. And they was on KELW, a little twenty four hour station out here in the Valley that carried all the way to San Diego (laughs).
 
B: OK.
 
J: And my friend John Freeman, he played, big … he had the biggest guitar I have ever seen.
 
B: That right?
 
J: And he was a big fella to start out with, you know. And he'd play that guitar, and he taught me quite a little bit on it. And he got … he says, "I'll take you and your friend Kenneth McDonald, you sing duets together and we'll put you on the show." So I says, "Fine." Well, that was my first radio experience ...
 
B: OK.
 
J: ... my ("dayboo") in radio. (Jonesy seemed to intentionally mangle or distort the pronunciation of this word, "debut," in a playful or folksy manner jw)
 
B: What year was that, now?
 
J: Oh, that's back in the twenties.
 
B: In the twenties. All right.
 
J: Yeah, in the twenties. And uh, of course we were, you know, we were gonna sing "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane."
 
B: All right.
 
J: I started out ... there's several verses ... I started out ... by the fifth verse I hadn't heard no tenor.
 
B: Ah hah!
 
J: We were sitting at a table, with a table mic. ... in the studio. And they had an audience back in the glassed-in area.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: And so he couldn't see the audience, you know, but I got along about ... close towards last two verses and I wonder, "What's the matter with Mac?" And (laughs) I looked over and his mouth was open but nothing was coming out (laughs). He had mic. fright.
 
B: Oh he did, eh?
 
J: So I picked up the next verse.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: I missed one verse, but I picked up the next verse and I carried it on. At the very last line I heard a little squeak. That was all they got outta him. And that was my "dayboo" in radio, see? You might say.
 
B: That was the end of your duet. Right?
 
J: And then we organized this group of musicians. Got on Bob Schorr’s program, just after he got through lambasting the city fathers. And we got radio experience there. Blues Eradicators.
 
B: Blues Eradicators.
 
J: And then, the next thing, there was a man come out here from Ft. Worth, Texas. And if I talk like a Texan, which fools a lot of people, I got it from the Texans and Oklahomans I worked with for a good many years in what we called "hillbilly cowboy" music. No "country western" or anything like that, before the Sons of the Pioneers, you see.
 
B: Uh huh. OK.
 
J: That was in the twenties, too. And we had an old time fiddler, Sheriff Pop Waller we called him. He looked like an old time sheriff. Great big moustache and silver hair, like yours you know. And he was a big fellow and he could play … I worked with him for eight years and he could ... always coming up with something we'd never heard before.
 
B: Is that right?
 
J: And he was a wonderful ... so we organized … this man took over … across the street where I was room and boarding at that time … he took over a service station ... Richfield service station.
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: And he said "I want to know if you know any hillbilly musicians”. I said, "Yeah. I'm acquainted with a few of them, banjo players and ... and a fiddler and all.” And he said, "Well, my two nephews are good singers and," he says, "I play harmonica." And he plays harmonica …, Fox and Hounds and all that, you know. And he has what you call a "whiskey tenor," we always used to call it. (laughs)
 
B: OK.
 
J: He wasn't a drinker. But he just ... a "whiskey tenor," we called him.
 
B: Right. Right.
 
J: And he says "Why don't we organize a group? And I'll build a platform out here by the service station under the big tree ... it was called the "Big Tree" service station. "I'll build a platform out here and ... we get together every Wednesday night and just entertain the neighborhood ... just for the fun of it."
 
B: OK.
 
J: So we started doing that. And we would play for... just for the fun of playing and people come from the whole neighborhood. And he pitched his tires and his oil and his gasoline and all of that. Well then, he was quite a promoter too, so he says, "I got a job for us. No pay, but it's up at the First Baptist Church." That's down here on Wilson Street in Glendale. And the preacher down there wasn't able to fill his church, so he started puttin' on shows and then he'd fill the church. And then he'd lock the door so's people couldn't get out.
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: And then pushed the gospel right ... gospel right down the line, see?
 
B: Fire and brimstone.
 
J: So, we organized a group. And he being from Fort Worth, Texas ... Fort Worth is called "Cow Town" ... so we called ‘em the "Texas Cow Town Boys." And I was the only prune-picker in that whole group. They was all from Oklahoma or Texas, Louisiana, places like that in the South. And so they called me the "California Okie."
 
B: All right.
 
J: They give me the name. Jack Guthrie was one of my close friends, you know. He was a better singer ...
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: ... than Woodie.
 
B: Uh huh!
 
J: Oh, a far better singer than Woodie.
 
B: OK.
 
J: Woodie got all the credit for it, but Jack was ... I got one of his records out in the garage. I wouldn't part with it for nothing.
 
B: Right.
 
J: But anyway, that was the ... we organized and the next time he ... he come up .. he says, "Now I got a pay job." But Bruce was a funny guy. He could go to church and pray like the devil, but then he could cheat the pants off of you when it come to money. See? But he got the opening ... grand opening of the Union Public Market there on South Brand here in Glendale, which later became McMahon's Furniture Store, and still is.
 
B: OK.
 
J: He opened ... three nights ... three days of entertainment. So we had ... that was the first pay job. And then we got onto KFBD. We got on KMPC. And we made ... you didn't make a lot of money in those days, you know, but you made a few dollars doing ... and then the depression come along and every buck you got, every nickel you got, was worth something, you know?
 
B: Sure.
 
J: Well then from ... from that part of course, I organized bands too. We played old-time dances. Do you remember the Johnson Club?
 
B: No, no.
 
J: (laughs) I have to laugh, but so many people don't remember the old H. Johnson Club.
 
B: Uh, huh.
 
J: Well that was the first ... actually  ... I think that was the first gathering of senior citizens.
 
B: Oh, yeah.
 
J: And it was right across from the Post Office, down here on Broadway. There was a little dance hall.
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: One story building. And every Saturday night they had … the old Johnson Club members. Doctor Johnson wanted the government to give them two hundred dollars a month ... senior citizens ... that they would have to spend. They could not put it in a bank or save it. They would have to spend it.  Keep the money circulating, you see.
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: At the same time, this is at the beginning of the depression. And so they ... we played old time dances there at the Moose Club in Glendale on Wednesday nights. Old time dances ... and we entertained out at Old Calabasas out here, which don't even look like it used to be with Old Calabasas.
 
B: Oh, sure.
 
J: There was a hangman’s tree.
 
B: OK.
 
J: We played there, every Saturday night, for a long, long time. It took, at that time, without the freeway ... it took you two hours to get to Calabasas ...
 
B: Is that right?
 
J: ... from here. Now you can get up there in forty five minutes.
 
B: Sure. Right.
 
J: But we played up there every Saturday night. We played in the cafe first ... entertaining in the cafe. An old couple owned the cafe, they were, East Indian ...
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: ... you know. And next door was an improvised ... it had been a store, with accordion type doors and they made a dance hall out of it.
 
B: OK.
 
J: And we had ... every Saturday night ... we had the best fights you ever saw in your life, too.
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: ... because they had a group called … Pugilists ... Young Pugilists, from Van Nuys. And Hearst had a big ranch up there … and his cowboys. And they come down to dance and the Pugilists would come from Van Nuys. And if they just bumped an elbow, so help me, a fight started, see?
 
B: OK.
 
J: Every Saturday night we had very good fights along with our dances ...
 
B: Just for ...
 
J: ... that was the starting of entertaining.
 
B: Right.
 
J: I first started to learn on a ukulele.
 
B: Ah hah.
 
J: And then ... my mother was a concert pianist and a concert guitarist, but she passed away when I was only seven years old or I'd have been a real musician, you know?
 
B: Yeah. Yeah.
 
J: But, uh ... I still got the ukulele sitting over there.
 
B: There you go.
 
J: ... came from Hawaii. My brother-in-law back ... brought it back one time. But I started on the ukulele. Then I wanted to play the guitar. So I ... then I took over the guitar. And I used the guitar in my work for years, you know, on singing calls. If I didn't have an instrumental for it, I had a guitar. I was one jump ahead of the boys that ...
 
B: Right.
 
J: ... don't play guitar. See?
 
B: Right.
 
J: And, uh ... had a yoke ...
 
B: ... microphone.
 
J: ... microphone.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ... and a guitar hooked up to the amplifier, you know. That's why, my wife says, I got round shouldered ... scooting into the ...
 
B: Oh yeah. Talking into the mic.. Yeah.
 
J: ... mouth into that mic.. You know.
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: Cause she says, "Boy, when I met you, you had the straightest back I ever saw." You know.
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: And, uh ...
 
B: I wanted to ask you, Jonesy. You're talking about old time dances. What would be a typical ... what do you ... how do you describe old time dances?
 
J: How do I identify them?
 
B: No. How do you describe them? Now I mean, were they like visiting couple dances or ... ?
 
J: Oh, yeah.
 
B: They were. OK.
 
J: But old time dances also have your square dancing.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: They have, your Virginia Reels ...
 
B: OK.
 
J: ... and they have, dances like I just mentioned a little while ago.
 
B: Yeah. OK.
 
J: I don't know whether you'd remember them or not, but I remember some of the numbers we played. One was the Princess Glide.
 
B: No, never.
 
J: (laughs) Princess Glide, and the Oxford Minuet.
 
B: Oxford Minuet. OK.
 
J: We played that one. I could go through a whole bunch of them. If I say ... you think of them ... all old time dances.
 
B: Yeah. How ‘bout Varsouvianna?
 
J: Yeah. Varsouvianna. And then you had … you had your two steps. You had your waltzes ...
 
B: OK.
 
J: ... and all ... every type of music. I just carried on with records ... the same thing ... Saturday night for Jehovah’s Witnesses at Beverly Hills  ....
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: ... once a year. This is the twenty fifth year. And they took me over and they brought me home. And I used records. Now, when you go on a one-night-stand, you don't just stick to one certain type of record. You'd have ... you've gotta have a lot of records.
 
B: Right.
 
J: They'll come up. They'll ask for latin, tango, the rumba, things like that. They'll come up and ask ... at the breaks. You teach them, about ... for half an hour and then you take a break. And then on the breaks they like to get out and dance other dances.
 
B: OK.
 
J: So you put on the Twist ... in there for a little while … they'll do all the fun ... all the fun dances. The Birdie Song. The Hokey Pokey.
 
B: OK.
 
J: And I also use different dances that ... I believe that if you're gonna teach them circle dances like Patty Cake Polka, Jiffy Mixer, and, All American Promenade ...
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: ...which has a Whirl Away With a Half Sashay...
 
B: Right. Right.
 
J: If you do the Bingo ....
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: You've done that one ...
 
B: Yeah. Bingo.
 
J: Alright ... lady Roll Away With a Half Sashay ...
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ... that teaches, them that
 
B: OK.
 
J: ... on American Promenade. See?
 
B: Right.
 
J: And that's the way I work it out, but I give them everything. So there was a little lull there, I wasn't getting them out on the floor. It's a tennis court, and I wasn't getting them out on the tennis court. So I just reached over and took a record of ... a forty five of the Bee Gees. (laughs) I put that (laughs) tennis court full of people going through the funny motions they used to do … And then I put on another one ... I forget what it was ... right after that. And they all come out again. See? But I had given them so many square dances. I gave them the Virginia Reel. I teach only half of it first ... the first half. And then I teach the reel part ... the second ... later on. See?
 
B: I do the same thing.
 
J: ... and all fun. Everything’s fun.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: Well. I sent a caller in my place, one time. And I was amazed. Asked him ... I asked him, "Do you call the Virginia Reel?"
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: You know, a lot of these fellows say they call for one night stands ... I don’t know what they use.
 
B: Right
 
J: I think they must try to conduct it like a class.
 
B: Yeah. Yeah.
 
J: And it's not a class. You know that.
 
B: Sure. Right.
 
J: But that was the starting of ... of my introduction into music, you know. See? And then when ... I got the angel sitting on my shoulder. We used to have ... remember the Packard Bell and Howard Radio phonograph and recorder?
 
B: OK.
 
J: ... and you recorded your own records?
 
B: I see.
 
J: Well, I had a bee in my bonnet. I figured I could sell it. And I've always said ... it's a funny thing but I always said that “if you have a group in the park and you get up there with a bottle of horse manure, and you can sell ... if you think that you can sell it, you'll sell it”. See?
 
B: Yeah. Right.
 
J: Well, I had the idea in my mind that I could do singing ... a singing call, to old time dance ... that ... "A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight."
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: So I recorded it here, with a guitar, on a little acetate. And I took it out to sell it. Well, the angel come in here ... sit on my shoulder. Because at that time, I was calling ... Les Gotcher and I both was calling square dances at Hoot Gibson’s Old Painted Post.
 
B: Alright.
 
J: And a promoter had taken it over who was a showman. He'd bought it. And he's the one that put Les on the road and called him the "Worlds Champion" square dance caller.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: (laughs) And Les believed it.
 
B: (laughs) Right.
 
J: He, along with another caller, Bill Moody, they both ... they were the "Worlds Champions."
 
B: OK.
 
J: Anyway, I got this idea in my head and I said, "I'm gonna sell it." So I took the Pages, Yellow Pages, and I wrote down all the recording companies over in Hollywood. And one that I hadn't seen before was C. P. MacGregor. And MacGregor, you know, was high in the Shrine …
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: He got two ... two ... well, the highest potentate ... he got two more steps higher before he passed away.
 
B: OK.
 
J: And I went over ... colder than a frog. I didn't know … know anyone. But that was the closest one to ... from ... down where we live in South Glendale. Over there … right over Hyperion (Ave.) and that was the closest one. So I went there first. But the angel guided me there, because what happened ... you wouldn't believe this ... what happened. Well, listen. I went in. The lady receptionist there said, "Can I do something for you?" I says, "Yes." I says, "I'd like to talk to somebody in regards to recording square dances." "Oh." Says, "We're recording a caller now and I don't think they'd be interested." I said, "Do you mind telling me what your callers name is?" She says, "Les Gotcher." (laughs) Lady, the only difference between Les and me, he can do patter calls but he can't sing period.
 
B: Right.
 
J: And I says, "I can sing." And so she says, "Well, I don't ... I still don't think they'd be interested." I says, "OK. I'm going to Hollywood. I'm going over to Capitol, I'm going to Columbia, and Victor, MGM, you name it. Somebody’s gonna make a lot of money." Well, you tell anybody working for a Scotsman that and they get interested. You see?
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: (laughs) So she says, "Sit down. I'll call Art." And here's where the angel comes in. See?
 
B: OK.
 
J: A man come in the door … and he opened the door and come in. And I jumped up and started giving him the big long spiel, you know. And he says "My name is Jones." I says, "So's mine." I says, "I'm looking for somebody by the name of Art." "Oh," says, "give him time, he'll be out here directly." As the door opened, and a man stepped in, and I says, "What in the Sam Hill are you doing here?" Well, he says, "Jonesy," he says, "I'm the chief sound engineer here at MacGregor for twelve years”. He danced every ... he and his wife, Marie ... danced every night at the Old Painted Post. I never asked him where he worked.
 
B: Sure.
 
J: But the angel said, "Go there first." See?
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: Cause he said, "Whatcha got in mind?" I says, "Well, I understand you're recording Les." "Yeah." I says, "Well you know Les can't sing. I'm trying to teach him." (laughs)
 
B: (laughs) Good Luck, huh?
 
J: So he says, "What you got in mind?"
 
B: Good Luck.
 
J: I told him ... I say, "Here's the acetate I made, "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," singing call." And he says, "Can you come back in the back studio and forget Local 47 for a little while? Bring ... you got your guitar?" "Yeah," I said. "Go and get it and we'll go back to the main studio in the back and make a good recording for Mr. MacGregor." As a result of that, I was with MacGregor Records almost sixteen years.
 
B: Uh huh. Yeah.
 
J: See? The angel said go there first.
 
B: Yeah. Sure.
 
J: .... go there first. Later on I went to Capitol, but MacGregor says, "Singing calls for us. Capitol, patter calls ... no singing calls."
 
B: OK.
 
J: And we did one for Bob Wills. He come out here. And that was a funny one, too, because Bob Wills ... don't know how to call a square dance.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: He can say “Haw, Haw - Swing your partner." But that's about it.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: But he come out here and he wanted to record a square dance caller, and I got the job. And his manager says, "You know your name won't be on the record."
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: “The only name on that record says, Bob Wills..."
 
B: Right.
 
J: "... Texas Playboys." I says, "Long as I get paid, I don't care." See? Well, when it was released this station out in Van Nuys ... our square dancers in the Valley told me about it ... this disc jockey says, "Oh! New release of Bob Wills, and he calls a square dance." And so ... they said he started to spin it. My voice comes on. The phone starts ringing, people calling. (laughs) They said, "This isn't Bob Wills. That's Jonesy, we know his voice."
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: (laughs) And they said the guy says, "Well how was I” ... right over the mic., he says, "How was I supposed to know? His name's not on here."
 
B: Right.
 
J: Bob Wills wouldn't let nobody else’s name be on that record. See?
 
B: Sure.
 
J: But everybody knew my voice, and that was a real funny part about it.
 
B: That's funny.
 
J: Finally got in ... from there ... that ballooned in … from the recording end of it ... that number four album took me clear over the whole United States, Florence and I, and most of ... three fourths of Canada.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: And took me further into further recording. It also went international, clear to Europe. They got our records. They had to go through the black market in London. I taught the people in London how to square dance, you know.
 
B: Did you really?
 
J: Yeah.
 
B: OK.
 
J: I was one of them.
 
B: Good.
 
J: I think one of the other callers was over there and taught them a lot, but I taught them by correspondence.
 
B: (Laughs)
 
J: And at the ... when they took us back to get the Milestone Award.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: We was waiting in line to go in ... in the banquet hall, and two Englishmen came up to me.
 
B: Ay ah.
 
J: And they says "Jonesy, if it hadn't been for you, we would not be square dancers. Hadn’t been for you we would not have been square dance callers. And we wanna tell you something. We don't say ‘pahs thru’ anymore."
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: "… or ‘hawlf’ anymore. We say ‘pass thru’ and ‘half’.” (laughs) Gave me the biggest laugh out of that, you know.
 
B: Yeah. Sure.
 
J: (laughs) And Herb Greggerson was on. You know, he went ... he died shortly after that.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: He was given the Milestone that night, but he was paralyzed some way, shape or form.
 
B: At the same time you were. I see.
 
J: Herb was a ... real nice person.
 
B: Yes. I knew Herb.
 
J: Real nice person. He put out the Blue Bonnet number one, two and three and so forth. And, one of the things, though. He'd come out here and he would, teach the "Cowboy Do Si Do," which Lloyd Shaw later called "Do Paso."
 
B: Right.
 
J: BOY, that burned me, when he did that.
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: Lloyd Shaw, that's when he was … I loved Lloyd Shaw. But I ... I never went to his institutes or anything. But I met him when he come out here. Real gentleman if I ever met one, and a real terrific man.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: And I got my picture taken with him on the stand down in Santa Monica. Lotta people don't know that, but I got my picture taken with him right alongside me.
 
B: Yeah. Was that the time ...?
 
J: Lloyd Shaw was …you might say ... responsible, you know, by taking his dancers ...
 
B: Right.
 
J: ... in the thirties ...
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ... all over the country. He was ... he couldn't ... he was crippled though. He couldn't dance himself, you see.
 
B: No. I know.
 
J: But he could teach. He was a good instructor. But that ... also went into motion pictures.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ... as a square dance caller.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: I was classified as a ... carry an "A" card ... as an actor, you see. You get privileges when you're an actor. You get a ... you get a dressing room all your own.
 
B: Right.
 
J: You don't have to go into Wardrobe and change clothes. (laughs)
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: There's a lot of things that are behind me now, you know.
 
B: Sure.
 
J: Then I called for all the clubs here ... and strictly around this area ... the whole area here and all. I called for Fairs and Squares in Santa Barbara, where you just come from, many, many times ...
 
B: Right.
 
J: ... up there for Fairs and Squares.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: Bruce had them ... he was their regular caller. But ... but there's just so many things that happened, you know, just from being a square dance caller. They wanted a square dance caller in a motion picture. I belonged to the Guild so I got to call, you know, through an agent I guess.
 
B: Yeah
 
J: And I worked in several … a good many pictures … one ... one picture we was working in ... and, Ooh! We was with the most awful director I ever heard in my life. Swear at everybody and … O'Brian was the actor. He was taking the place ... they ... they had to re-shoot parts of the film over.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ...with … what was his first name? O'Brian?
 
B: Huh.
 
J: I'm trying to think of it now and I can't think of it. But the other actor had been called with "The Ten" to Washington. The "Hollywood Ten" that they suspicioned of being Communist.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: And so, they had to redo his part all over. And O'Brian had to take it.
 
B: Pat O' .... Wasn't it Pat O'Brian?
 
J: Pat O'Brian! Give us five minutes and you get it!
 
B: You got it!
 
J: He was in the dressing room and this bully .... he was the meanest director I ever worked under. He was sitting up there on the boom, you know. And he hollered, swearing at him, "Get out of there you so-and-so-and-so-and-so."
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: "Get down there on the set." If he'd done that with me, I'd have been a fight right now, you know. But he come down laughing, see, and so he did his part ... filling in for this other actor. And then I did my part. And we did her just one, two, three. Just like that. And arms around each others shoulders, we walked out. "We showed the old guy. Didn't we?" (Laughs) Now. I got into that ... traveled all over the United States ... by invitation only.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ... was a ... back there in Kansas City they asked me ... it was the first time I ever went east of California. They asked me to be the guest caller at the ...
 
B: The Nat ....
 
J: ... Municipal Auditorium. I'll get that out.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: Three nights and three days. And it was the only thing that come out in the black ...
 
B: Huh!
 
J: ...of the whole Centennial celebration. The second year they asked me to go call, Ricky Holden ... and Ricky was kind of ...
 
B: Funny guy, huh?
 
J: Yeah. He was not as bad as Les was. Les, you know ... Les was a renegade.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: And anything that burned me up ... this man that took over the American Squares ...
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ... he published ... you read it probably ... the complaints that Les Gotcher had. He published that. I quit taking the magazine, just like that. I won't take a magazine that will publish running down Lloyd Shaw ...
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: ... running down the Callers' Association, running down ... Ray Shaw ...
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ... Lloyd’s brother.
 
B: Right.
 
J: He ... Ray Shaw was greater than ... out here ... greater than Lloyd, you know. But, to publish a man running down every same ... everybody but himself. And he was the one to blame for everything.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: He wanted ... he said the Callers' Association was organized to keep him out. The Callers' Association would have taken him in, IF, he had said, "I don't drink on the job." He said, "If I want to drink on the job that's MY business." And he ... when ... he used to drink on the job ...
 
B: Huh.
 
J: ...and that's kinda ... see ... that's why he wrecked himself on the calls ... the clubs out here.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: He was ... he was ... in the early days when there was nothing out there in the Valley except country ...
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ... and he was supposed to call for a club out there. They was gonna give him fifteen dollars, which at that time was the minimum. See? And twenty five was the maximum. And he was gonna ... he was gonna call for them. And he didn't show up.
 
B: Ah, hah!
 
J: I got a call on the phone. And, says, "Our caller, Les Gotcher, didn't show up. Can you come out and call for us?" See? And it's clear out to Northridge. Well, I filled in for him. Somebody else give him five dollars more and he took it and never let those people know.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: So Les created his own problems. You see?
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: But that, that's the way the started ... I got started on the recording. I'd went to Capitol, MGM was ... did a ... sent to Bob Wills, and … Mastertone. They just put it in the ... I guess I got it in the other room. The Hall Of Fame callers ...
 
B: Oh, yes.
 
J: ...deal. The picture he was going to put in the book. I … I was going to mention it ... forgot now what … where I was at, right about that time. So you'll have to re-tape that part.
 
B: No, that's ... no problem.
 
J: Uh ... my mind slipped.
 
B: Yeah.
 
(sound of tape stopping and restarting)
 
J: ... two of the old people that danced out there ... the old dances and everything ... little town of Hammond [near Fresno]. They decided they was going to have a kind of a county fair situation. And they decided ... says, "We'll give a hundred dollars to the best square dance group to come out here and ... to our little town ... and have a contest." Uncle Carl Miles ... you're acquainted with him.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: He was the most … let's put it ... dignified gentleman I think I've run into in my whole life. He (laughs) … Carl Miles was great! Well, he had a group that danced and they were almost like professionals. They was ... every thumb and finger come in like the Boston Teacup hold, you know.
 
B: OK.
 
J: And they says, "We're gonna get that hundred bucks." Les
Gotcher with his ... why ... with his group ... he says, (sound of Jonesy pounding on table) "We're gonna get it." Well, they were so far ahead of the little dancer ... square dancers there in the little town of Hammond ...
 
[End of transcript of the first section]
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: The judges said that Carl Miles' group was the winners. But, Carl couldn't call for them. He had to work. So Bill Mooney called for them, ‘cause you had to go out there and stay three days. See?
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: They asked me and I couldn't go out there and stay three days. Well, that made Les mad, losing money. The judges were favor … showing favoritism, and all that stuff. That was the only contest we ever had. See?
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: But that's where Bill Mooney … the judge says, "Now, these square dancers, they won the contest. They're the world champion dancers. So their caller must be the world champion … (laughs) …square dance caller." And Bill Mooney, he hung up his shingle. See?
 
B: OK.
 
J: So we had TWO world champion square dance callers …,
 
B: Right
.
J: …just like that. See?
 
B: Right.
 
J: And neither one of them had ever been in a contest of any kind at all. And that is the sort of thing …. But then we traveled, by invitation only, for about, oh, almost sixteen years.
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: East in the spring, and North and Canada in the fall …
 
B: Uh huh.
 
J: We’d go for, usually about eight weeks. One trip we went 12,500 miles … before we got back home. That's the time … went down across the Gulf and into Florida …
 
B: OK.
 
J: … down there. Yeah. If you followed the different callers around, you'd be amazed at what you'd get. Les was a good caller, and he was a good man, but he was easily influenced. You know? Winnie, I think, influenced him. I wonder what ever happened to her?
 
B: She died.
 
J: She did?
 
B: Yes.
 
J: ‘Cause he remarried, as I understand it …,
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: … and went to Hawaii.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: He … everyplace you went, he'd been there first. You were either welcome or you were not welcome …
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: … now, ‘cause most of the people … some people just loved him.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: "No caller could call like Les."
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: See? Other people HATED him.
 
B: That's right.
 
J: And the same way with Ricky Holden.
 
B: Yeah, you're right.
 
J: By misbehaving, you know. See?
 
B: Yes.
 
J: Callers shouldn't do that sort of thing.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: So, the first year at Kansas City, that's what started me rolling, at the Centennial Celebration. The second year was Kansas Missouri Festival …
 
B: Uh!
 
J: … in the same building.
 
B: Oh, yeah.
 
J: And that's where I first … in 1950 … that's where I saw my first cloggers.
 
B: All right.
 
J: I never … I'd never seen them anyplace before. My father could dance a jig and jump up …, back-and-forth over a broom. But …
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: … but this was … they, square dance clogging. See?
 
B: Sure.
 
J: And so they were up there. They was ten thousand people in the audience. And they was, they … Mission, Kansas …, Olathe and Mission, Kansas …
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: … groups put on a Blackout Wagon Wheel, the full circumference of the …
 
B: Arena, huh?
 
J: … floor.
 
B: Huh!
 
J: Blackout ... you'd thought they'd get the biggest hand? No. There was a little group, four couples. I remember the men had red shirts, blue jeans and the girls had red and white dresses, I found out, they made themselves.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: And they come out on the floor. They made one circle …, it was real funny … they made one circle of the floor. And their caller, he didn't need a microphone. I can guarantee you that. They had five of the best orchestras you ever got … behind them. But here it is. Standing back about five feet from the microphone he let out a war whoop, and they started clogging. See? And the whole audience gave them a standing ovation, you know. They won the biggest hand.
 
B: Sure.
 
J: And then the next year we went back there. This is one of the highlights of my entire life, you might say, ‘cause I like the hillbillies. I like the people of the Ozarks and places like that. But this is … something that happened. Was … second year I went back there. And my wife had made me a black-and-white … black-and-RED, shirt with white fringe.
 
B: Fringe ... Yeah.
 
J: And I was … these people come up to me and says, "We're gonna be on tonight." Well, I was responsible for that. Cause I called back there and I says … they wanted me to come back a second year … and I says, "I won't come unless you bring the hillbillies up from down in Camdenton, to”. They wrote and says, "We're way ahead of you. We already asked them”. They come up and they says, "Jonesy, our caller has to dance with us tonight because we're short. Can you call for us?" And I said, "Well. You clog. Your timing is different." I says, "Yeah. I think I can work it out." But I says, "What dance are you gonna dance?" Says, "You know Forward Six?" I says, "Yeah. I know Forward Six …, about three or four of them. Which one?" "Well, let's go in a side room. We'll show you what we're gonna do." And I says, "Yeah. I know that Forward Six and Back." Only I called it like … I got an album out in the garage of Arkansas … Arkie the Woodchopper.
 
B: OK.
 
J: Yeah. I got a hold of one of his albums. And you can't copy him, you can't copy him. You could try to copy him, you couldn't copy him. He changes. And so, anyway, I called it like (laughs) …. I guess until this day I think they thought I was from the hills … (laughs) … because their outfits was red and black…
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: … and my outfit was black and red, you know.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: And I … and I'll show you just what I did. "Arkansas Arkie"
Woodchopper …, Woodchopper, he called "Forward Six" …, he says, "Whoooah" “Six go across the hall, two lone gents scale that wall,” … and I called it the same way. I think they thought I was from down in the hills too. See? And so they showed me another dance they were gonna do. They said, "Do you know this one?" And they showed me a movement. I said, "Yeah." I says, "That's Old Jim Lane, Lady Around The Lady …, Round Lady Round." "Huh! No, that's All Round That Lady With A Rattlesnake Shake."
 
B: OK.
 
J: And I saw it listed, here about two years ago, in a program, "All Around That Lady With A Rattlesnake Shake." And I called, "Old Jim Lane Round The Lady Around." "Out the center with a haw and gee and a haw and a gee and around that gent from Tennessee," you know?
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: Hmmmmm! “All Around That Lady With A Rattlesnake Shake.” (laughs) And that was … then we went down and visited with them. They're down-to-earth people. They're real people, down-to-earth you know. And smart. Don't think they're hillbillies. They're no hooligans. He took me on a ride. And if you went by, on the river, if you went by the river … four miles down river by boat you'd get to the farm he'd bought. He'd only bought the farm for grazing land, ‘cause they was down in a drought. He took me down through the woods on a one … narrow, road … dirt road. Curvy. Every time you'd go around a curve you (heard) the hound dog standing out in the middle. How they ever kept from getting killed, I don't know. But down there for twenty miles. And I said to him, "What are you gonna do if you meet another car?" Cause there's no turnouts. There might be a wide spot, but you're between the bank and the river, you know. And he says, "Ain't gonna meet no car coming the other way.”
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: And we didn't. And we got down there, and they was having the auction …, auctioning off several things. And they had seven cows, one cow had twin calves. And this auctioneer could have been a real good square dance caller. He looked like "Little Abner" himself. It was so funny. ‘Cause he was … knew who had the money. And all they do when they accept a bid was "uh huh" (laughs), see? And I'm sitting on a split rail fence. And this auctioneer, he kept saying, "Look at that calf. Look at that calf. You know there's good bulls around here somewhere. You know there's good bulls around here." So, boy, I have got, I got a bull …, bull up my mind like nobody’s business. And I'm sitting on a split rail fence and I'm watching all this. And they finally got rid of the seven cows and her calves. And I heard a noise and I looked over there, and there's a corral over here on the other side and they was leading the bull out. (laughs) Tolliver Lawson says to me, "He ain't no good. He's all burned out."
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: (Laughs)
 
B: There you go.
 
J: I laughed about that.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: But everything led … everything led into … from hillbilly cowboy music, as we called it then … we didn't call it, you know … western …
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: … country western, anything like that. Everything led into motion picture recording … that, only that idea I had in my mind. And the angel sits there … is guiding me, through many, many, many things. Still sitting there.
 
B: Well, that's great.
 
J: Well, I don't know. Now, is there anything else that you …
 
B: Well, I'm just glad to listen to …
 
J: ... I rattle on, you know.
 
B: Oh, that's all right. That's what I'm hoping you would do. I like to hear these old stories. But … so Kansas City … you're talking about …, was the National Convention, I think. Wasn't it? National Square Dance Convention? In Kansas City?
 
J: Square Dance Convention?
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: Well …
 
B: Isn't that the one you were talking about earlier?
 
J: Oh? Kansas City?
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: Oh no! That was their Centennial.
 
B: Their Centennial. I see. OK.
 
J: Centennial celebration, for three days …
 
B: All Right.
 
J: … three nights and three days. They was the only ones to come out in the black.
 
B: That so?
 
J: Everything else, they said, went in the red.
 
B: Yeah. The … well you must have attended the Diamond Jubilee here.
 
J: Come again.
 
B: The Diamond Jubilee.
 
J: Oh yeah! Down in Santa Monica.
 
B: Santa Monica, yeah. Tell us about your experience with that.
 
J: Well Bob, you know, was responsible …
 
B: Sure. I know it. Yeah.
 
J: … for that, see, you know. But they, they said they wanted to attract square dancers (sound of city bus passing in the background) and so Bob arranged it. So they repaved Ocean Avenue all along the Palisade there for two blocks this way, two blocks this way, and up Wilshire Boulevard for two blocks. And MacGregor … Art Schullhouse put up the sound system for that. And they built a stage, uh …, pretty high. They had a loudspeaker on every post that there was and if you was half a block away you couldn't see the caller.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: All you could do was hear. See? Well, the governor, Warren, was … Governor Warren was a guest and Doctor Lloyd Shaw was a guest.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: That's where I first met Doctor Lloyd Shaw …
 
B: OK.
 
J: … and, he and his wife. And they had all the callers listed on there except Les. Les never got to call. He sat on the back of the stage up there waiting for some caller not to show up, but they … they didn't have him on the program. But they was fifteen thousand … between fifteen thousand and eighteen thousand square dancers showed up …
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: … from all … all over, clear from San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, all gone down to the beach areas.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: They got the best compliment that's ever been given, at that … in that day … as to square dancers. The mayor of Santa Monica said, "We've had many, many, many groups down here. But this is the finest group we've ever had. They came in, they parked, no problem. They danced, had a good time, they left, no problem. We didn't even find any liquor, none at all.
 
B: Right.
 
J: And said, that was a big sendoff for square dancers. See? And I'll tell you another thing on that. Up in Canada …, I love the Canadians …, even over on Vancouver (laughs) Island. Everyone in Vancouver says, "When you get over on the island over there, you know, they're kind of stuffy over there, you know." And I didn't find there was any difference between them and the ones from Vancouver. See?
 
B: Right.
 
J: And I had two … you know, you get into different problems at times. I got so many of them, I could correct almost any problem. But then on Vancouver Island … I'll tell you this one first … on Vancouver Island I was supposed to call from what they call … the platform above the stage … way above it …, for royalty. See? And, so they had an old gentleman. He was in charge of the records. And, uh …, they had them stacked in rotation as I was going to use them. See? So they asked me if I would, call a Grand March. And I found out that they wanted the Grand March to wind up facing the end of the hall down here. See? People all facing the end of the hall. So I put them through the Grand March, and a gentleman steps up, takes the microphone, and he says, "The Queen." And I'm looking for Elizabeth to come down, over here. See? But he put the record on. See? (laughs) And he played the record. And a drape come back up over high on the wall and a light come on and there's pictures there. See? I thought I was gonna meet Queen Elizabeth. I was all excited.
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: And this old gentleman put the hoedown on, and I start calling my call … first call. And all of a sudden the music stopped and I keep waiting and waiting and waiting for the music to start again …, and I kept calling. And I looked down and Florence was setting down there with kind of a Cheshire type grin on her face and looking over to my right. And I looked over, and the old gentleman had taken the record off, and was reading the label (laughs).
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: So I said right there …, I said, "Let's get him outta there and bring that over here. I'll handle the records," you know. Now this happened in … in Edmonton.
 
B: OK.
 
J: A big hall there. It was army … they was gonna dance in the army … armory. This is wintertime. Whoa, man! It gets cold there in the wintertime. And, they have the blue laws. OK? So the colonel … colonel that was in charge of the armory … most of his reserve officers were square dancers. So they asked him if they could use the armory and he says flatly, "No." And they say, "Why?" Said, "We been letting the rock groups use the armory a lot. My boys have to go after the dance is over, and they have to go round, take wheel barrels full of whiskey bottles out of there. The officers … most of them were officers in the reserve regiment… and says, "You're not gonna find ONE whiskey bottle." He wouldn't believe it, but they convinced him finally. He said, "Well if we find one whiskey bottle, no more use of the auditorium." Well funny part of it was, people come from Saskatchewan, they came from White Horse in a blizzard. It was snow, out here, I wouldn't even walk across the street. You know what I mean? Pioneers …, I found out in Canada. It's still pioneering. So they filled that hall with about fifteen hundred dancers. And it was so filled, they wouldn't leave their spot ... on a break. And I told them, I says, "If you don't have instrumentals, get me an electric guitar and I'll carry it with electric guitar. So I carried fifteen hundred dancers ... on some singing calls. It was just electric guitar and me and that was all.
 
B: Right.
 
J: But the funny part of it was ... here's what happened ... and on the break here come ... I hear bagpipes. I'd been talking to Ross Haines ... are you acquainted with Ross Haines?
 
B: No.
 
J: He's a ballroom caller up there ... was.
 
B: I see.
 
J: A ballroom caller in Edmonton.
 
B: OK.
 
J: And I'd been talking earlier ... I love the bagpipes. I like that piper ... the pipes. There's something about them fascinates me, you know. Especially the guy with two big thongs ...
 
B: Yes.
 
J: ... and he's beating a big drum. They're fascinating. And their costumes fascinate me. So, I heard bagpipe music. And here comes the regiment pipers right down from the upper end of the hall to ... something on the order of a big airplane hangar, the big door on there, you know. And here they come down, and they come by me and saluted me and went on down to the end of the hall and turned around and come back ... playing, and saluted me again. Boy! (laughs) That was a big deal. You know what I mean?
 
B: Sure.
 
J: So then they had the dance, and we was invited to go up on the mezzanine to the Colonels headquarters. And we're sitting there having refreshments. A davenport ... I remember I was sitting here, the Colonel was here, and about three officers sitting over here on the right. And so an orderly comes in to report, they just got through cleaning up the auditorium. He saluted, "Sir. We found one whiskey bottle, but it didn't belong to the square dancers, sir. It belonged to the sergeants' mess.
 
B: (laughs)
 
J: You know what that man said? He says, "I can't believe how that many people can have so much fun and not ... not drink any alcoholic beverages. He says, "You can have this armory ANY time you want to have it." And you ... you know in square dancers we've had an awful lot of praise because of that. We tell our dancers, "If you go out after the dance ... you're in square dance clothes ... you stop by Joe's Beer Parlor or something for a beer ... act your age and be ... don't give us a bad name.” And that's ... has been … real good for square dancing.
 
B: Sure.
 
J: Another thing I just don't like ... I'm glad I'm not in it anymore. I think too many callers today are setting their sights on too much challenge ...
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ... and not enough fun.
 
B: Right.
 
J: I told them there ... when they sent us back there for the Milestone Award ... I kinda shook up one ... Bob Van Antwerp come and says, "God Dang! Tell em ... give them your thoughts!”  Well, I was shook up even going up ... that was the first time Florence and I was ever in an airplane. We ... we went, we came back, we ... we don't have (laughs), you know ... again. See? So I was ... I feel this way, that so many callers forget that they had to be beginner square dance callers ...
 
B: Right.
 
J: ... they have to be a beginner square dancer, too. And there's too many of them setting their sights so high on challenge dancing they forget the real true fun. There's only so many people love to, ... to challenge. I have good friends who call it all ... like challenge. That's fine. I say, "That's great.” But the majority don't. See? And if you're going to keep dancers square dancing, keep people in square dancing, you don't workhorse them to death. Square dancing is fun. Bob used to say, "It's FUN and ‘U’ are in the middle of it." See? Fun.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: And I've got a plaque right in there, made by a very good friend of mine who makes these ornamental plaques, "To the Fun Caller." See? ‘Cause I throw ... always have thrown different things ... anything I can catch that's fun and people ... along with the regular square dancing, can have fun. Ninepin! Whatever became of Ninepin? I used to call that when we'd have extra people. You know?
 
B: Sure.
 
J: And little dances like that to get people acquainted and you can have them ... have fun. Indian Style! (laughs) I ... I go out there every Monday ... I couldn't go this last Monday cause I didn't feel too good, but I have one group still left. I had five schools for awhile and then President Bush come up with, when he was president, come up with a statement that, "America’s kids are too fat." Remember that statement he made?
 
B: Yeah, Yeah.
 
J: "They need more physical ed." Well, what is physical ed. but
square dancing? Especially when you get the old dancers. It moves the arms, legs ... kids love it.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: Kinda give them the fun dancing in between. See? But, teaching fifth graders ... fourth and fifth graders ... they tell me ... they write me thank you letters, birthday ... happy birthday letters and all like that. You'd be surprised what they  … what they say. "We like you Mr. Jones," cause you're "Mr. Jones" there, you know. See? "We like you Mr. Jones because you treat us like we like to be treated ..."
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: "... and we like you cause you never holler at us. You just talk." (laughs) I think that's great! "And if we make a mistake, you don't bawl us out. You come out and tell ... and correct our mistake and help us out." This is something that you carry on in all square dancing. No matter where it is. You got people who can't think as good as other people. And I had one time out here at the North Hollywood Women’s Club ... the Jeans and Janes moved over there from their other hall. And there was one couple, the lady couldn't coordinate ... now he was pretty good, but she couldn't. No matter what set she was in, they was all fouled up. So they came to me, "Jonesy, you gotta do something about that couple." I said, "Look. They're charter members of this women’s club you belong to. Why don't you go to them?” (laughs) "Oh no, no, we don't want to hurt their feelings.”
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: (Laughs) I says, "Ok." I says, "I'll think about it." Well, I got there next time and he and his wife come in and I says, "Here's the opportunity." I got them to one side and I says, "I don't know whether you've noticed it or not. But," I says, "you realize that people are walking away from you when you're standing out there and you want three more couples?" "Yeah. I've noticed that." I says, "It isn't that they don't like you." I says, "They love you." But I says, "You're just not up to the level of dancing that the club dances." I said, "I think it would be a good idea for you and your wife to go back through another class and get to be a good dancer, where you can keep
up with the rest of them, and they won't walk away from you, they'll walk TO you." And he told me later, he said, "Well," he said, "I got mad on the way home. Then I got thinking it over. By Golly, it made a lot of sense." So they went through another class. She didn't improve  …
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ... she didn't improve a bit. HE did, but she didn't.
 
B: Yeah, yeah.
 
J: It's real sad.
 
B: Well, there's some people you just can't train. That's all.
 
J: I made up my mind a long time ago that I would work with senior citizens. (laughs) Now that's ... I'm a senior citizen ... be ninety my next birthday. The funny part of it is ... I was down to Seal Beach Leisure World several years ago ... that was the first Leisure World, before Laguna Hills. And I ... they have two recreation halls I didn't know about. And it was raining pitchforks that night, boy it was raining. And so I pulled up to the main hall and I went in and there was eighteen sets of dancers on the floor. And there was a caller up there and, boy, he was really calling a good dance. And I knew him. "Hi." "Hi. What are you doing here, Jonesy?" I says, "I'm supposed to call a square dance. It looks like you're doing a good job of it.” "Oh," he says, "you gotta go back on the end of the property. There's another little hall back there." And a group had split from him because he was the resident caller and they didn't think he should be paid. There was only three sets ... or four sets that split. He had eighteen sets there. So he goes back. They had two sets ... and they was waiting for visitors, so they wound up with four sets. So I made up my mind then ... I turned it up ... had my volume just perfect ... it wasn't a big room. And … old gentleman comes up. Says, "Turn the volume down. It's too loud." So I turned my volume down. Here come another one. "Turn your volume up. We can't hear what you're saying." (laughs) I decided right then, "Boy, you can't satisfy them all, at the same ...." You know?
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: And, uh ... especially when they get older, like me. I had …  because I had streptomycin to save my life when I had double virus pneumonia ...
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: ... in 1947, and they didn't know it at the time. My doctor kept giving me ... he gave one shot ... taught my wife how to give the shot. And then he had ... he left three needles. You had to boil them and all that business.
 
B: Oh, boy!
 
J: And  sulfur drugs didn't work. Penicillin didn't work.
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: So he says, "I gotta go to Fort MacArthur and see if I can get a new drug called streptomycin.” And he went clear down to Fort MacArthur and he come home with two cc's.
 
B: Oh well. Well it's too bad you have to wear hearing aids now. But that's the way it goes. So, uh ...
 
[end of transcript of missing tape, start of second tape]
 
J: He picked me up and took me over there. I wouldn’t drive at night through that traffic over there. 
 
B: Right.
 
J: So he said well, I didn’t know how I was going to get home because he had to leave early then the lady says “well one of my daughters is going to take you home”. She was going to go the route of the Cold Water Canyon which is … boy if you’ve ever been on that … the first time I was ever on it last year … that’s the curviest deal. Scary, and at night particularly … you go down there … so I told the young girl, I says “lets go by way of Surfer street. Go down here … go down and get on Melrose Avenue and go all the way down to Vermont and then up Vermont to Los Feliz and then on in to Glendale”. Well we’d had a big pot-luck dinner (at) 6:00 and then they danced from 8:00 to 11:00 and I didn’t feel bad at all. Then on the way down Melrose about half way from there, Beverly Hills to Glendale, we were riding along and all of a sudden I’ve … you know how a hiccup is … well this is different … this is two or three real heavy hiccups, see, just boom, boom, boom, like that. Then I felt something come right up into my chest like that.
 
B: Hm.
 
J: And it cut of my breath for a second, see. And so then … my stomach … sitting in that position in that car was a little tiring, you’re almost laying half way back. And I was saying, “Gee what the Sam Hill is happening, you know”. I’ve heard of people with these hernias, hiatal hernias, and I wondered if that was what it was, you know. And then it went away and I said to her “I’m not going to do any talking for a little bit. I’m going to relax here.” Then it happened again, and I had for ten days a real heavy soreness right from here (indicates part of body) clear across my rib cage which I was pretty sure … this arthritis cause arthritis does that so you get the muscle … and so I had that all there. And just before that happened it got real, real sore, real sore. And then that happened like that and it frightened me. And then I said, “Boy what the Sam Hill is going on?” I woke up the next morning and all this soreness was gone. And put it together … and I went to my doctor yesterday and told him about it. He says, “Well if you have a hiatic … well he called it hiatal or something like that, and I call it hiatic (laughs). And he says “If you have that type of hernia … if it happens again then we’ll take x-rays and find out if that’s what it is.” So far it hasn’t happened and all that soreness left, now isn’t that strange? 
 
B: That’s strange.
 
J: And I’ve been blaming that on arthritis. Just before then it got … it must have been the position I was in because the arm … but I don’t know what this was, it was like a big boom, you know, it scares you.
 
B: So you take your guitar to these … and off you go, you take your records too?
 
J: No, I don’t take the guitar anymore, only the records. I’ve got them marked, you know, ancient history. 
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: Right now it’s appraised at $1500.00; I paid $75.00 (laughs) when I bought it. It was brand new. They had given it to a preacher in Burbank … his congregation gave it to him and he … I don’t know why he didn’t want it, but he took it down to Crawdad Music Company and traded it on something else and I went in shortly afterward  and here’s a guitar up there says Martin Guitar, $75.00 . And I got another one and I sold it a couple of years ago for $800.00 and it was a 000-21 but it was scratched up a lot. I … you know, on my belt buckle and all that. But this one here though has always been a little high on the finger board. And there’s a gentleman down here in Glendale worked for Gibson guitar people in Chicago for 25 years and did a lot repair work through the music companies here. And I took it down to him and I asked him, “Is there any way that you can lower those strings just a little bit so that it won’t be so high on the fingerboard?” He says, “that won’t be no problem.” He lowered them all right … well it messed up the first three frets. (??? unintelligible ???) I took it out to Willie Larsen Music Company … he repairs stuff like that … he played it and he says “I don’t see anything wrong with it.” Well he played just the melody on it see, but if you go to chords then the first three frets. All you get on the E and A of the base strings … and the G string … all you get is wooot, like that you see. And so I don’t know what I’m gonna do now. Look up a guitar man … a guitar maker and see if he can correct the problems. If you send it all the way back to Pennsylvania to Martin … you’ve got to ship it and you don’t know what they’re going to sock you for that, see. When I’ve called them once before they recommended some place in LA. I won’t go down to LA, I don’t like Los Angeles. I was born there.
 
B: (Laughs)
 
J: Was on the radio with the Texas Cow Town Boys, Jack Guthrie, Woody Guthrie’s cousin, he was there on the show. He was wilder than any I’ve seen in my life … I never saw a man like him. (?? Unintelligible ??) In the depression the government organized a country music group, or country musicians on WPA that saved this man’s life because I’d just got through an incurable disease. Raw milk fever. No cure for it. But the doctor I had was a chest expert, tubercular chest expert. She says “go to bed and stay there until I tell you to get up”. Three and one half months later she says “you can get up now your temperature is down to normal”. But you had to watch it because it could come back. We got that music project going and they was going to put me in the county commissary at $28 a month, dishing out vegetables. I was running with an old time fiddle player for many years. He said don’t do it, he said go down and see Bruce, he’s the one … he and I organized that Texas Cow Town Boys, says “he’s the one, head of this new project. He’ll put you on”.   So I went down there and they put me on for $84.00 a month and then I got to be … to have a group of my own and I got $94.00 a month.   And then if I could pick up a side line … my wife and I got along pretty well during the depression ... 
 
B: Sure.
 
J: … but for a whole year, before they closed it down, it saved this man’s life.
 
B: Did you ever do any television work? Television.
 
J: I did … I’ve got it here someplace. I think, when television was brand new I called for a square dance group. They had to wear certain colors. You couldn’t … certain colors you could wear and certain colors you couldn’t. I called for a group on television. I don’t know where … what I’ve done with that. 
 
B: Probably lost too you know. They didn’t save those things in those days. The kinescopes they called them. Yeah, I had the same thing happen when I was on the Arthur Godfrey show back in New York City. We never found … we were never able to find a copy of it, you know. Well you’ve had quite an experience all your life there Jonesy. Your little angel is still taking care of you. 
 
J: (laughs) That little angel sits there all the time. 
 
B: Right.
 
J: I lost my wife thirteen years ago July.
 
B: OK.
 
J: Suddenly (noise of something dropping) … what’s this?
 
B: Mail man I think.
 
J: Oh, gosh darn … not a lot of television. Mostly motion pictures. I worked about some place around a dozen motion pictures. Andy Devine, I worked with Andy Devine on one called Slaughter Trail. It was a cowboy/Indian thing … the army … the army. He was a big sergeant. I had him in my group you know. I had a group … Bob had him for awhile, Arnie had him for awhile, and then I fell heir to them and they were all motion picture people. 
 
B: I See.
 
J: A real funny thing happened one night. The first time I called for that group … and I had dances at the Glendale Civic Auditorium up there … all the dances up there had an orchestra …   I had an orchestra behind me. Andy Devine come in … the floor was never made for square dancing, and unfortunately between … it was every 1st and 3rd Saturday. On the second Saturday they had a dog show. And they had to redo the whole floor. And it was slick as glass. Oh. We walked in and we said “boy we won’t have any more square dancers here”. But you know they stuck it out and the sound was terrible there, terrible sound. They’ve corrected that since then after a lot of complaining. But Andy Devine and another radio personality, he was a commentator, they come just as I was calling a dance I made up called “Indian Style”. I give it to the kids, they have a ball with it. All the kids were squared up sitting down on the floor in their squares. And I said “greetings, how.” (laughs a lot) So anyway, he walked in and he was gonna have a New Years party and so he hired me to do a New Years party way over here in an area called Hidden Valley. It’s way down the other side of Mulholland drive down in the canyon. There’s two brothers, twin brothers, had a great big estate down there. And he had a recreation room that I could put about 8 sets in. It was a huge recreation room. Well this was New Years Eve. Unbeknownst to me you see … I knew Andy was a famous motion picture man … but I didn’t know that this was going to take in others. We got ready to square up and here’s a gentleman come in and he was soup and fish. I looked at him and I says “Ronald Coleman is a beginner”. 
 
B: OK.
 
J: Ronald Coleman, he had been to a New Years party and had come over and just about that time Andy says “How Jonesy, scalp them Jonesy”. You know “tomahawk Jonesy”. That’s what they were doing when he come into the Civic Auditorium everybody was (he breaks up laughing)   … and so he was the smoothest dancer you’d ever saw in your life. He had learned from one of our instructors out here and they taught him … standing like Carl Miles ... to Carl Miles everything was standing, Maxhimer, everything was standing. And so he … he got in number 3 position and I says “this guy don’t know nothing” in my mind you know. I started calling and boy was he smooth. He was so smooth … he was so smooth they would purposely try to foul him up. A real nice guy to talk to, awful nice fellow to talk to. Well Andy Divine was in that picture Slaughter Trail and then (there) was this studio dance man … it was … also the other thing it had to be perfected. And when we were shooting the picture we had to rehearse out in the dirt, outside the stage. It was supposed to be clodhoppers, you know, pioneers, clodhoppers, cowboys. And he said to me ... he was rushing in the background and he called me Jonesy. 
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: “Jonesy, I want you to know something. These people are not dancing like they’re supposed to be dancing.” I can’t imagine when a guys out in the dirt. “They’re not dancing like they’re should be dancing, they should be smooth, graceful”. I had to explain to him, I says “these dancers are cowboys, clodhoppers, and all,” and I says “they’re not supposed to be graceful, they’re supposed to be just the opposite.” And so … I convinced him, see. He wanted them to be like regular dancers.
 
B: Like a ballet.
 
J: Smooth, so. There’s a lot of things that have happened in square dancing that have been good to me. 
 
B: So you were with your wife before you were married you … at that time you must have been what, entertaining but not square dancing?
 
J: No. In fact the way I got to be a caller … I’ll have to tell you this because I almost forgot. I used to hire a caller before PA systems. And he used a 6 inch megaphone. Ray Riverjohn was his name. He had a beautiful voice. I was half a block down the street from the Moose Hall one night, which was upstairs, and I could hear him calling half a block down the street. And he was a master of ceremonies of the entire floor and we gave him $3.00 a night. That was his wages, $3.00 a night. He told us what to play, see. So we would play like I mentioned that Princess Glide, different old dances like that we played, and these old people danced these old dances. The three step. I never learned it. To this day I never learned the three step. The woman that was trying to teach me, Dorothy Learnin, her young son was a movie star. She was short and fat and she wore a steel corset and I was trying to get a hold of something trying to make that turn and the dip (laughs) and I never learned. I didn’t know how to square dance. I wasn’t a square dancer. I was a musician. And he come to me one night … Ray says “I’ve been put on swing shift for two weeks out of the month. So I won’t be available for those two weeks if you have any work in there”.  Johnson Club particularly.  And I said … “there’s only one other caller” … there were only two callers in Glendale at the time. The other one was Mac McCraken and he had a temper. And I wouldn’t hire him ‘ cause he bawled … I hired him once and he bawled people out for making a mistake, you know, so I wouldn’t hire him. So I said to Florence “now what in Sam Hill am I going to do now?” Well she looked me square in the eye, and she says “you sit down here and memorize verse and verse and verse of ballads and all of those railroad songs and cowboy songs and that … why don’t you ask Ray if he’ll let you have four or five of those simple little calls. You call the same thing every week. And so I talked to him about it. I says “when you’re available I’ll hire you but can you possibly give me some things” … you only needed one or two you now … because that’s (what) we had in those days. Five was great if you knew five of them. But he says “yeah, sure”. So he gave me Birdie in the Cage, Split the Ring … not Forward Six … Forward Three and Three Fall Back, that old call and one other one. And I … I didn’t know how to dance … I didn’t know a thing about dancing. So I said “well, put yourself into it. You have the rhythm, you’ve got a voice”, and then I got a real fortunate thing, the angel come in and sit on my shoulder. Now on Main street in LA I was in a second hand shop, the Blue Nun, I find a Nascal(sp?) amplifier. The navy, you know had the Nascal. They were real tinny on board ship. I got the Nascal amplifier 10 watt and a speaker and a crystal microphone and I set that up in front of the band and I called these dances. I figured out … you know you put 2 and 2 … you know, it takes so many beats to circle 4, so many circle 6, that’s the way I figured it all out, see. I just called … I never watched them, you know you’re so busy playing that you don’t see what’s going on. 
 
B: Sure.
 
J: Well anyway, I used this new amplifier and people come up to me and said “we can hear you … everything you say clear in the back of the hall, and we like what you’re doing. We like it real well.” And I says “well that’s fine.” I says “I enjoy your complement,” and I says “I’m new at this sort of thing”. And then every Saturday night here would come this gentleman even with a match cover … written down on … “this is what we used to dance this one back home. Would you look it over and call it next time”. First thing you know I had twenty of them. Boy I thought “hey, ho, Jonesy’s really got some …”
 
B: You’re the World champion.
 
J: Some of them were in Shaw’s book. Later on I found them. And so the (breaks up laughing) funniest thing happened after that we was out in the valley out there and I was calling a dance and ... through the door come four girls, four women in black skirts, taffeta skirts, white blouses, men in western gear, boots and all with long hair, beards, moustaches … four men … I said to my fiddler “hey guys, the house of David just walked in”. And he said … it turned out to be the first organized square dance club in this area. Sherman Saunders was the caller, and they danced only on motion pictures. They didn’t dance … he didn’t call … only in motion pictures. He never called in public. Bob didn’t know him. Bob did not know him at all, and for years we had to explain who he was. He called … if you asked for dances 12th century, he could get it, believe it. He was a wonderful type caller … he called all evening 6/8 time, ALL EVENING. 
 
B: Right.
 
J: Yeah, that’s pretty hard to do, you know, real fine. (laughs) All evening. And he usually had just a fiddle, an accordion, a guitar player, that’s all. But anyway, the lady come to me that’s in that picture just come out. At the end of the dance she come up and she says … they were real square dancers, boy they could dance up a storm, you know … in fact when Faye Stern was swinging her skirt went way out like that and she was wearing ballet shorts and my fiddler stopped right like that. 
 
B: Yeah.
 
J: And he saw his wife looking at him and he started playing again. (they both laugh) But you know she come up to me after the dance was over and she said “we’ve been hearing about you. We’ve been hearing about you and we’ve come to see how good you are.” She said “you’re pretty good, but you have a lot to learn. And I’m going to ask you a question. What size hat do you wear?” I says “size 7”. She says “you keep your hat size 7 the rest of your life and some day you’re going to be an internationally known square dance caller.” That’s when I was just a pup caller, see. And so another time I was playing the American Legion hall out in Burbank and who was standing up against the door was a big tall guy with a black hat cocked on the side of his head, Ray Shaw. He’d heard about me. (laughs a lot) He was dying to know who was in the band, but he’d heard about me see … I had a band and was playing the music. And so anyway her prediction became true. See the records went around … across the world. I got letters from Peru. The Standard Oil Company … he said “my wife was visiting up there in your area and she says that we are not doing the twirl correctly”. He says “we found … we learned to square dance through your Number 4 album. Somebody who was a guest form the states, left it in their guest room” and he said he picked it up … he wrote and he says “I picked it up and I looked at it and says this looks like it’s easy to do”.  So he got three more couples and they learned to square dance on that, see. And this happened all different places, London and on … that’s her prediction, came true you see. 
 
B: That’s great.
 
J: But without the angel … I’m really saying the angel guides you through your life.
 
B: Right. Well I think I better ease on down the road as they say, Jonesy. I certainly enjoyed this conversation with you.
 
J. It was a pleasure to meet you. I never thought I’d ever be meeting Al Brundage or Bob Brundage. I’ve been reading about you for years, and years, and years, and years. (laughs)
 
B: Right. Well, again thanks very much for taking the time and …
 
J: I enjoyed it. 
 
B: … we’ll call this a day.
 
J: I’m a talker, I like to talk.
 
B: Well I’ve never met a caller that didn’t. (both laugh) We’ll hope to see you again real soon Jonesy.
 
[tape recorder clicks off, end of interview]
 
 
 
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Written By: Bob Brundage
Date Posted: 8/20/2007
Number of Views: 2134

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