In Marshall Flippo’s square dance calling career, he recorded over 222 records for fourteen different recording labels. He started with Blue Star Record Label, owned by Norman and Nadine Merrbach. During his illustrious career, he moved on and worked with many recording labels. Here’s how it went after Blue Star!
Move from Blue Star to Chaparral Records
Flippo’s loyalty to Blue Star records and Norman and Nadine Merrbach kept him there for twenty-seven years, but times changed. The move to Chaparral welded lifelong friendships for Flip with the callers at that record label: Gary Shoemake, Ken or Kenny Bower, Jerry Haag, Beryl Main, and Scott Smith.Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo (2020): 257.
Flip and Neeca talked about the royalty issues with Blue Star Record. After much deliberation, he chose to move. His big concern was Norman and Nadine. Flippo was a people person—he loved people; they produced his first hit, “The Auctioneer” which rocketed his career. He didn’t want to hurt their feelings, and he commented to me how his move changed their relationship.
Flip retold many stories about the Chaparral callers, and once again, his connection with people affected his choices. The staff callers did various popular Chaparral weekends all over the country, with hundreds of dancers in attendance. Flip found his niche.
Years later, when I interviewed Flippo for his biography, his go-to guy was Gary Shoemake for any details he couldn’t remember, and he told multiple stories about each of the men listed above. These five callers became family to him.
Also, this rowdy gang traveled internationally, and some of his most hilarious stories told in his biography are about these travels and these men.
Sets in Order
“Then Flip did albums with Sets in Order with Bob and Becky Osgood. Flip never did do a single for Bob. He was always on an album with a bunch of other callers where each caller did one song. He was on quite a few of his long plays that he put out.”Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo (2020): 285.
Flip did not know how many Sets in Order albums he did, but Mike Seastrom connected with Masaharu “Doc” Hiraga from Japan, and Doc sent me pictures of six album covers. Then Ted and Karen Clements sent me pictures of four more, and I found others. Last count: he recorded twelve Sets in Order Albums and twenty-five Blue Star Long Play Albums, enjoying every moment.
Other Recording Labels
As Flippo’s popularity grew, he expanded out to other labels. Some label owners were personal friends, and he only recorded a couple of songs with some of them.
When asked how many recordings Flippo did, he responded, “Exact number of songs I called, I have no earthly idee how many.”Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo (2020): 285.
Flippo recorded for more than Blue Star and Chaparral. Rhythm Records is Wade Driver’s company, and Flip did a few here and there. Also, he did one on River Records. “I believe I just done one or two for Chinook out of Knoxville, for ole Ted Frye.” The Internet showed that Ted Frye was owner of Square Tunes and Pioneer Records.
When I listed the number of record labels he recorded with, he replied, “Holy mackerel! Good Lord a Mercy, some of them I don’t even remember. A bunch of old records. Well, the one from Knoxville—Ted Frye’s ole one. They’d call you up and say, ‘Hey, can you do this number for me? Will you do it?’ Of course, I usually did somethang. Some of ’em were terrible, but I did. I did one for Riverboat, I thank was. I hated for anybody ever to hear any. I don’t know whether he released ’em or not. But it was God-awful!”Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo (2020): 285.
The Fourteen Record Labels
Flippo’s popularity put him in high demand. Here are the fourteen labels who recorded with:
- Blue Star Record Label –
- Single song – 171 records
- Blue Star Long Play Albums – 25 albums
- Dance Ranch Record Label – 6 records
- Bob Cat Record Label – 1 record
- Chaparral Record Label – 24 records
- Desert Gold Record Label – 1 record
- E-Z School Record Label – 1 record
- ESP Record Label – 4 records
- Four Squares Record Label – 1 record
- Rhythm Records Record Label – 6 records
- Riverboat Record Label – 1 record
- Royal Record Label – 3 records
- Square Dancetime Record Label – 1 record
- Square Tunes Record Label – 2 records
- Sets in Order Record Label Albums – 12 albums
Notice that Flippo only recorded albums for Sets in Order, and that he recorded twenty-five long play albums for Blue Star.
Flippo’s recording career fascinated me—I was more interested in how many records he recorded than he was. When I asked him which of his recording was his favorite, he surprised me. As a lifelong Texan and country boy, I figured it would be one of the country and western songs.
When asked about his favorite recording, Flippo responded, “Oh, geez! I have no idee. ‘Every Street’s a Boulevard’ is probably—you know .”Larada Horner-Miller, Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo (2020): 289.
If you are interested in perusing the lengthy list of songs Flippo recorded, be sure and buy this amazing biography!
In comparison with today’s square dance world, I can’t even visualize Flippo’s popularity during the heyday of square dancing. He said he’d take a stack of records to a dance, and they’d all sell out—imagine that!
What was your favorite Flippo recording?
~ Check out my blog post from last week. I usually advertise my blog on one of the social media platforms, and they rejected it because of the topic! Please, read!
~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story
~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with my interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:
~Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A
~Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com