I am so sad to say that Marshall Flippo died November 4, 2018, due to complications from pneumonia. The whole square dance world is still mourning.
“Oh, what memories!” Marshall Flippo reminisced as he looked at a picture of Asilomar, the venue for his favorite festival!
My current writing project is one of a lifetime: I’m writing the authorized biography of Marshall Flippo, the world famous square dance caller who started his career calling in a chicken coup near Abilene, Texas. He has nearly 200 recordings and set record sales with his record, “The Auctioneer.”
I called him, asking if I could write his biography in the Spring of 2017. His response, “Nobody would want to buy that, but I do have a book that would sell–all the adventures of traveling callers. Oh, no–that would be X-rated.” He wouldn’t give me a definitive then but said we’d talk about it in May at the New Mexico State festival in Albuquerque, his last calling event in here.
Early Friday night of the festival, Flippo brought up the topic with a group of callers and friends standing around.
“Larada wants to write my biography. Who would buy it?” Everyone standing there shot their hand up. So Flippo responded, “Well, I guess we’ll do it. Come over to my motel room about one o’clock, and we talk about it.” The laughter swelled at Flippo’s quick wit.
We met October, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona to start this project and talked for over two hours. He lent me six photo albums/scrapbooks, 3 photo albums, and documents from Texas he’d received to start my research.
We had another face-to-face meeting at CALLERLAB in March, 2018 in Albuquerque and had extensive time together–4 – 5 hours going over one of his albums. For the last year, I have talked to Flippo once a week on the phone and recorded the interview. I have 37 interviews with over 40 hours of recordings.
We’ve spent a lot of this time going through three albums his ex-wife, Neeca, put together, chronicling his career. We also created a lengthy list of callers that Flippo wanted to tell stories about–many famous names. I enjoyed every conversation with this humble man reminiscing about his life and 60+ year career. His joy was contagious.
The reader will be able to choose either a hard back or paperback copy. The digital choices will be iBook, Kindle, Nook or Kobo.
Flippo stands in a unique place in square dance history. Lloyd “Pappy” Shaw influenced the big boom, and Bob Osgood and Betty Casey, two Of Flippo’s mentors, studied under Pappy Shaw, so he received Shaw’s ideas through his mentors–deep commitments to style and good dancing.
The world was so different then. The three albums overflow with personal handwritten thank you cards and notes expressing appreciation and love to Flippo and Neeca, his ex-wife. The dancers so appreciated their commitment to the dancer.
I have gathered a variety of stories from callers and dancers about Flippo; he has told me stories about his caller friends. What he created over his 60+ years of calling was a wealth of friends all over the USA and the world.
We had planned to release the book at the National Square Dance Convention in Atlanta, Georgia in June, 2019, but we will have to move it out a couple months. I will notify you of the release date as it approaches. I’m aiming at September 2019.
Part of the proceeds from the sales will go to CALLERLAB, a caller organization that Flippo was one of the eleven founding fathers.
If you are interested in pre-ordering the biography of Flippo, go to https://goo.gl/forms/130nUlIralh8DAsy1 and put in your email address and fill in which format of the book you want. You can choose more than one. You will be eligible for a variety of promotional give-aways if you sign up now.
Have you ever danced to Marshall Flippo? If so, when and where? What’s your favorite Flippo story? What’s your favorite Flippo skit? Please leave your stories in the Comment section.
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