Tag Archives: Frank Thomas

Archival television program features many of Florida’s greatest folk songwriters

The late Don Grooms and Jim Billie
The late Don Grooms and James Billie

The 1988 Pines and Palms television program hosted by the late Don Grooms featured several singer songwriters who have since passed on. They may have left this earthly life, but their music lives on. Their songs can still be heard on the stages of many music festivals around the state.

In 1988, Grooms who was working as a telecommunication professor at the University of Florida, gathered together several of his greatest music friends including Bobby Hicks from the Tampa area, Seminole Chief James Billie from South Florida, Frank and Ann Thomas from Lake Wales and Dale and Linda Crider from Windsor.

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The program was recorded in the studios of WUFT-TV in Gainesville. This is a very rare recording as many of the archival tapes from that time period have been destroyed or have been lost. Thanks to Frank Counts who was the producer-director for this program, this copy still exists. Frank was a telecommunication assistant professor at UF and worked for 37 years as the Production Manager for WUFT-TV before his retirement in 2010.

The program ran nearly an hour.  To make it easier to watch, the program is broken up into four separate segments below:

Pines and Palms Part 1

Part 1 includes Bobby Hicks singing, “I’m Florida Need I Say More,” Frank and Ann Thomas singing, “Cracker Cowman,” and Don Grooms singing, “Winnebago.”

Pines and Palms Part 2

Part 2 includes James Billie singing his “Big Alligator” song and a song about a bashful star.  Also featured are two songs from Dale and Linda Crider: “Under the Southern Bald Eagle” and “Last Live Photo”

Pines and Palms Part 3

Part 3 includes Don Grooms as he sings “Vitachuko.” Bobby Hicks sings his Condo/Hurricane song.  Frank and Ann Thomas sing their song “Buttermilk Biscuits” and their song about “Sam Jones.”  James Billie sings his song “Back To The Swamp.”

Pines and Palms Part 4

Part 4 includes Bobby Hicks singing a song about “Zachariah Creech,” Dale and Linda Crider perform their “Proof In the Wild Turkey Sign,” and Don Grooms sings, “Walk Proud My Son.”

The Gatherings (26-Part Music Series Recorded at various Florida festivals and venues)

Musicians perform Apalachicola Doin' Time finale at the Florida Folk Festival in 2000The Gatherings – Folk and Blues From The Land of Flowers   26 part live-music series

(Producer- Bill Beckett and Host- Donna Green-Townsend)

 

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Program #1- Dale Crider & Roy Bookbinder 

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Program #2 Al ScortinoCarrie Blackwell Lon and Lis Williamson 

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Program #3 Sue Grooms & Ron and Bari 

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Program #4 Mark Smith – Grant Livingston Paul Garfinkel

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Program #5 James Hawkins & Frank and Ann Thomas 

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Program #6 Valerie Caracappa – Boomslang Bobby Hicks 

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Program #7 Under the Water Lilies – Rod MacDonald – Blue Velvet

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Program #8 Patchwork & Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys 

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Program #9 Steve Blackwell & Marie Nofsinger 

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Program #10 Don Grooms Tribute

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Program #11 The Spiritual Consolators & Pam Laws 

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Program #12 Art Crummer & Bill Wharton and the Ingredients 

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Program #13 The Spiritual Consolators & TC Carr and the Catch 

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Program #14 Upsala and Sno Rogers

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Program #15 Tammerlin 

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Program #16 Mindy Simmons 

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Program #17 Dinella and Gieger & Ken Skeens and Leigh Goldsmith

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Program #18 Jeanie Fitchen 

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Program #19 Clyde Walker 

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Program #20 Magda Hiller 

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Program #21 Sam Pacetti 

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Program #22 Harvey Reid 

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Program #23 Destination Still Unknown 

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Program #24 CD Sampler

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Program #25 Campfire Tapes 

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Program #26 Studio Tapes 

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2014 Will McLean Song Contest Winner and Finishers

Here are the winner, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers of the 2014 Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest: (39 entries)

Will McLean performing
The late Will McLean

Here’s a look back at the top 3 winners of the 2014 Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest along with video clips of them performing their winning song on the main stage at the 2014 festival.

 

 

 

Jane Fallon Song Contest Winner 2014 A
1st place winner Jane Fallon

The 2014 first place winner was Jane Fallon from Brookline, NH.  Her song entitled “Before the Fire (Rosewood)”  captures the emotional story and resulting fear from the 1923 Rosewood tragedy in North Central Florida.   Jane has been a finalist in several songwriting competitions such as SolarFest , the Ossipee Music Festival and the prestigious Rose Garden Coffeehouse Competition. Her songs have placed 2nd and 3rd  respectively in the Neuse River MusicFest competition and the West Coast Songwriters Competition.

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Larry Mangum
2nd place Larry Mangum

The 2014 second place finisher Larry Mangum is from Jacksonville.  His song entitled “Florida” describes the beauty of the Sunshine State and why he’s proud to call it home. Mangum has given nearly 3000 performances over 4 decades as a folk, rock, country and Americana artist. He’s released 8 albums of original music and 2 live albums since 1980.  In 2006 he won third place in the Will Mclean Song contest with his tribute to Gamble Rogers, “The Last Troubadour.”  He is also host and co-founder of “The Songwriters’ Circle” in Jacksonville, a monthly program featuring many of the best regional and national touring acts.

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Sealey Guitar colour
Third place Ray Sealey

The 2014 third place finisher was Ray Sealey from Harrington, QC.  His song “Kissimmee Prairie Dream” gives the flavor of Central Florida’s early years in the Kissimmee area. Ray was born in England and received a degree in English Literature after emigrating to Canada.  He was involved in folk music in his early years but then turned to classical guitar. He eventually taught music at the Universities of Western Ontario and Ottawa. He also worked in radio at the CBC and later in arts management being involved in music festivals, summer music centers and orchestras.  Now, later in life, he has returned to those early folk roots and spends summer in the Laurentian Mountains north of Montreal and winter in Florida.

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Back to the list of winners by year
or
Click here to go to the Will McLean Festival website

 

willfestactivities500
Festival montage photo by Gail Carson
Jan Glidewell
The late Jan Glidewell

2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the Will McLean Folk Festival which ran from Friday, March 7th thru Sunday, March 9th. The 2014 festival honored Jan Glidewell, a longtime columnist for the Tampa Bay Times who died in 2013 from cancer. Glidewell was an avid supporter of the festival. The 26th year for the 3-day festival gets underway at the Sertoma Youth Ranch near Dade City on March 13th, 2015. The winner and 2nd and 3rd place finishers of this year’s song contest will be featured on Saturday, March 14th.

The Will McLean festival features four stages, including a young performers stage, a variety of music workshops, arts and crafts, food and more.  McLean, known as the “Black Hat Troubadour,”  is the first folk artist inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. In 2014 one of the newest folk musicians inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, Frank Thomas,  also performed at the Will McLean Music Festival. In the clip below recorded on the Cypress Stage at last year’s festival you’ll see Frank singing one of his most popular songs, “Cracker Cowman.”

Frank Thomas was accompanied by members of the band Roadside Revue featuring Dawn DeWitt on bass, Bari Litschauer on banjo, Ron Litschauer on guitar and Stan Geberer on harmonica.

Back to the list of winners by year

These Diamonds

scan0005The late Will McLean spent his life writing songs to save Florida through music.  Now the foundation named after the father of Florida folk is marketing an environmental CD trying to continue McLean’s lifelong mission.  The acoustic CD features musicians from across the Sunshine State singing about a wide variety of environmental stories and issues.  As Donna Green-Townsend reports even the CD title, These Diamonds carries a story behind it.

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Florida musicians included on the CD are:

The Eagles Fly – Mindy Simmons

Lullaby of the Rivers – Bob Patterson

Rose and the Gold – Mem Semmes

Cracker CowmanFrank Thomas

Florida Pines – Paul Garfinkel

Paw Prints in the Sand – Ken Skeens

These Diamonds – Grant Livingston

Turtle Tears – Amy Carol Webb

Rand McNally Map of Florida – Jim Bickerstaff

Plumes – Steve Blackwell

Apalachicola Doin’ Time – Dale Crider

Song For Our Children – Mary Ann Dinella

 

Deep Behind the Music- The Campfire Tapes from White Springs

Deep Behind the Music- The Campfire Tapes from White Springs

This one-hour special features music gathered from around the campfires of the Florida Folk Festival in White Springs.  Musicians include:  Gabe Valla, Greg Turner, Dale Crider, Raiford Starke, James Hawkins, Rod MacDonald, Becky Palmer, Clyde Walker, Lis and Lon Williamson and Frank Thomas.

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Songs in this program in chronological order:

1.  Gabe Valla, Greg Turner and friends jamming

2.  Sweet Sunny South- Dale Crider

3.  Girl From Immokalee- Raiford Starke

4.  Kiss Your Baby Goodbye- Becky Palmer

5.  Swept Away- James Hawkins

6.  Ballad of a Black-haired man- Rod MacDonald

7.  Gabe Valla, Greg Turner and friends jamming

8.  No Trouble Doc- Raiford Starke

9.  Devil Eyes- Becky Palmer

10.  Deep Down In The Everglades- Rod MacDonald

11.  Wind and Water- Clyde Walker

12.  Sweetheart of the Pines- Lis and Lon Williamson, Gable Valla and Greg Turner

13.  I Remember Gamble Rogers- Dale Crider (written by Steve Gillette)

14.  Macclenny Farewell- Clyde Walker (written by Will McLean)

15.  Old Folks at Home-  Frank Thomas & audience at Ann Gazebo stage (written by Stephen Foster)

16.  Bonus Track:  Did Bill Really Show Her His Willy- Rod MacDonald

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cattle Ranchers of Florida: Keepers of the Last Frontier

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Justin Gopher with cracker horse. Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, July 2007.

“Keepers of the Last Frontier,” that’s one way to describe Florida’s cowboys.  Maintaining the five century old tradition of cattle ranching in the Sunshine State is challenging as rapid growth continues to encroach on what used to be sprawling cattle ranches.  Donna Green-Townsend talks with two people involved in the effort to save this longtime industry for future generations.  In “Cattle Ranching:  Keepers of the Last Frontier,” she talked with Bob Stone, the Outreach Coordinator for the Florida Department of State’s Folklife Program which has had a travelling exhibit dedicated to the lifestyle of Florida’s cowboys.  She also spoke with the Executive Director of the Conservation Trust for Florida, Busy Shires-Byerly, who is reaching out to cattle ranching families with information about how to conserve their family land through various creative conservation strategies.(From Donna’s audio archives  November 22, 2009)(

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The Musicians

West Florida Wrangler -By Maggie and Michael McKinney (Lucky Mud)

Cow Hunter’s Dream – By Benjamin DeHart

I’m Florida – By Bobby Hicks

Cracker Cowman – By Frank Thomas

Links

Florida Cattle Ranching Exhibit

Florida cattle ranching photos

Conservation Trust for Florida 

State Library and Archives of Florida

 

 

The Sights and Sounds of the Florida Folk Festival

Aired on WUFT on May 30, 1997

File2Thousands of visitors “came home to Florida” last weekend.  That was the theme of this year’s 45th Annual Florida Folklife Festival in White Springs.  Many of the state’s well-known recording artists as well as the “not-so-famous” entertained audiences on a variety of outdoor stages.  Donna Green-Townsend attended this year’s festival and reports the success of the event can be felt through the three senses: smell, sight and sound.

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