Bill Clement was born in Lewiston, Maine on June 5, 1929, the son of a textile worker. He graduated from ST. Dominic's High School in Lewiston and immediately went to work for radio station WCOU in Lewiston.
Bill was a veteran of the Korean conflict. While in the Army he was a broadcaster for the American Forces Radio in Europe. After his discharge he was employed for four years as a civilian manager of one AFN station in Italy and, at the same time, worked at another AFN station.
Upon his return he was employed for ten years at radio station WPOR in Portland, and later worked for station WKXA in Brunswick before returning to station WPOR in the fall of 1980.
Bill was a great disc jockey and exponent of country music. He was a friend to all and always ready to assist any aspiring artist in any way he could. He always gave freely of his time to assist in benefits and other country music functions.
Gus Fiore was born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 13, 1918. He started playing guitar when he was 11 years old, and has become an outstanding guitar player.
During the 1930's and 1940's, he played with the Bar-X Cowboys and Joe LaFlip at the Lone Star Ranch in Reeds Ferry, New Hampshire. During his long career, he has played with some of the most recognized names in the industry: Smilin' Bill Waters, Hal Lone Pine, Bud Bailey and the Down Easters, Smilin' Ernie Lyndel, Smiley and Sue, Ken MacKenzie and Tony and Juanita. He also appeared on the WLS National Barn Dance in Chicago, and while there worked with such stars as Lulu Belle and Scotty, and Rex Allen. He was a staff musician at the Hayloft Jamboree in Boston.
Gus traveled extensively, during the 1940's and through into the 1960's, playing the western and Midwestern States, and also making two tours to Hawaii.
In the early, 1960's, Gus formed his present band, The Knock Abouts, and they play clubs, dances, and stage shows in the southern Maine and nearby New Hampshire seacoast area. H and his wife, Betty, lived in Kittery Point, Maine.
Donald Doane was born in Kennebunkport, Maine on September 15, 1907. His interest in music began early as his mother played the piano and his father played fiddle. In 1929 Don formed the "Katahdin Mountaineers" and during the early 1950's they played dances and weddings from Kittery to Bangor and they broadcast a weekly Sunday night radio program for Sears, Roebuck & Co.
By the end of the 1930's the Mountaineers were playing the public circuit throughout New England and were radio favorites from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia. In 1939, They appeared on Major Bowes radio program in New York and performed with Kate Smith at Lake Placid.
In 1955 Don organized his first fiddlers contest as a fund-raising project for the Windham Kiwanis Club. It was so successful that many more have followed. The East Windham Community Church was built with the proceeds from Don's fiddlers contest and he has been organizing and entertaining at fiddlers contests in Maine and New Hampshire ever since.
These days, Don and his Katahdin Mountaineers are entertaining at county fairs, fiddlers contests and appearances for charities. Every Christmas season, Don plays at Portland City Hospital and a party for the blind. This year he was presented with a gold watch by the officers of Lancaster, N.H. fair for having played at that fair for 50 consecutive years.
Paul Roberts was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts on March 30, 1915. During the late 1930's and early to mid 1940's, Paul and his wife Ann, were very popular entertainers throughout central and northern Maine, as well as the Maritime Provinces.
It was during the early 1940's while living in Skowhegan, Maine, that Paul wrote "There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere", which has been recorded by more than 50 artists. it was the first country song to be sung on the "Lucky Strike Hit Parade", and also the first country song to appear on the "pop" music rack on Broadway. Probably the best known recording, and a million seller, was Elton Britt's version.
Paul also wrote such other well known songs as "She Taught Me To Yodel", "If I Could Learn to Yodel" (recorded by Patsy Montana), and "Fuzzie Wuzzie Teddy Bear" (recorded by Hal Lone Pine). Another of Paul's compositions that was very popular throughout the northeast was "The Legionnaires Song", which he wrote and recorded for the American Legion. Paul has been a member of ASCAP since 1943, and his royalty statements extend to all parts of the world.
During the mid-1940's Paul bought a hotel in Mars Hill, Maine and operated that for a time. After selling the hotel, he and Ann moved back to her home town area on Swans Island and operated a small grocery store. Paul and Ann have two daughters and one son.
In 1956 they moved to Florida, and now reside in Zephyrhills. Although now semi-retired, Paul still remains very active in the song-writing aspects of the business, and has over 100 songs published in Nashville. He has also received recognition by the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.
Simone LaBrie was born on April 26, 1920 in Manchester, N.H. She got involved in Country Music when she married Ken MacKenzie on New Years Eve, 1938.
She began just taking care of ticket sales during Ken's shows and going on stage for the closing song. She finally became a regular member of the show and in 1941 she started singing with Ken and continued being on T.V. on a weekly basis until 1971.
While her husband was in the service, Simone, Betty Gribbin and two other girls formed a group called "The Bombshells", a modern Country & Western group. They worked out of New York City through the Eastern Seaboard, also through Illinois and surrounding territory from 1944 to 1946.
She enjoys her life with the fulfillment of a working mother, a singing cowgirl, a career at Porteous, Mitchell & Braun and though her musical career and her career at Porteous is through, she is quite content.
She has performed with such Country Classics as Eddie Miller, Hawksaw Hawkins, Dick Curless, Joe Gallien, Toddels & Jeanie, Dickie Monroe, Jimmie Cox, Charlie Gilliam, Evans Fitch, Buck Nation & Tex Ann, Toni & Juanita, and many, many others.
Simone will be added to her husband's "Ken MacKenzie" Hall of Fame Cabinet, as "The Mrs.". Ken and Simone are living in Maryland, and are enjoying their retirement.
Simone MacKenzie, inducted into The Maine Country Music Association Hall of Fame, April 29, 1984.
FRED, was born in N. Smithfield, R.I., Oct.27, 1932. At the age of 6 months. his family moved to Oneco, Conn., where he lived till he moved to Maine in 1966. Fred was exposed to music at a very early age. He was next to the youngest in a family of 12 children, all musically inclined. At age 5, he began picking out tunes on the piano. At age 9 Fred began playing stage shows, and dances. One of Fred's dreams was to play on the WE Jamboree someday, and he did, in 1966.
His first band was "The Pike Brothers & The Pine Hill Ranchers". He and his brother Earl formed the group in 1947, in 1956 the band broke up, this was the turning point in Fred's musical career. He teamed up with Randy Hawkins, and formed "Country Nite Hawkes", it was at this time Fred took up 5 string Banjo. Fred made his lst. album, it got good reviews, he was invited to perform on the WWVA Jamboree, "through making this album".
Fred recorded 3 albums and 45 records, with the "The Country Nite Rawkes, Pike Bros, The Pine Hill Ranches, or The Pike Family. The KV Boys were making-head way to Maine when Fred's niece Earlene died of cancer, she was his vocalist and The Pike Brother's broke up. Fred concentrated all his efforts now, on the "Kennebec Valley Boys".
In 1976, Fred, and "The Kennebec Valley Boy's, started the lst Bluegrass Festival in Maine, also that same yr., they won The MAINE Country Music AWARD, for Bluegrass Band Of The Year. Later he organized "Back Porch Bluegrass", which went on to win 1977 MCMA Award for Bluegrass Band Of The Year. Fred was also the man to take over the Salty Dog Festival, it is now an annual event.
Fred has also done shows with Don Reno, Mac Wiseman, Bill Monroe, Dick Curless, Gene Hooper, Jud Strunk, just to name a few. Fred is still very active in his musical career, he has made over 9 albums, and 141 45s, including To Warm & Comfort You, Few England Country, Maine Train, Last Log Drive, Flat Top Guitar, Jim Godreau, Mandolin Album, plus many more.
Barry Dean, was born June 1, 1931, the son of a Rodeo cowboy and vaudeville performer, his name was Gary Mix, a nephew to Tom Mix. Barry was always a performer and promoter. He performed on the high wire in a Trapeze Act, and also he broke wild horses. He tried the Rodeo as a young man. Barry served in the Armed Forces in Korea.
Barry produced and permoted circus acts up and down the east coast. Then he started booking Country Acts. He then moved to Maine in the 60's, and directly started booking singers and bands throughout New England. Another of Barry's talents was he was a great producer of 'Country Music Shows'.
Barry and his wife formed entertainment and music attractions during the 1970's. Many hours were dedicated by this man to Country Music in Maine. Although he was very busy with his agency, he was never never too busy to answer a call for help for a Jamboree, to M.C. or to entertain.
Dean's dream was to have a Maine Country Music Hall Of Fame Building. And the members of this Association will never let this dream die. Country Music owes a great deal to this man, and also to Slim Andrews, two of the "Fathers of this Association'. There would not be a Maine Country Music Association today if it were not for Barry Dean.
Barry Dean passed away in July , 1979. Barry Dean,inducted into Ihe Maine Country Music Association Hall Of Fame April 29,1984.
Jud Strunk was born June 11, 1936. He became interested in writing and playing the banjo while he was in the Virginia Military Institute. Carl Sandburg inspired Jud to keep on with his chosen career. Jud was also in the Armed Forces and toured all of Europe during that term.
Jud formed his first band called "The Coplin Kitchen Band". He has appeared on television shows such as Laugh-In, Hee Haw, Bewitched, Merv Griffin and has had several of his own "Jud Strunk Specials".
Jud ran for the Maine State Senate in 1970 and he lost by only one vote. He has toured with such stars as Andy Williams, Eddie Arnold, Glen Campbell, The Irish Rovers and he was a very close friend to Jim Stafford. Jud's music is being carried on through videos by two friends of his, Jerry Reed and Glen Campbell.
Jud Strunk was killed in an airplane crash in October of 1981 leaving his wife, Martha Ann and their three sons, Rory, Jeffery and Joel.
Jud Strunk: Inducted into the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame on April 28, 1985.
Sleepy Willis was born May 21, 1931 at Newport, R.I. He came to Maine in 1955 to work on Channel 8, Poland Springs with Ernie and Candy Lindell and the Rythym Rancho Show. He later worked with Hal Lone Pine and Betty Cody. Later Sleepy, joined the Wagon Masters where he began working with Dick Curless. The band broke up, but he, Dick and Harold Carter formed a trio and went to Bangor to work at the Silver Dollar.
Sleepy recorded with Dick Curless on Event Records and a number of songs were later released to Capitol records under the title of The Soul of Dick Curless. Sonny Breau was about 14 years old at this time and played a lot of lead guitar. After this session, Sleepy drifted into rock and roll, traveling all over the country with many different bands. In 1961 he cut The Peppermint Twist. He went back to Bangor in 1965 to buy the Silver Dollar and ran it until 1968 when he relocated, but business was not as good so he sold out, got together with Dick Curless and became his manager, agent, and lead guitarist. They formed Wagon Wheel Talent, Inc. and were very successful until 1973 when he moved to Connecticut.
Sleepy has two daughters, Valerie and Kassie, a son, Jeffrey and a grandson, Travis. In 1980 Sleepy returned to Newport and became very active playing the fiddle. He was RICMA Fiddler of the Year for two year and was inducted into the RICMA Hall of Fame in 1980. He hopes to someday retire in Maine where he feels at home. Sleepy Willis: Inducted into the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame on April 28, 1985.
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