Texas Caller's Hall of Fame - Ray Smith

Texas Callers' Hall of Fame

 

 

 

Ray


Smith

 

 

Inducted: 06/14/2008

 

 

 

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When some day you dance to a caller who is 6 feet 4 inches in height, slim, exciting in manner, with a trace of unmistakable Texas twang, and with a tendency to interject in his calls a bit of patter “…here we go with the little red wagon, hind wheel broke and the axle draggin’”, you can almost be certain that you’re dancing to Raymond Smith of Dallas, Texas.
For more than half a century Ray has been one of the most colorful callers in the business. A teacher in the public schools for 37 years he started calling squares in 1939. Without a sound system and microphone to project his calls he developed the ability to pitch his voice over the sounds of the crowd so that all could hear. Shortly after the close of WWII, fortunately, Ray became the owner of an amplifier that enabled him to conduct three classes a year, each class averaging 30 squares of dancers.
One of the first callers to hit the traveling circuit, he was featured on many of the giant festivals and conventions. Ray served on the staffs of many institutes and conducted several of his own.
Author of the “Square Dance Handbook” and widely known for his publications on afterparties, he contributed to the many phases of the square dance activity. Ray’s afterparty workshops at the National Conventions always drew capacity crowds. Typical of his sessions was the fact that he enjoyed his own jokes and stories so much that it frequently became difficult for him to carry on without breaking up with laughter.
Ray recorded a series of calls for Capitol Records, produced his own Circle Eight label and made albums for several other companies.
A stickler for smooth dancing, Ray always insisted that his dancers danced properly. He perhaps gained this feeling about styling in 1947 when he and his wife, Mildred, attended Dr. Lloyd “Pappy” Shaw’s summer institute in Colorado Springs. Ray said that the turning point of his square dance life came with that experience. “We have many fine callers now, “ he said, “but I think how much better they could be if they had had the opportunity to listen to those morning lectures of “Pappy’s.”
Ray was inducted into the Square Dance Hall of Fame in 1961. Ray passed away on March 8, 1996.