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p16210coll7

About this collection

George R. Pariseau (1868-1949) was the Thumb’s leading dance fiddler in his day.  Born in LaChute, Quebec, he came to Michigan as a young child, settling in Port Huron. After a period working in lumber camps near Alpena, he and his wife settled in 1895 in Bad Axe, where they raised a family of fourteen children.  Within a few years he was playing for dances as often as three nights a week, his oldest daughter Mina accompanying him on organ. As his younger children matured, they joined him.  His reputation had spread far enough that in 1925, when he was actively reviving old-time dancing, Henry Ford visited him, and in subsequent years, Pariseau played for some of Ford’s private affairs.  In January 1926, Pariseau and his orchestra played for dances at Detroit’s leading hotel, the Book-Cadillac, which were broadcast over WJR.  Later, the Pariseaus played three nights a week at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, WJR broadcasting their dances live. This continued until 1930, when their sponsor, a Detroit land development company, went under.  In 1929 and 1930, the Pariseaus went to the Gennett studios in Richmond, Indiana, to record.  Seven of the nine sides they recorded (one was never issued) are included here.  George played lead, accompanied by daughter Mina on piano, son Dewey on tenor banjo, and son Ford on trumpet (for the waltzes) and sousaphone (on the square dance numbers).  Others were recorded on the home disc recording machines that first appeared about 1940.  

 
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