Lot of 37 Postcards & 2 Letters, Duke and His Swingbillies, Early 1940's.
Thirty-seven real photo postcards from the early career of Duke and His Swingbillies, a New Hampshire based country band. These and the two letters came from the estate of one George Auld, an early member, I am assuming, of the group.
Thirty-four of the postcards are unused, unmarked, and are in excellent condition. Three of the postcards Auld apprently intended as New Year Greeting cards, but they never were mailed.
One of the letters, August 9, 1942, was sent by a Richard H. Keeler (Booker) to George Auld in Williamstown, Vermont. Auld had apparently left the band, and Keeler was writing to see how he was and expressed the sentiments of the band and himself hoping that Auld would come back. He also gives dates for gigs in Concord and Franklin, New Hampshire. This is on letterhead of Duke and the Swingbillies with a picture of Duke and his accomplishments. Headquarters were at 1 Knoll St. Concord NH; tel: 634-M.
The second letter is dated January 13, 1943, and World War II had scattered the members of the band. The letter was again from Richard Keeler and was addressed to PFC George Auld at Ft. Bliss, Texas. Keeler writes that Duke, with his wife and Judy, are at Camp Maxey in Paris, Texas. He also talks about several women who were apparently associated with the group. He writes about how the war was impacting everday living, and that he had to run or walk to fires (he was a reporter for the Concord Daily Monitor) as he wasn't allowed to drive.
Both letters have creases. Otherwise they are in very nice and clean condition. Starting bid: US $49.99.
(Hank Preston, 8.1.2010): Hi Jukka:
Thank you for the e-mail. I am pleased Judie is doing music again.
I want to thank you for the great job you have done with the articles
about Duke and The Swingbillies. Duke spent many years entertaining
throughout New England and Canada.
Duke told me one time that he had the opportunity to join tthe WWVA
World's Original Jamboree broadcast every Saturday night the same as the
Grand Ole Opry. He said he decided he perferred to stay in New England
and was very successful with his shows.
Your friend in the U.S.A. - Paul "Hank" Preston.
(Randy Christman, USA, 3.2.2011): Hi Jukka. Just a few lines to let you know how much I love your site. The young man in the picture of 'Duke and the band' named Kurt Dilly was only 17 years old at the picture taking. He just celebrated his 64 th birthday and still plays lead guitar for a western Pennsylvania band called laurel mountain country. I sent him the picture and he was sure surprised I found it in Finland. Thanks again you site is wonderful. Randy Christman, band leader.
(James Brigham, USA, 4.4.2011): I remember 'Duke & Swingbillies' in Burlington, Vt. I used to go to WCAX and watch them live. Jimmy Maynard lived on Colchester Avenue in Burlington and was going out with a girl from The Big Block in Winooski, Vt. He use to come to my house to play and sing for my Dad before he died in 1960. There was "Rocking Jimmy Maynard", Vi, and maybe I'll be able to remember the rest of the band members later. Duke use to let me ride with them to some local gigs. Long time ago.....
Can anyone help Robert Findlay to get some information of Norman 'Curly' Miller?
(Robert Findlay, e-mail, 16.10.2011): My name is Robert Findlay from Trois Rivieres, Que and I don't know where to start and I could only tell you what I know.
I was born in Asbestos,Que on Sept 14th 1949 and according to my Mom, Peggy Findlay whom I met for the first time in 1994, I was conceived in Danville,Quebec one night by Norman "Curly" Miller who was touring with Duke and his Swingbillies. From what I heard he was playing guitar and singing "Bouquet of Roses" and my mother said she never saw him again afterwards.
Made some research but did not get very far all I know he died many years ago.He was from Pittsfield, N.H
I know my time is running out since I'm 62 yrs old but If anyone would know more about him I would be so grateful.
Thank you so much, Robert Findlay.
(RT, 16.10.2011): Here's some information of 'Curley Miller', but I don't know if he's the same person as the mentioned Norman 'Curly' Miller. This information is from
website of 'WWVA Jamboree', renamed Jamboree U.S.A. in the 1960s:
- "On October 8, 1942, WWVA increased its power and became a 50,000-watt station. Because of the World War II, the WWVA Jamboree discontinued live-audience broadcasts between December 12, 1942 and July 13, 1946. The Jamboree, however, continued as a daytime show without a live audience. Many of the artists of the show like Doc Williams, Joe Barker, Curley Miller, Monte Blake, and Lloyd Carter got drafted and had to leave.
(J.Joutsi, 16.10.2011) The 'Curley Miller', who was part of WWWA (Wheeling) Jamboree in 1940's was actually Calvin 'Curley' Miller, so he isn't the same person as the mentioned Norman 'Curly' Miller.
This photo of 'Curley Miller & His Ploughboys' is from 'Elena17' (16.10.2011):
Given to me by my grandfather. I don't know anything about this Curley Miller, however.
This is an old black and white picture of 'Curley Miller and his Ploughboys' in 'The Economy Rodeo on Diamond Street'.
(RT, 20.10.2011): Here's a 'new' photo of Duke for you, Jukka. Also some 'new' information following:
ALL STAR JAMBOREE - Hank Preston - Hartland, Vermont:
In June of 1964, the All Star Jamboree show began in Hartland, Vermont at the Hartland Fairgrounds. This was an outdoor country show presenting big-name acts touring the area as well as local bands. WVTR radio disc jockey, "Uncle John" Brunnel managed this show and also played fiddle in his band known as "Uncle John's Country All-Stars" which also included Buddy Jones along with Bob and Gracie French, well-known bluegrass musicians.
Uncle John asked that Hank Preston's band serve as the opening act for those shows. Also appearing there was "Duke and his Swingbillies", who had a television show over WMTW-TV, Poland Springs, Maine.
(RT, 20.10.2011): I found also the following book available in Amazon for $55.00 ~ Duke And His Swingbillies: New England Radio Favorites [Pamphlet] - author: Duke (Michael) Pelillo.
(Maine Academy of Country Music, 20.10.2011): Mike Pelillo:
Mike Pelillo was born in Vermont,
and at a very early age began a country music career.
in fact in the begining his mom used to drive him and the bandto jobs
and she also ran the box office. Mikes brother also played accordionin the band.
The two things that always stood out about Mike were his hosting ability.
He was a great entertainer,
with the ability to make you laugh and also make you cry.
He played all over New England and spent a long time in Maine, hosting
a long running morning show on channel 8.
Mike worked with many stars over the years, performing at grange halls,
town halls, schools, and clubs. Cooking was the other thing that Mike loved,
and of course since he was Italian, he owned and operated an Italian restaurant
and lounge in Belmont, New Hampshire, were he cooked days and played in
the lounge at night. He was a joy to be around and everyone loved Duke.
In the music business he was known as Duke and the Swingbillies.
(Red Sky Books, 20.10.2011): Duke and His Swingbillies: Roundup of Song Hits Book 1 [Songbook, SIGNED]:
Duke and His Swingbillies -
Publisher: Dixie Music Publishing,
Date Published: 1942.
Description: 32 pp, 11 ¼" x 8", copy is in average condition. This very scarce vintage C&W songbook contains piano/vocal/guitar arrangements for 17 songs performed by Duke and His Swingbillies including Take Me Out To The Barn Dance, Terrible Terry The Termite, Beautiful Morning Glory, and others, scarce.
Binding: Soft Cover, Condition: Fair, Book Id: 040669 - Price: $20.00.
About the same booklet (March, 2014): 32pp. Contains words and music to 17 songs, including: Blue Eyed Brunette; Grandma Drives Us Crazy; Linda May Polka; Take Me To The Barn Dance; and 13 more. Signs of light use. 11" x 8.5" Duke Pelillo (1916-1998) hailed from Manchester, New Hampshire, and led a popular western-swing band on dates throughout New England. Bookseller Inventory # 035608.
(1960's Garage Bands, 2011): Tuesday, September 4, 1962: Roy Acuff & The Smokey Mountain Boys at Montpelier City Hall. Also appearing were Duke & His Swingbillies (with future Raven ~ Bobby Lavigne).
To make a long story short, guitarist Bobby Lavigne of Duke & His Swingbillies entered The Ravens. Shortly after, Lavigne suggested drummer Marc Chapman of The Darts and Jim Ricker as well. The Crater bassist jumped ship. There were no hard feelings, though. Moorby frequently caught his old crony at Burlington ’s newest nightclub, The Cave.
('Jay', USA, 26.5,.2012) : Hi Jukka, I am from Burlington, Vermont and I remember Duke and the Levi Girls. Do you remember Yodeling Audrey? My mom had autographed photos of them and when she passed i could never find them. Do you have any photos of the girls. We loved the music. I remember Cowboy's Sweetheart as a big hit around here, Jay.